Scopes of Work

One of the keys to a successful builder and home is a strong set of Scopes of Work

July 25, 2011

It may not be exciting, it may be work, but a key to a successful builder and home is a strong set of Scopes of Work.

Scopes ensure clear communication of what is needed by each trade. In the best cases, Scopes use diagrams, photos, links to websites, and clear step-by-step instructions on what material to use, the stages of construction, and installation methods. This can become the company Bible, whereby every discussion leads back to the Scope. There are no arguments on site, rather it’s: What does the Scope say?

The Scope needs to be updated annually or when a change is needed due to an error—or if a better way is found. The creation and updating of the Scope should include the trade directly involved, as well as those that are involved prior to and after the work under consideration. The updating should not simply be done in isolation by each trade; bring the trades and your construction managers and design and customer service teams together to discuss changes and improvements. In this way, the Scope becomes a great opportunity for communication and ongoing improvement. It should also be directly linked to your contract. When Scopes are used in this way, they can be a critical tool in reducing defects.

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.