Have you ever heard the phrase “project scope” while doing a design or construction project? Have you wondered what exactly is a “project scope”? Well here are a few answers to some common question.
What is the “Project Scope” and why is it important?
The project scope is basically a term used to define part of the project management of any project. It is the part of the planning of your project, that involves creating a detailed list of everything that your project will include. This includes projects that our homeowners would like to do, everything that would be needed to complete those projects. This list is clearly defined as to what needs to be done to complete the desired project, what it will look like at the end and all materials used to create this project. This will include everything else that must be done in order for your project to be done.
Think about how you put together a jigsaw puzzle. This is the best way to illustrate the process by which your home is put together or renovated. You can’t put in the last piece of the puzzle unless all of the other pieces are in place, exactly where they need to be to accommodate the last few pieces. If you want to take out a piece of the puzzle that is not on the outer edge, you must remove the necessary pieces in order to remove the piece that you want to be removed, and then replace the puzzle pieces.
This is how it works with a renovation. Let’s say you just want to replace your kitchen cabinets. Well in order to get them out and replace them, you also must remove the countertop, the sink, and faucet and most likely the backsplash. So, for someone that just wants to replace kitchen cabinets, the scope of work would actually have to include removing countertop, sink, faucet and backsplash and in most cases replacing those items as well. Reviewing this in the beginning stages of a project with a homeowner will ensure that they truly understand what the project that they desire would entail.
There are many other reasons why clearly defining your scope of work up-front is so important, as we discussed above.
1 – Process- many design and construction elements affect each other and knowing the full scope of work from the beginning will prevent backtracking in the process.
2 – Backtracking- causes additional construction costs and adds additional time to your project. Homeowners adding additional projects is common when you are in progress with a project and we certainly can add projects if the homeowners budget allows. But what we are talking about here are actual changes or deciding on something mid-project due to poor planning, lack of a clear design plan, or changing your mind. These changes definitely affect your scope of work and could certainly add additional costs if backtracking, re-doing or re-building something is necessary. These problems almost always happen when a homeowner begins a project without a clear design plan as the design plan is what is needed to thoroughly develop a scope of work for the project.
3 – Budget- the only way to develop a comprehensive quote for a design or renovation project is to have a clearly defined goal. This is your design plan. This is what specifies everything about your project in great detail. The measurements of everything in the space, the exact placement of everything, all materials to be used in your space. For example, if you are planning a bathroom project and you do not know what size bathtub you are using, then you are just guessing as to the amount of space, fixtures, and money needed for this bathtub, and you are not seeing how it affects everything else you are planning in the bathroom. If you have an exact bathtub, and you know it’s exact placement, specification, etc, then you can more accurately quote not only the bathtub but the rest of your bathroom project. Yes, there are sometimes unforeseen things involved in construction, but that doesn’t mean that you just wing it. In fact, going in with no clear plan often ends in disaster, especially when it comes to your budget.
4 – Timeline- Tradesmen and contractors run on a schedule, if you are not prepared with a clearly defined design plan or scope of work developed by a pro, your contractor will move on to the next project until you are ready. Or they will jump in and rush you to make decisions as they need them so they can get to work. This is not a great way to design a space. Contractor input is vital to developing the full scope of work for a project as they are construction experts, but it is not their job to design your space, choose your tile and materials or teach you how to manage your own project. Tell them what you want to be built and they will build it, if you do not know how to communicate design elements properly, the outcome might not be what you were expecting. The extra time added to your project for changing your mind midstream, or re-building things over and over because of poor communication can be eliminated with a clearly defined design plan and scope of work. Any of these delays will affect the total project timeline as once your plumber moves on to start another project, he can’t just drop everything because you are now prepared with a decision to move forward. This causes further delays.
What is “Scope Creep”?
Surely you have heard the term “scope creep”. Scope creep is something that can happen easily on a project. Scope creep is when the project increases little by little and is not managed properly. We see this most often when clients attempt a renovation on their own without the assistance of a designer or an experienced project manager. Often homeowners don’t know that if you do one project, it might affect something else. Or “while you are it” you may as well add this or that. All of this is fine if you have the budget and timeline to accommodate these additional things. Working with a professional will help to eliminate the project expanding beyond your means.
When working with clients from the design phase right through to the construction phase, we have processes in place to define the project scope as much as possible before construction or installation begins. Aligning the overall project with the homeowner’s overall goals.
The extra time taken to go through a well-developed design process and plan will always pay off in the end, as well as
- Create a finished project that addresses all of your needs as far as function, design, and your budget.
- A project that is well planned will have no questions as to material selection and design details because all of this was clearly defined in the early planning of a project.
- So our contractors and tradesman know exactly what they are building, what materials are being installed when all specified materials will be on site when they arrive. Allowing for smooth project implementation from start to completion.
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Until next time,