>> March 2012
>> A JOC Primer for Developing an Effective Scope of Work
The old adage “a good beginning makes a good end” proves true in the construction process. The goal of any scope of work is to create a detailed account of the tasks, procedures and specifications for each construction process. A good beginning—clear communication between all parties involved and accuracy in the detailed scope of work and price proposal—will lead to a good end product.
One way to begin on the right foot is by using job order contracting (JOC), an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity procurement method that enables facility owners to complete a large number of repair, renovation and minor construction projects with a single, competitively bid contract. Contractors bid an adjustment factor to be applied to the preset unit prices in the Construction Task Catalog (CTC) or another price book. The CTC specifies up to 260,000 individual tasks, such as a square foot of ceiling tile, doors or hardware, depending on the client’s needs. An estimated $3 billion of construction is completed annually through JOC.
Once a job is identified, the contractor and owner meet at the jobsite to conduct a joint scope meeting, where the contractor can see all aspects of the job. This meeting is unique to the JOC process, and is the foundation for success in writing the detailed scope of work and preparing a clean price proposal.
The contractor and owner jointly establish a detailed scope of work, which addresses the project’s scale, location and description of work to be completed, as well as details such as the paint color to be used, type of material desired, the strength of concrete required, and so on. Although it requires determining every nut and bolt needed for the project, the detailed scope of work serves as a thorough account of the activities the contractor must perform.
JOC projects generally are straightforward and frequently involve replacements in kind. Complete architectural construction documents often are unnecessary because the detailed scope of work is comprehensive enough to accurately convey the job to be performed and the technical specifications already are prepared. When projects require architectural or engineering involvement, documenting the design in JOC is less formal and much less costly.
The joint scope meeting gives the contractor time to discuss concerns or questions regarding the tasks identified, as well as suggest time- and cost-saving solutions. The more involved the contractor is in the beginning of the process, the better the end result and the more opportunities offered to the contractor in the future. With clear communication and teamwork, the contractor becomes part of the process and develops a true partnership with the owner.
While writing the detailed scope of work, the contractor mentally walks through the job to ensure all construction tasks are represented. Each task should list how much, where and what type of work is to be performed. When the detailed scope of work lists the exact task description from the CTC, it cuts time and simplifies the price proposal process. The specifications that are part of the CTC ensure further agreement between the contractor and owner on what is expected during the construction process.
The detailed scope of work specifies in-place construction. Means and methods (e.g., dumpsters versus trucks) should be specified as well so the price proposal is easier to prepare and complies with the owner’s requests. Including sketches in the detailed scope of work for project managers to refer to onsite also is helpful.
After the two parties agree on the detailed scope of work, the owner issues an RFP and the contractor prepares a price proposal that mirrors the detailed scope of work. The cleaner the scope, the cleaner the proposal. Basic information about the project, such as location, scheduling requirements, liquidated damages and special instructions, is included in the RFP.
The proposal package consists of all documents submitted by the contractor in response to the RFP, including a detailed price proposal, project schedule, submittals, calculation sheet, list of subcontractors and any documents requested by the project manager. To simplify review, the contractor can break down the price proposal by sections or categories, such as location or varying types or times of construction.
A detailed scope of work leads to a more consistent and collaborative work process, which creates goodwill between the contractor and owner. The open communication promoted by the JOC process decreases confusion, leads to discussions on cost-saving alternatives, and decreases the time necessary to write the detailed scope of work and the effort required to review the price proposal. The end result is a clean price proposal the first time around.