What is scope in construction project management and why is it important?

What is scope in construction management and why is it important

For a construction project to run smoothly from conception to completion and in order to achieve your goals on time and within budget, a management plan for the life cycle of the build needs to be put in place. A clear scope and comprehensive project management can help developers to avoid costly mistakes and see problems before they arise. The scope and boundaries of the project need to be clearly laid out for team members and stakeholders alike. 

At Naismiths, we work with each individual client to tailor our project management strategy to their needs. We take a comprehensive and collaborative approach to defining standards and timeframes and keep open lines of communication with key stakeholders. Our approachable, professional team coordinates all the details and helps you to reach your goals, no matter how complex the project.  

Project management scope definition 

Defining the scope of a project is a vital first step in managing tasks, teams and outcomes. Within project management, the scope will outline the project objectives, the tasks needed to achieve these objectives, team responsibilities and boundaries, along with a clear structure for teams and stakeholders. It’s also important that exclusions are outlined, components that will not be part of the project. All the deliverables, deadlines and budgets will be listed, making it easier to adapt and make changes further down the line if necessary. All this information will be contained in the scope statement or scope document.  

Having a defined scope that everyone has access to, including stakeholders, contractors, subcontractors, investors, engineers, labourers and architects will help to avoid miscommunications. 

Why is scope definition important?  

An unclear definition of fundamental goals, timelines and responsibilities can derail a project and lead to deviations from your roadmap. A scope document is also useful for managing stakeholder expectations, maintaining accountability and ensuring tasks are completed to deadlines, budget and to a high standard. 

What is scope creep in project management? 

Scope creep refers to gradual changes being made to the scope once finalised and the project has started, without considering how these changes will then affect budget, timelines and resources. The boundaries of a project begin to blur, and goals may start to become unclear. 

These alterations to the original plan may be small to start with but can amount to serious problems and delays to your project. Scope creep is a result of changes not being properly considered, along with the knock-on effects to tasks and milestones. Even when these changes are approved and go through all the correct channels, it will inevitably extend a project’s lifespan and budget. 

A comprehensive risk management plan will help to deal with any unforeseen consequences of these changes as they arise.  

4 top tips for effective scope management 

  1. Use visuals

Visual aids such as graphs, workflow charts and diagrams make it easier for teams to understand complex ideas. Stakeholders can see an at-a-glance overview of the whole project, the requirements and timeline.  

  1. Make it clear what isn’t in the scope

It’s just as important to define what is excluded from the scope and have these to hand for easy reference. This helps to avoid wasted time and essential resources and can help to prevent scope creep. 

  1. Be collaborative

Making the scope definition a collaborative process will guarantee that each team knows their responsibilities, has fed in their requirements and resources needed. This approach will make it easier to avoid miscommunications.  

  1. Communicate regularly

Maintain open lines of communication with all the key stakeholders and provide regular progress updates. These meetings, either online or in person, make it easier to catch potential mistakes before they happen and stick to deadlines or revise them where necessary. 

Get expert project management  

Get in touch with our specialist project management team today to find out how we can help keep your project on track and deliver results in line with your expected returns. Let us handle schedules, budget tracking and team coordination. Learn what works for your business and pitfalls to avoid on future projects. 

Our regional teams of chartered senior professionals are placed throughout the UK and have expert local knowledge and connections to ensure accuracy at every stage.