Schedule of Work in Construction Contract: 5 Important Points

By October 22, 2020September 25th, 2021Civil Engineering, Construction, Project Management
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What is a Schedule of Works?

A Schedule of Works represents a contract or tender document and it covers the list of documents that are necessary as a part of the construction package for pricing. Normally Schedule of Works covers contact drawings, Standard details, Setting-outs, Specifications and any other specific item that is necessary to include with the construction package.

In Traditional contracts or in Design and Build (D&B) contracts, when a lumpsum price is the criteria for awarding a contract, a Schedule of Works without the Bill of Quantities (BOQ) would be a preferred option. Normally it is preferred in small projects.

What is a traditional contract or D&B Contract or PPP contract? If you want to know this, please visit and see the “Broad of Civil Engineering” course.

It is very important to note that in these types of contracts where BOQ is not part of the contract and the contractor is requested to develop BOQ based on the given information, the Schedule of Works transfers the liability to the contractor.

In that case, all the contact information must be carefully provided to the contractor for pricing. If any information is missed or not provided to the contractor, it would be raised as a claim or Change Event (CE) by the contractor, which would ultimately increase the total project cost.

Supporting documents with Schedule of Work

The schedule of work normally comes together with by other documents as below:


A full set of “Issue for Construction” needs to be provided to all the tenderers.


Specification details of all the items (such as Pavements, Lighting, Signals, Guardrails, Landscaping, etc) to define various categories and options to select a preferred specific item as per the project need.


It covers the general requirement of the project such as overhead costs, individual testing and surveys, etc. Please see the blog “Preambles and Preliminaries in Construction Contract” for detail.

Schedule of Work with Tender Document

The Schedule of Work is provided at the Tender stage to assist tenderers to understand the project and with the help of supporting documents like drawings, specifications, etc, they can develop the fee proposal and submit the Tender.

The Quantity Surveyor team of the Tenderer or contractor populates the quantity and pricing schedule of those items and develops the construction cost of the project.

Once the tender is awarded to the successful bidder, the schedule of work becomes a bound document for the contractor, and it is added to the remaining contract document.

Who is responsible to populate the Schedule of Works?

The Schedule of Works is normally populated by the design consultants during the preparation of other design elements like 3D models, drawings, specifications, etc.

The preparation of the Schedule of Works commences once the detailed design of the project is complete and approved by the client. Preparation of Schedule of Works is then started along with remaining “Issue for Construction” deliverables.

Difference between Bill of Quantities and Schedule of Works

Bill of Quantities is normally prepared by the contractor. As a result, the risk of incorrect project quantities and associated costs are the sole responsibility of the contractor.

The client prefers to transfer this responsibility to the contractors and only offer Schedule of Works (without the Bill of Quantities), however, if there are some items that are not included along with the “Issue for Construction” pack then it would be treated as a claim or “compensation event” by the contractor at Construction Stage.

So, it will cost an additional claim to the client and increase the total project cost. That’s why it is very important that the Schedule of Works and associated Tender documents are developed with exhaustive details.    

Key Takeaways

Preparation of Schedule of Works is a smart way to hand over the risk of “Quantity Estimate” to the Tenderers or Contractors. Although if the tender prices submitted by various contractors vary significantly, it simply means a significant number of items are missing from the tender pack.

As a result, tenderers have either assumed those items as a design item and priced it accordingly or tenderers have itemised those within the “Risk Pot”. Either way, it will cost additional sums to the client if not mitigated smartly.

In the case of a Traditional Contract or D&B contract, it is very important that design elements are populated precisely and all the critical risk items are transferred to the supply chain.

If the design team and the client develop the Schedule of Works accurately, it will not only make a cordial relation between the client and the contractor, it would also control the budget overrun of the project.

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