What is a Schedule of Work? Everything You Need To Know

schedule of works
Photo by energepic.com

Dive deep into the world of building projects, and you’ll need a firm grasp of a vital document: the Schedule of Works. It can be tough to understand all of the legal and technical words thrown at you during a restoration job, and our purpose here is to make your life easier when you embark on your project for the first time. 

In this article, we will be defining what a schedule of work is, when it is necessary to have schedule of works, when it is not needed, the importance of schedule of works and what happens if you don’t have schedule of works. So let’s get started!

What Exactly Is the Schedule of Works?

Schedule of works is a contract document that details the work that must be completed on a project. The schedule refers to the specifications and contract drawings, as well as any additional ‘builders work’ or ‘fixing schedule’ type things; this is frequently referred to as a specified schedule of work.

A schedule of works differs from a standard bill of quantities in that each description in the list of required works is charged as an ‘item’ rather than a quantity. The contractor is regarded as having allowed for the quantity required to fulfil the contract criteria by preparing a pricing schedule in this manner. As a result, a schedule of work is a method of shifting the contractor’s liability for accurately taking off the work.

A schedule of works, like a bill of quantities, is originally used during the tendering phase to allow contractors to compute their pricing. It should be included in the production information bundle and should include project guesses, drawings, and further building work deadlines.

The paper is then used to form the basis of a contract once a contractor has been selected. From this point forward, the contractor is responsible for the work outlined in the schedule of works. If the client and the contractor later disagree about the project’s needs, the document can be utilized to settle disagreements.

What Does Schedule of Works Look Like?

A schedule of works can take many different forms; thus, there is no universally acknowledged template, but they are typically written documents with illustrations that describe in detail the work that has to be accomplished. They are typically used in conjunction with other project management tools, such as Gantt charts and project deadlines, to provide a thorough overview of the project.

To generate and manage project schedules, many construction businesses use the NBS (National Building Specifications) Scheduler program. The NBS Scheduler enables users to quickly create and alter schedules. It also provides a number of features to assist users in managing and calculating resources, tracking progress, and identifying potential concerns.

Alternatively, some project managers will generate Gantt charts and dependency tables using simple programs such as Monday or Asana. Using a project management application such as Monday or Asana allows team members to effortlessly share the project.

What Should Be Included in a Schedule of Works?

A schedule of works should include everything a contractor requires to identify what a project comprises and what supplies they’ll need for completion.

It’s worth mentioning that the contractor is accountable for getting material amounts correct once they’ve agreed to a schedule of works. Once they’ve taken a project on, they are liable for those quantities being correct.

Typically, items included in the schedule of works will differ from one project to the next, but you may expect to see the following headings:

  • Structural engineers computations
  • A preliminary information package
  • Potential limitations

It should also include more particular specifics regarding the tasks needed to complete the project, such as mobilization, clearance, foundations, walls, and so on.

When Is It Necessary to Have a Schedule of Works?

Although a schedule of works is not explicitly needed, it may be employed at various periods during the course of a project.

#1. Tender

A schedule of works can be a useful tool in helping different companies properly quote a project while seeking a contractor. A well-written schedule of works should provide contractors with enough information to offer you an exact quote for the entire project. The schedule of works usually follows, and it relates to drawings to cover and detail all components of the project. A price quote based solely on drawings is more likely to be erroneous and ultimately too cheap. 

#2. Task Listing

The schedule of work, exactly as published for tendering purposes, is also used on a daily basis on-site by the contractor’s crew to determine the work necessary during construction. The work schedule and accompanying documents, when used on site, must not only identify the materials and allow for the calculation of quantities involved but also provide precise instructions on where all of the materials are to be used and how they are to be fixed together. It should also outline an ordered sequence of tasks to be completed in order to achieve the desired end result.

#3. Contract

A schedule of work can be included in the contract documents between the two parties once you’ve found a contractor and agreed on a price. That way, unless a variation occurs, the price should not change in the future. 

#4. Checklist

The schedule of works can also serve as a useful tracker of all the work that remains to be done during the construction phase. In addition to being a great document for finalizing decisions on a lot of moving parts, it can also be used near the end of the project to ensure that everything is built in accordance with the contract.

#5. Keep a Record of Everything

For record purposes, the original schedule of work and supporting papers, as well as descriptions of changes from the work initially anticipated, may be kept as an ‘as-built’ document collection. If severe flaws are later discovered, the work schedule, which is part of this document collection, will be thoroughly examined.

When Is Schedule of Works Not Necessary?

While an exact schedule is an essential tool for managing construction or restoration projects, there are several scenarios where it may not be needed or may not be practicable to establish.

If you are performing an emergency renovation like a busted pipe or damaged roof, a small-scale project or a DIY renovation like painting a room, replacing a single fixture or doing any work without the requirement for construction, then adopting a schedule of works may not be necessary.

However, it’s a free world, so you could still construct a work schedule if you need to order materials and want to have fixed dates for the house renovation job to be done.

Some design-build projects may also not require a schedule of work as the design and building process are interwoven and modifications to the design can be made on the fly.

Why Do You Need a Work Schedule During a Renovation?

A schedule of works is a crucial instrument for laying out a roadmap for all parties concerned, assisting in the proper management of resources, facilitating communication between all parties involved, identifying potential difficulties early on, and ensuring that the work is finished to the needed standard.

  • Providing a Well-Defined Strategy

A work schedule defines the tasks that must be accomplished, the sequence in which they must be completed, and the completion deadline. This creates a clear renovation project plan, ensuring that everyone understands what has to be done and when.

  • Resource Management

By describing the resources required for each task, such as materials and labor, a schedule of works can assist in managing resources effectively and reduce delays and cost overruns.

  • Encourages Communication

A schedule of works acts as a tool for communication among project management, contractors, and subcontractors. With a clear plan in place, everyone concerned can coordinate their activities and address any issues or delays as soon as possible.

  • Recognizes Potential Issues

A work schedule can aid in the early detection of problems, such as tasks that take longer than expected or require additional resources. This allows for plan revisions and prevents delays later in the project.

  • Ensures High Quality

A schedule of work can help ensure that the work is completed to the required standard by outlining specific tasks and materials required for each phase of the project.

What Happens If You Don’t Have a Work Schedule?

A lack of a work schedule during a house renovation can result in a slew of complications or challenges.

  • Cost Excess: It may be easier to precisely estimate the cost of a renovation with a clear strategy in place, which may lead to cost overruns where the project costs more than anticipated.
  • Delays: A lack of preparation and coordination can cause the project timeframe to be pushed back, especially if unanticipated challenges arise, such as the discovery of Japanese knotweed or delays in acquiring permissions and clearances.
  • Poor Work Quality: Having a work schedule may make it easier to oversee job quality, resulting in poor finishes or the project being rushed and then redone at a higher expense.
  • Miscommunication: Even with a communication plan, misunderstandings between contractors, tradesmen, architects, and designers can lead to project delays and confusion.
  • Risks to Safety: If a renovation project is not properly planned and implemented, it might be dangerous. Without a work schedule, there is a greater danger of accidents and injuries on the job site.
  • Issues: If there are any issues at the end of the remodelling project due to poor project completion, having a JCT contract or work schedule in place may make it easier to argue the standard of quality that was previously promised.

Before commencing a remodelling project, it is critical to prepare a precise work schedule to ensure that the project remains as safe and efficient as possible.

How Do a Bill of Quantities and a Schedule of Works Differ?

A schedule of works is a pricing structure that shows several totals for each stage of the renovation project. The Bill of Quantities, on the other hand, is similar to an itemized bill.

Is a Schedule of Work a Contract?

Once a price is agreed upon, the work schedule will become part of the legally enforceable ‘contract documents’ between the employer (the building owner) and the contractor.

A Schedule of Work Is Whose Responsibility?

Usually, the person in charge of the design—whether that person is an architect, a designer, or you—creates a schedule of work. It is an excellent method for controlling the final quality of the work; the more information included, the less risk you take.

How Are Construction Schedules Used?

A schedule of works is a contractual document that captures a description of a building project, essentially a list of tasks that must be accomplished in order for the project to be completed. It is typically used in conjunction with drawing information and any accompanying documentation to aid in the recording and pricing of construction work.

What Are the Three Sorts of Construction Schedules?

There are seven different types of building schedules.

  • Line of equilibrium
  • Quantitative planning
  • PERT stands for program evaluation and review methodology
  • Scheduling based on resources
  • Gantt graphs
  • LPS stands for last planner system
  • Method of the critical path.


Schedule of works is a method of transferring the risk of errors in measuring the work to the supply chain, but it can be difficult to correctly examine tender returns if you want to understand why there are substantial pricing differences between suppliers on particular goods. Furthermore, by pricing in this manner, contractors can front-load their prices in order to produce positive cash flow.

Before choosing this type of pricing mechanism, evaluate the design status, whether preliminary or detailed, design and build or construct alone and the appetite for risk transfers from the supplier chain. If the schedule of work is properly created and appreciated, it can serve as the foundation for a fair relationship between the employer and contractor in order to effectively deliver projects on time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *