Most people planning a home remodel jump right into what flooring and countertops they want in their new space, but one of the most critical pieces to any renovation is putting together a solid “Project Scope. This is the foundation that will make ALL the difference in the overall success of your project! 

What is a project scope exactly?

A “project scope” or “scope of work” is a written document (or several written documents) used to detail everything that’s needed to complete a project. A well-defined scope includes: project objectives, coordination of phases, approval requirements, materials, budget allowances and timing. 

Assume nothing when it comes to these details! Ask questions and get clarification on items that don’t make sense or those you want to learn more about. 

Image: Deposit Photos

If your contractor doesn’t mention a project scope, it could be a red flag, especially on a large project. …definitely ask for one!

You may want to create a separate project scope for each affected area of your home. By the time you’re done, what started out as a vague collection of dreams, will have evolved into a clear-cut set of expectations and priorities. The aim is to create a guide to help make your vision come to life!

Image: Synergy Design & Construction

So what does a project scope document look like?

Depending on your contractor’s process, they may outline these details in a separate document or include them in the contract itself. Regardless of their approach, make sure the information on quality, quantity and size are outlined so there is no confusion as to what you’re getting before you sign the contract. Writing the scope of work in the early phase of the renovation when the project is still taking shape will help you define, refine, and develop the project.

Here’s sample language of a poorly described scope (LEFT) and a well-detailed scope (RIGHT). Notice how the examples on the right take the guesswork out of it by leaving little to the imagination.


Install kitchen cabinets Install oak kitchen cabinets manufactured by Company XYZ, model ABC, as per plan dated 01/01/00
Install 6 recessed lights in living room Furnish and install (3) LOL1003R recessed remodeler housings, 1076WH white baffle/trim and PAR 30, 75W long neck bulb wired to relocated dimmer switch
Remove and relocate fireplace Remove and save existing heat-n-glow gas fireplace, flue and exterior termination cap for re-installation on sidewall of existing family room
Demolish 3 kitchen cabinets Remove and dispose of three (3) existing cabinets at wall adjacent to pantry closet and common to family room, including desk, 33” base and 33” wall cabinet
Protect hallway floors Install temporary floor protection board (1/8” masonite hardboard over brown rosin paper) on existing floor

Meet Scope’s sister, her name is Schedule 

If your project will take longer than two weeks, ask to see a production schedule. This is a project management plan detailing how your renovation will unfold from start to finish. You don’t need too much detail at this point – a high level overview will do. 

Once construction starts, know that the work will shift slightly as challenges arise (this is to be expected). The important thing here is for you to be aware of the plan in the first place as this increases the likelihood of your contractor completing on time.

Image: Deposit Photos

If you’re ready to start tackling your home renovation, and would love more tools and guidance on how to successfully manage your project, check out my Renovation Roadmap eCourse!





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