The Vital Concept of Scope Management, Work Breakdown Structures & Handling Variations

In this series of three blogs, we will detail the concept of Scope Management. We will introduce:

  • Scope Management
  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  • Successfully Handling Variations

Let’s start with scope management. A building project starts with defining the scope of the project. Scope management defines the goals and also handling the almost inevitable changes. Another part of scope management is handling the gaps between the original project definition and the ability of the team to deliver the defined requirements.

What is scope?

In the building industry, scope is generally considered to be everything from the concept design to the successful completion of the project or building. In some quarters, it’s called “the scope of works”. The scope must be identified before the project starts.

You can detail the scope in several ways including specification, drawings, invitations to tender (tender documents), tender/quotation submission, acceptance, agreement, contract, requests for information (RFI), variations, provisional sum/prime cost advice notes, manuals, and more. You must also be aware of all applicable laws that pertain to the project.

Scope management can be difficult because of the challenge of accurately identifying all the work required. Sometimes, the initial information is not enough to identify all this work. Scope management also requires the precise execution of systems, processes, and procedures – plus accurate and timely communication with all parties involved in a project. If a company wants a project executed to high quality standards then strong scope management is mandatory.

Scope management can be broken down into five stages.


  1. Collection of Requirements
  2. Definition of Scope
  3. Creation of the Work Breakdown Structure
  4. Scope Verification
  5. Change Control


The first step involves defining the exact needs of the clients. It can be valuable to make a list of requirements in order of importance. It’s also important to consider current and future needs. The project requirements then transfer to concept drawings, DA drawings, budgets, benchmarks and more. Problems often occur when project scope changes after the collection of requirements and definition of scope.

The next logical step is to define the scope of the project – this might be the most important component of scope management. Scope definition is simply the development of a written scope statement to provide the foundation of future project decisions. It’s the document by which all decisions can be made. The written scope document will usually include:


  • Construction type
  • Budgets, time & quality
  • Size (area, levels, length, rooms)
  • Project location
  • Materials to be used
  • Building systems to be included
  • Unique and miscellaneous characteristics


Again – the key to professional development is planning that follows a defined structure. Stay informed with Blueprint CPD.

In the next blog, we’ll focus on Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as part of scope management.