Products & Solutions
April 21, 2023

Crush Your Project Goals: Schedule of Values in Construction

Often misunderstood, the Schedule of Values (SOV) in construction is an essential tool that can make or break a project. As a general contractor or project owner, you know all too well the challenges that come with managing complex construction projects — the sleepless nights, the gnawing uncertainty, the pressure to deliver exceptional results on time and within budget.

That's why we've crafted this in-depth guide designed specifically for people like you, who live and breathe construction every single day. We'll walk you through the intricacies of the SOV, sharing best practices that'll turn your construction management nightmares into a streamlined, efficient operation and avoid common pitfalls like front-loading. So, pull up a chair, grab your hard hat, and let's get to work.

What Is a Schedule of Values (SOV)?

Engineers looking at a laptop

In the same way that a recipe provides a list of ingredients, their quantities, and step-by-step instructions for preparing a dish, an SOV offers a comprehensive breakdown of a construction project's individual elements, specifying their associated costs and approved budgets. The SOV serves as an indispensable guide, ensuring that all stakeholders involved understand the precise requirements and processes to achieve the desired outcome.

An accurate and detailed SOV is essential for effectively managing project budgets, monitoring progress, and facilitating billing and payment processes. Construction professionals depend on a reliable SOV to successfully manage and complete their projects.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) offers standardized SOV templates to assist construction professionals in organizing and managing their entire projects. The AIA's template, known as the AIA Document G703, serves as a widely accepted format for breaking down the construction costs into specific line items.

Understanding Retainage in the Schedule of Values

Retainage is a key component of the Schedule of Values (SOV). That’s why it’s crucial to discuss its role within the SOV to provide a comprehensive understanding of how it affects construction projects and safeguards the interests of all stakeholders.

Retainage, sometimes referred to as retention, is a percentage of the contract value that the owner withholds from each progress payment. The withheld amount accumulates throughout the project and is only released once the project is completed and all required close out documentation is provided. Retainage may be partially released at the owners discretion when specific milestones are reached. This practice provides an incentive for contractors to finish the job promptly and to the owner's satisfaction.

Calculating Retainage

Typically, retainage in the construction industry ranges from 5-10% of the total contract price. However, the exact percentage depends on the specific contract and project. To calculate retainage, simply multiply the invoice amount by the agreed-upon retainage percentage. For example, if the invoice is for $100,000 and the agreed retainage is 10%, the owner would withhold $10,000 from the progress payment. This amount would then accumulate over the course of the project.

Benefits of a Well-Structured SOV

Schedule of values construction: Construction workers shaking hands

A masterfully created Schedule of Values (SOV) can work wonders for your construction projects. When done right, it offers a plethora of benefits for general contractors and owners alike. Here are the advantages of a thought-out SOV.

1. Streamlined Payment Process

A coherent SOV acts as a solid foundation for your project's financial management. With a clear and concise breakdown of all project costs, you can easily map out the payment schedule for subcontractors and vendors. By eliminating guesswork and decreasing the chances of payment disagreements, you ensure consistent cash flow and promote a positive work atmosphere.

2. Accurate Cost Tracking

With an expertly developed SOV, you can efficiently track the costs of your project from start to finish. It allows you to monitor progress within the context of cost, making it easier to identify cost overruns, discrepancies, and potential savings opportunities. A comprehensive SOV also enables you to effectively allocate resources, reducing waste and ensuring that your project stays on budget.

3. Improved Communication Between Stakeholders

A clearly defined Schedule of Values can become the foundation for setting clear expectations between the owner and general contractors (GCs) and between GCs and subcontractors. For example, if a GC needs to make changes to the project scope, they can refer to the SOV to understand how those changes will impact the project budget and schedule. Similarly, if a subcontractor needs to request additional payments for their work, they can refer to the SOV to ensure that their request aligns with the overall project budget.

4. Reduced Disputes and Conflicts

Construction projects can be fraught with disputes, often stemming from misunderstandings over costs and payment schedules. A well-structured SOV significantly reduces the likelihood of these conflicts by providing a clear, agreed-upon cost breakdowns and payments. With a detailed SOV, all parties have a better understanding of their responsibilities and the financial implications of their actions. This results in fewer conflicts and a smoother project execution.

5. Simplified Change Order Management

Change orders are an inevitable part of any construction project. A comprehensive SOV simplifies the process of managing and valuing these changes. For instance, by clearly identifying and quantifying the scope of work, a maintained SOV enables you to assess the impact of change orders swiftly. This understanding allows you to make informed decisions, preventing costly surprises when processing payment applications.

Best Practices for Creating an Effective SOV

Portrait of buildings under construction

In the complex landscape of commercial projects, crafting a reliable and efficient Schedule of Values (SOV) is crucial for maintaining organization, transparency, and progress. Here are the essential guidelines that will enhance your SOV creation process, paving the way for more effective project management and collaboration.

1. Detailed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

A comprehensive Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is critical for the successful creation of an SOV. A WBS should include all project components, from site preparation and infrastructure to the smallest finishes. Be meticulous in breaking down the project into specific tasks, as this will help in assigning accurate costs and making the SOV more efficient. Lastly, consider utilizing advanced WBS software to automate and optimize the process.

2. Align SOV With Contract Documents

Ensure that your SOV aligns with the contract documents, including drawings, specifications, and the project's scope of work. Cross-referencing and maintaining consistency between these documents will minimize misunderstandings and disputes. It's also important to factor in any contingencies or allowances outlined in the construction contract.

3. Leverage Historical Data and Industry Benchmarks

Utilize historical data from previous projects and industry benchmarks to inform your cost estimates. This approach helps in creating more accurate and realistic SOVs, as they’re based on actual construction data. Analyzing this information will enable you to identify patterns, and make more informed decisions regarding resource allocation and project scheduling. This could help with eliminating front loading cost schedules or sandbagging from subcontractors as well and foster a transparent project understanding. This should be directly related to incentives. 

4. Implement Performance-Based Milestones

Incorporate performance-based milestones into your SOV, focusing on deliverables that demonstrate tangible progress. These goals should be both measurable and achievable, with clear objectives and timelines. Performance-based milestones help to ensure that payments are made according to actual progress, reducing the risk of overpayment or payment disputes.

5. Continuous Monitoring and Updating

An effective SOV is not a one-time exercise but requires continuous monitoring and updating throughout the project lifecycle. Regularly review and adjust your SOV to account for changes in scope, unforeseen conditions, or other factors that may impact project costs. This proactive approach will help maintain transparency and accuracy in the billing process.

6. Utilize Construction Management Software

Leverage construction management tools to streamline the creation, monitoring, and updating of your SOV. This technology can automatically track and manage costs, payments, and change orders, as well as facilitate collaboration between all stakeholders. In other words, adopting digital solutions will improve efficiency, reduce errors, and create a more transparent payment process.

7. Educate and Communicate with Stakeholders

Ensure that all parties understand the SOV and its importance in the construction process. This includes subcontractors, project managers, and owners. Maintain open lines of communication and encourage questions or concerns to be raised. This collaborative approach will help create a more cohesive and successful project.

Align Your SOV With Your BIM for Unmatched Insights and Efficiency

Effectively managing projects and keeping all parties on the same page is the key to success. One approach to achieving this is by synchronizing your SOV with your Building Information Model (BIM). This alignment allows you to harness the power of these two crucial tools together, ensuring that project goals are met efficiently and effectively. 

In other words, this synchronization enables you to monitor and track project progress in real-time, pinpointing potential issues and deviations from the plan early on. This leads to superior cost control, enhanced communication among stakeholders, and an increased overall project success rate.

Avvir 5D is the perfect tool to help you accomplish this optimal integration and stay ahead of the competition. The technology offers a seamless way to track project and scope costs against your Schedule of Values. You can identify cash flow and budget risks by tracking installed value against your subcontractors' reported earned value for each line item in your SOV. This comprehensive approach ensures that you have a complete grasp of your project's financial health, empowering you to make informed decisions and mitigate potential risks.

Schedule a personalized demo of Avvir 5D and witness firsthand how it can streamline your SOV process. Our team of experts is eager to show you the benefits and help you unlock your project's full potential.

Men showing construction tool to group
3 Tips for using BIM as a Database throughout the Project Lifecycle

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat.