Guide To Understanding and Designing a Schedule of Values for Construction Work

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 3, 2021 | Published February 8, 2021

Updated November 3, 2021

Published February 8, 2021

A thorough schedule of values form is vital for creating transparency and setting expectations in construction. Its standard practice for large commercial contractors to bill clients using this tool. However, smaller contracting businesses can benefit from using this type of form too. In this article, we define what a schedule of values is, explain the benefits of using one and answer questions about how to best design and use them for contracting work.

What is a schedule of values?

A schedule of values is a comprehensive list of the work that needs to get done on a construction job, and it shows the payment values attributed to each item. This document explains each step of a contract in chronological order — S.O.V. is a common name for this itemized list. Contractors use them to organize projects, communicate with architects, give information to clients and collect payments.

Related: How To Become a Successful General Contractor

When to use a schedule of values

Any contractor doing commercial construction or multi-step residential work needs to complete a schedule of values. The architect and homeowner need to agree to list items, cost projections and the payment schedule. A township, municipality, homeowners' association or insurance provider may also request to view this document.

Benefits of using a schedule of values

Creating a schedule of values is usually necessary, but it's also a very valuable management tool. Here are some benefits of using a schedule of values for your next construction job:

Creates and maintains order

A schedule of values is a bit like a map. It creates a visual timeline for clients, individual workers, foremen and the person responsible for designing it. Remodeling someone's home, developing a brand new structure or designing or adding to a commercial building takes a lot of planning and coordinating. Completing some parts of a job are necessary before starting others and doing these things in order saves money. For example, a demolition team needs to remove the sheetrock in a room before a plumber can fit and install new pipes. In this way, the S.O.V. serves as a reference sheet and can help you organize and focus.

Related: 10 Construction Management Tips for Project Leaders

Increases accountability and trust

Being accountable means being responsible for your work and sticking to commitments. A schedule of values describes the proper order of job completion and explains how much everything costs. Providing this document to your client sets goals and creates a timeline for you to adhere to. Following through on each step of the itemized list, being on time and staying within the price estimates helps build trust between yourself and your client. Developing accountability and trust are crucial to creating long-lasting client relationships and new business referrals.

Related: How To Ask for a Referral To Grow Your Business

Sets clear expectations for team members

Team member expectations describe what someone is responsible for doing at work. Sharing the schedule of values with everyone on the construction site helps people to understand their individual goals and responsibilities. It outlines a timeline of events and it helps each person stay on track for meeting the expectations you have for someone in their role. You can also use an S.O.V. as a reference sheet for giving constructive feedback.

Makes collecting payments easier

Multi-step construction jobs usually involve multi-step client payment plans. Ensuring that your client agrees to the schedule of values in advance makes collecting those payments easier. The cost and values for each component of the job are listed on this document, and so are the estimated dates of service and client payment dates. When a commercial business or residential homeowner has advanced notice of when bills are due, they are more likely to be able to pay them on time.

Related: 22 Types of Project Estimates for Construction and Manufacturing

How to structure a schedule of values

Your schedule of values should be easy to interpret and should provide all stakeholders with important information. It should include three major sections, which are heading, spreadsheet and consent. Here is information about what to include in each of these three sections:

1. Heading and basic information

This section should appear at the top of your document. Here is a list of things to include when designing your heading and basic information section:

  • Project name

  • Project number

  • Name of contractor

  • Name of liaison or contact person

  • Name of client

  • Client billing address

  • Client service address

  • Name of architect

  • Architect application date

  • Architect Application number

2. Project spreadsheet

This section should directly follow the heading and basic information. Your spreadsheet is where you itemize each part of the job, outline the timeline and estimate costs. This table should be composed of columns and rows, and should be easy to read and interpret. Here is the information you should include when creating a thorough project spreadsheet:


Rows run horizontally across a spreadsheet. Here are the things that you should represent in rows on your spreadsheet:

  • Item number

  • Description of work item

  • Estimated cost or scheduled value

  • Construction dates

  • Percentage completion

  • Retainer or deposit

  • First payment

  • Final balance due


Columns are vertical and intersect with the rows across a spreadsheet. The items represented in each column should correspond to the title of each row. For example, if the construction job you are planning has six itemized components, then there should be six unique item serial numbers in each cell within that column. Similarly, there should be six dollar amounts listed in the cells below the row representing scheduled value.

3. Consent and acknowledgment

Consent and acknowledgment should be the last section of your schedule of values form. This needs to include places for the client, the architect and the contractor to print and sign their names. It should also include a space for each party to write the date of their acknowledgment. You should get signatures in person or use a secure e-signature platform.

Related: What Is Project Scope? 7 Steps for Defining Project Success

Frequently asked questions about a schedule of values

Here are five questions people frequently ask about designing, editing and using a schedule of values for contracting jobs:

Is there a standard or required schedule of values form?

No, there isn't a required form. The American Institute of Architects has not issued a standard document to follow, and you are free to structure the form as it best suits your needs.

Should I use a schedule of values for GMP contracts?

Yes, you should use a schedule of values form for contracts with a guaranteed maximum price (GMP.) A thorough schedule of values is an extremely valuable management tool that can create order, encourage accountability and increase client trust. Using this form offers transparency and it still applies to jobs with a fixed price or a guaranteed maximum price.

What happens if I make a mistake on a schedule of values?

The architect will likely notice if you make a mistake on your schedule of values. As long as you or the architect identify the mistake before the client signs and agrees to the document, you can fix the error easily and resubmit your S.O.V. to the architect.

Can I change the price for items if I am using a schedule of values computer software program?

Yes, you can change the price for individual items. For auditing purposes, most software programs require an approved budget transfer process to make this type of change. Budget approval then sets a new standard price for all of your future invoices.

When should I give my client the schedule of values?

You should give your client a copy of the schedule of values as soon as you get approval from an architect. It should be presented to your client at the same time as the contract and is important that both of these items be reviewed and signed by your client before you start any work.

Related: Construction Management: Functions and Phases

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