What is a Plumbing Scope of Work?

Before we get to the details about the scope of work, let us talk about plumbing first. Plumbing is a collective term that refers to any kind of system that conveys fluids for a wide range of applications. Examples of common applications related to plumbing are waste removal systems and potable water systems. It is called plumbing because back in the early times, lead pipes or plumbum pipes were the first kind of pipes that were effective.

A plumbing scope of work is an important document that lists what needs to be done by the qualified or licensed plumber in a project. It outlines everything – from the schedules, work details, terms of the scope, and the intended goal of the project which is the most important part. It also discusses the list of equipment or apparatuses that the plumber needs in carrying out the project. In general, this document helps the plumber in carrying out the task efficiently and helps him avoid getting sidetracked to other non-essential tasks.

What Does Plumbing Work Generally Involve?

There are many different kinds of plumbing work and they are usually categorized into different areas. Here are some examples of them:

Water supplies: This is the most familiar type of plumbing work. This work refers to the installation, repair, maintenance, alteration, construction, and testing of any kind of water supply system.Drainage works: This plumbing work involves any part of an underground sanitary drainage system that originates from the ground level sewage system and the disposal system. This also involves connecting the roof water downpipes to the disposal point of the drainage system.Gasfitting: This work covers everything that is involved with the use or supply of gas, such as the gas pipes, gas appliances, any kind of gas fittings, and any gas apparatuses.Mechanical plumbing works: This work involves any pipes, boilers, and flues of the mechanical HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) inside a building.Fire systems: This plumbing work talks about the work done on any part of a water service that is used for fire fighting. It usually starts from the point of connection to the water source to the fire fighting equipment itself. The fire systems worked by a plumber are usually sprinklers and fire hydrants,Sanitary: This plumbing work covers any part of a ground-level or an above-ground sanitary system that is connected to a sanitary fixture (such as toilets, taps, and sinks) to an underground drainage system.

What Are The Types of Equipment Used for Plumbing?

There are a few specialty tools that a skilled plumber relies on in order to make his/her job significantly easier. Here are some examples of plumbing equipment along with brief explanations:

Sink Auger: This tool is best used for breaking up clogged sinks and tub drains. It consists of a flexible cable with a corkscrew-shaped tip at the end. It is also called a drum auger or canister auger due to how it is configured. Toilet Auger: This auger is used for unclogging toilets. This is different from a sink auger, and a plumber should not be confused between the two types. A toilet auger is also known as a closet auger.Plumber’s Tape: This is an essential tool that is used to prevent leaks at a plumbing connection that is threaded. It is a thin white tape that a plumber wraps around threads on the pipes and fittings before they are twisted together. It is made of Polytetrafluoroethylene.Adjustable Pipe Wrench: This tool provides an outstanding amount of leverage and grip especially on round objects such as pipes, as it is designed for that purpose. It is designed to grip them securely by digging its serrated teeth into the pipe accompanied by increasing pressure as the pipe is turned. However, it is not recommended for shiny surfaces or small fragile pipes because it leaves teeth marks on the fixture being gripped.Slip Joint Pliers: These pliers are used to hold on to any pipes or any kind of plumbing parts of almost any size. They are very similar to adjustable pliers but have extended sections for adjustment and they also have angled jaws. Its long handles also provide a good amount of leverage for twisting and squeezing a fixture. Slip joint pliers can also be used to tighten large nuts on sink drains.O-rings, packings, and washers: These are considered to be lifesavers when a plumber is dealing with leaky valves on sinks, radiators, and any other equipment containing valves. Packing is wrapped around valve stems and under packing nuts in order to create a watertight seal. Washers and o-rings are usually sold in an assorted pack, and having one ready in a toolkit is essential in saving the plumber from what could be a long trip to the store should any OEM replacement parts of a fixture be unavailable.Tubing Cutters: Tubing cutters are required whenever a plumber deals with cutting copper pipes due to the fact that copper requires a clean, square cut. It also is easier to use compared to a hacksaw. It is composed of a thin wheel that cuts the metal and a pressure wheel that increases pressure as the tool’s knob is being turned.

What are Some Hazards That Are Associated With Plumbing?

There can be a lot of hazards that are present in a plumber’s workspace and if it is not assessed properly, accidents can occur. It is important for a plumber to know what he/she faces on the job. Here are some examples of hazards that a plumber needs to be aware of:

Repetitive Motion Injuries: These types of injuries happen whenever a worker does the same motions on his job regularly. It usually develops over time and can be notoriously difficult to detect. This affects plumbers due to the repeated gripping, pulling, and twisting movements they do on the job. Examples of such injuries include back injuries, soft tissue damage, and muscle strains.Loss of Hearing: Due to constant loud banging on pipes, exposure to loud machinery and tools, and noisy pipes, plumbers can be susceptible to hearing loss if they are frequently exposed to these hazards in their work. A way to prevent this is to wear protective equipment for your ears such as earplugs.Confined Spaces: Plumbers who work in confined spaces are susceptible to breathing problems especially if they work on sewers, boilers, storage tanks, and pits. When neglected, health problems develop over time. A way to exercise caution is to wear industrial face masks whenever a plumber is working in these confined spaces with unsafe amounts of fumes in the air.Asbestos: Since plumbers commonly work in places with little to no history, they are frequently susceptible to the dangers that asbestos presents. Inhalation of asbestos leads to a disease called mesothelioma. To avoid exposure, the plumber can consult with the homeowner or the establishment owner about the history of the building that they are about to work on.Injuries due to tool misuse or malfunction: Plumbing tools have evolved and have become more powerful overtime along with technology and because of this, the risks associated also evolve. A sudden malfunction of a power tool being used by a plumber can cause severe injuries. Improper use of the tools can also lead to injuries at the workplace. Examples include fractures, cuts, bruises, burns, and more.

How to Prepare an Effective Plumbing Scope of Work

Here are some steps you can follow in preparing an effective plumbing scope of work:

1. Begin by writing the basic information and overview.

In this step, the basic information of the project to be undertaken by the plumber is written along with its overview. It can be detailed or just a simple scope statement. Included in the project’s basic information are the type of plumbing project to be done, the materials needed, the address of the building where the project is to be done, the appropriate workplace safety measures, and the date of the said project.

2. Write the objectives or goals of the project.

The goals of the project largely depend on what type of project it is as well as its location and duration. Before establishing the goals of the plumbing project, you can begin by writing the reason why the project is needed in that establishment (leaky pipes, new installations, basic maintenance, etc.) and then follow up with its intended goal. It is also important to keep in mind that the goals stated should be easily achievable.

3. Create the scope of the project.

In writing this part, keep in mind the need to write and outline the steps that have to be done in order to accomplish the objectives or goals that are listed in the previous step. This can be done as a bullet list or a simple questionnaire style. Afterwards, you can break down the scope in a separate paragraph into more specific tasks. This can also be written and broken down into phases.  This is done to ensure that you or every person (if a plumbing team is involved) is on the same page with the whole process. This is also done to avoid being distracted and getting sidetracked on the project which could lead to delays.

4. Add a timeline of the project.

To ensure that the tasks listed of the project are completed without any possible overlapping of tasks and no complications or delays arise, a proper timeline with deadlines and/or milestones has to be added in the scope of work. If you can, also include milestones in the project to have a source of motivation and something to look forward to throughout the project’s duration.

5. Include a space for a written report.

Written reports will serve as progress for the task or project, that’s why it is necessary to have spaces allocated for them in the scope of work document. We can learn from the written reports and recommendations if the project is still on time or not and if there are any difficulties or emergencies encountered along with the corresponding actions that were taken.

6. Add an exclusion clause.

Adding an exclusion clause in the scope of work is also important since it details all the tasks, items, and actions that the worker is specifically excluded from doing or handling throughout the duration of the project. Although it is safe to assume that what is not written in the scope is not part of the project, exclusions can still be explicitly written for assurance.

FAQs

What is the difference between pipes and tubes?

The difference between pipes and tubes lies in their size. Tubes can come in a variety of different shapes such as circular, rectangular and cylindrical, while pipes will always come in a round shape. This helps the pipe evenly distribute pressure forces and also makes it efficient when handling pressure from the liquid flowing through it. Another difference is that pipes are used to transport gasses or liquids while tubing is usually used for structural applications.

What are the types of plumbing pipes?

Plumbing pipes can be classified through the following types:

  • PEX Pipe – also known as cross-linked polyethylene, PEX pipe is a relatively new pipe in the market. They are usually color-coded and it is only used to supply water. It can withstand water supply pressures and is also flexible enough to weave through walls, ceilings, and basements.
  • PVC Pipe – also known as Polyvinyl Chloride, this pipe is used as a drain or vent type of plumbing pipe.
  • Rigid Copper Pipe – used in household water supply lines. It is preferred due to the reason that rigid copper pipes do not come with any health risks.
  • ABS Pipe – known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, this pipe is mainly used as a drain and vent line. It is similar to PVC but softer and only comes in black color.
  • Flexible Connection – used as final connections to various appliances, such as sinks and toilets.

How long should a scope of work be?

The length of a scope of work depends on the project that is to be undertaken. When writing a scope of work, it is important to keep in mind all the necessary details of the tasks in the project. However, it is also important that you should not write too much and go overboard with too many unnecessary factors. A very long scope of work will obviously take a lot of time to read and verify, and will inevitably lead to delays in working on the project.

Whenever plumbing comes across someone’s mind, they usually think about their water supply lines and their drainages in the bathroom and sink. They’re not wrong, but plumbing is a more complicated task than that. It also involves varying levels of danger and caution is always advised along with wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment. For this reason, an effective plumbing scope of work document is needed by a plumber or a team of plumbers whenever they get assigned to work on a project. In this article, numerous examples are provided above for you to use as a guide should you need one.