To ensure an accurate bid on your next OSP project, a detailed scope-of-work is essential.

Building a detailed scope-of-work is a critical step in the design process. Inaccurate bids, confusion, and misunderstanding can result if you don't give proper attention to this important task. To accurately convey all that's involved in your next OSP project, you need to assume many roles, including that of author, scheduler, bidder, designer, material manager, and sometimes even lender.

In this 10th installment of EC&M's 12-part look at the Second Edition of BICSI's Customer-Owned Outside Plant Manual, we discuss the suggested items and methods of building a quality scope-of-work for your next OSP project. All of the material discussed in the previous installments of this series has set the foundation for this crucial step in the overall process.

Who, what, when, where, and why?

Answering the five Ws should help guide you through the mental checklist of issues to include in the first part of your scope-of-work, the project narrative. As a project designer, you should already have most of the information you need to write your project narrative. Plan to sum this information up in a few concise but detailed paragraphs.

Think of this section as the project story. It should clearly outline why this project is needed, where it will be installed, who will be working on it, what must be done, and when the project steps must be completed. By reviewing your plans, material lists, and other data you have assembled along the way, you'll get a sense of what you need to complete the project. Remember, the narrative's goal is to describe all of the elements of your project in an overview format. Many of the finer details will be outlined in your scope-of-work package.

A drawing is worth a thousand words.

Proposal drawings give bidding contractors enough information to generate an accurate bid for the project. At the very least, you need to include sufficient details on support structures, the media plan, and termination hardware. The document's structures section should both outline the aerial, buried, or underground placement pathways and specify the sizes and types of cable. The media plan is a portrayal of the sequence of operations for the splicing and termination of hardware. It's crucial to note the type of termination hardware so the bidding contractor understands the tooling and craft experience required for the job. The proposal drawings can take the form of final design documentation or a schematic, as long as you include the minimum details required for the project.

Method of placement.

Clearly outline the method of placement and pathways to be used on the OSP project. This includes the notation of critical transition points, from aerial to direct-buried to underground cables. An important factor to include is the level of difficulty anticipated on the project. No matter what format you choose to include, this can easily be one of the most important factors in getting accurate bids for your project. Don't leave this step out of the interpretation.

Not all splices and terminations are the same.

You must include the details of the splices required on your project because various designs can have considerable differences in set-up time, actual splice time, and equipment requirements. Some of the issues to address include type of cable, cabling hardware, and connecting hardware to be used, and the required connection methods. If you're planning on showing the final design documentation to the bidder, these issues should be clearly visible on the work prints. However, if you plan on presenting a schematic presentation, you'll need to include this information in the scope-of-work, which will require you to specify standard methods and any other exceptions to those standards that the bidder must qualify.

For optical fiber splices, you must outline single or multimode, mechanical or fusion splices, cabling hardware requirements, and connector hardware associated with these splices. The bidder should also know the acceptable loss factors. This same type of information must also be included for any coaxial-type cable you've specified for the project.

Specifications for the termination of twisted-pair, fiber optic, and coax cables should be clearly outlined in your scope-of-work package. These specifications are very similar to your splicing requirements, but may also include additional hardware and craft experience considerations.

Maintenance holes and conduit.

When specifying these materials in your design, it's to your advantage to inform bidders of some additional details about these products. The bidder will also want to know the size, shape, racking details, and location of splices within all maintenance holes. With respect to maintenance holes and conduit, they'll want to know the installation depth, final elevations, and intended uses. You should clearly outline these requirements in the scope-of-work.

If the project calls for the contractor to gain access to any leased systems, this too should be clearly outlined in the scope-of-work. This assists the bidder in establishing scheduling requirements with the lease holder for access to the maintenance holes.

Material lists.

Your material lists help bring uniformity and accuracy to labor estimates. They include component descriptions, manufacturers, unit prices, and availability. This information may be omitted if the bidders are required to provide their own materials. However, you must then furnish in detail the minimum expectations of the materials to be used on the project. If material lists aren't furnished, make sure all materials are specified on the final design documentation and provided in the scope-of-work package.

Final acceptance.

Always include the specifics of your expected compliance on substantial and final completion of the project. This customized information, including all of the codes and standards and/or regulations that must be met, can be very important in the scheduling aspects of your project.

Next month we'll examine the project management process and the project manager's role.

Hite is special projects engineer-OSP for CT Communications, Inc., Concord, N.C.

The material for this article was excerpted with permission from BICSI's Customer-Owned Outside Plant Design Manual, Second Edition.

Sidebar: Taking the Five Ws One Step Further

Who — These are the human resources and affected persons on your project. Be specific and list their group names when necessary. Group names are important, so be sure to use consistent and acceptable names.

What — Your project will include several parts, but you don't have to list them all. Your description should include as much as necessary to cover everything involved in the project without including all the details.

When — The timing and scheduling of your project is most crucial to pricing and availability. You must be clear about timing issues — when must you adhere to the schedule, and when can you deviate?

Where — The project location(s) you reference in the scope-of-work should include all the areas involved. A key map is often useful for providing the bidder with a view of the land and surroundings that factor into the design.

Why — The trigger of the demand for the project can be useful to the background of other plant conditions. Knowing the final solution is helpful to the plant's construction.