Understanding an SOW
An SOW is essential when purchasing commercial services. Be aware that SOWs are read and interpreted by government and industry personnel with diverse backgrounds such as engineering, science, accounting, law, contracting and other business fields. The SOW must be clear, precise, complete and concise. It should contain the following elements per FAR 8.405-2:
- Work to be performed
- Location of work
- Period of performance
- Deliverable Schedule
- Inspection and acceptance requirements
- Any special requirements such as security clearances, travel or special knowledge
- Describe the project in general terms
- Discuss the purpose of the project – in other words, why the project is being pursued and how it relates to other projects
- Include, as necessary, a summary of statutory authority or applicable regulations
- Provide copies of pertinent background materials, and includes them in a reference or attachment
There are some general preparation guidelines to consider when preparing an SOW:
- Preparation responsibility. Normally, the person responsible for preparing the purchase request may also be responsible for preparing the SOW. If so, the person may seek advice and assistance from others involved in the procurement process.
- The person responsible for issuing the delivery/task order must ensure that the SOW is adequate for the procurement. If the functions are not completed by the same person, it is important for the preparer of the purchase request and the preparer of the SOW to work together to ensure that the services required are clearly described.
- Provide a concise overview of the project and how the results or end products will be used; includes goals.
- Cover the general scope of the work the Schedule contractor will perform and what the government expects to be accomplished.
Tasks or Requirements
- Describe detailed work and management requirements.
Remember to define requirements within the scope of commercial items or services.
All services ordered must be within the scope of the GSA Schedule contract.
Deliverables or Delivery Schedule
- Describe what the Schedule contractor shall provide
- Identify the Schedule contractor’s responsibilities
- Specify any specialized expertise, services, training and documentation, as applicable
- Clearly state the deliverables required, schedule for delivery, quantities and to whom they will be delivered
- Describe the delivery schedule in terms of calendar days from the date of award
- Identify the type of documentation (printed and/or electronic) to be provided, as well as the quality indicators desired by the government
Government Property and Information
- Government property and information requirements should be addressed in the requirements documentation and administered through the Schedule order.
- “Government property” means all property owned or leased by the Government. Government property includes both Government-furnished property and contractor-acquired property. Government property includes material, equipment, special tooling, special test equipment, and real property. Government property does not include intellectual property and software.
- “Government-furnished property” means property in the possession of, or directly acquired by, the Government and subsequently furnished to the contractor for performance of a contract. Government-furnished property includes, but is not limited to, spares and property furnished for repair, maintenance, overhaul, or modification. Government-furnished property also includes contractor-acquired property if the contractor-acquired property is a deliverable under a cost contract when accepted by the Government for continued use under the contract.
- “Government-furnished information” includes, but is not limited to, manuals, drawings, and test data, to be provided to prospective offerors and contractors that require additional controls to monitor access and distribution (e.g., technical specifications, maps, building designs, schedules, etc.), as determined by the agency.
Refer to FAR 45.101 for more information.
- State any security requirements, as necessary, for the work to be performed.
Place of Performance
- Specify whether the work is to be performed at a government site or the contractor’s site.
Period of Performance
- Specify the period of performance: e.g., hours, days, weeks or months.