Schedule of Values Guide,
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Illustration of a schedule of values document

A Schedule of Values, or SOV, is a list of every work item on a project, along with each item’s value or cost.  This comprehensive work list represents the entire construction project and the entire contract price, from beginning to end. According to the standardized contract documents from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), “The schedule of values shall allocate the entire contract sum among the various portions of the work.”

The schedule of values shows the total project on paper, step by step. This allows the architect or project owner to quickly see the percentage of each item that has been completed. The subcontractor typically submits the schedule of values with an application for payment and any other documentation to support the request. The architect or owner then reviews the documents and either disputes or agrees to the progress payment.

In practice, the amount of detail necessary can vary. On some jobs, the owner or architect might require that every line be broken down such that each work item is valued at less than $20,000. On other projects the value threshold may be more or less. There is no single, industry-wide accepted value threshold.

This is a simple example of a completed schedule of values:

Schedule of Values example showing the calculations on a spreadsheet that are required.

Project owners and architect often require a schedule of values for the management of the cash-flow and progress payments on the project. It is particularly common  on a commercial, public, or complex residential project. Generally, only first-tier (prime or general contractors) and second-tier subcontractors will need to fill out a schedule of values. However, a schedule of values can provide valuable insights and oversight to contractors on any construction project.

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any contractor. The schedule of values, and the work amounts and costs listed, represent the cash flow on a construction project. Unscheduled overruns can spell disaster, even for contractors that are generally well-prepared to manage cash flow issues. Contractors rely on a schedule of values to ensure the work is progressing as it should. Owners and architects use the SOV to justify the appropriate progress payments.

A schedule of values is used as a management tool in pay application processing, and as a valuable tool in evaluating the progress of a project relative to the plan. Since cash flow is measured by the SOV, the timing of payments depend on how well the contractor put the SOV together.

 

 

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Schedule of Values in Construction
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Schedule of Values in Construction
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In construction, a Schedule of Values, or SOV, is a comprehensive list of work items on a project that represents the entire project and contract price, from beginning to end.
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Schedule of Values Frequently Asked Questions

A schedule of values can be confusing. Here are some frequently asked questions to help.

Who needs to use a Schedule of Values?

A schedule of values is used by prime or general contractors, and second-tier subcontractors (those hired by the GC) to support their application for payment. Project owners and architects use the schedule of values to verify the work performed, and release payment.

In what circumstances is a Schedule of Values normally used?

A schedule of values is normally used on projects that are more complex, more expensive, or have more moving parts. It should be easy to see why the information on a SOV is critical on complicated projects and projects that require a lot of payment application management. Generally, a schedule of values is applicable to projects with an approved budget, Fixed Price, or Cost-Plus, or Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) contract.

Does a Schedule of Values change according to the project location?

A schedule of values doesn't change because of the project location. It is not set forth by statute statutory law in the same way that mechanics lien laws, or even some contract requirements are. The SOV form itself used may change slightly depending on the requirements of the owner, architect, or GC. But these differences are not specifically due to the location of the project. Instead, variations depend more on the contracts used, and the level of detail desired. This is not to say, however, that geography can’t have some secondary impact. It could be the case that architects in a particular location may, as a group, specify a level of detail required in a schedule of values that is not necessarily the same in other locations. 

Does a Schedule of Values change according to the project type?

A schedule of values doesn't change due to the project type specifically. There is no specific modification to a schedule of values based on the type of project. While the scope of the schedule of values is likely different on a residential project than on a significant commercial project, the differences are not due to the project type, but rather by how complex a project is.

What happens if I make a mistake with a Schedule of Values?

Making a mistake on a schedule of values can cause payment and schedule delays. Since the SOV governs the allocation of payments, and cash flow is extremely important to contractors, it can be tempting to “front-load” the SOV. Overbilling is commonly attempted by contractors to get more funds released earlier in the project. This can have significant negative consequences. Contractors may attempt to front-load the SOV by artificially increasing the values of the early project activities and devaluing the work at the end. While it’s easy to see why this would be tempting, it is a bad idea for many reasons. The owner and architect must sign off on the SOV and are generally looking to avoid this exact behavior, and attempting to fudge the numbers for one’s own benefit is never best practice. You can read more about the dangers of front-loading a Schedule of Values in our article Front Loading a Schedule of Values | Risks of Gambling with Cash Flow. Beyond that, however, front-loading an SOV can create other problems down the line, as well. If a payment issue arises, the justifications can be tricky when the value on the SOV does not mesh with the payments made down the chain, especially since most SOVs require that only a certain amount is allowable for contractor profit and overhead. A contractor can run afoul of prompt payment laws if s/he attempts to withhold payment from a sub subject to some dispute, but the SOV still collect payment from the owner pursuant to an “incorrect” SOV. Additionally, if there is a dispute regarding the sub’s work (but the contractor has loaded too much into the value of that work in the SOV) it will be difficult to argue that the full amount should be able to be collected by the contractor when some is supposed to go to sub whose work is disputed There are many other issues that can arise from not preparing the SOV correctly and accurately, such as issues related to reputational risk, owner/architect/lender exposure for overpayment, false claims act liability, and more.

Is a Schedule of Values usually paired with anything else?

A schedule of values is usually produced with the construction contract, before work begins. It is, by definition, something that must be prepared prior to the work being initiated on the project. When used to request payment, a schedule of values is paired with a payment application, any applicable change orders, and other supporting documentation. SOVs are specifically referenced by many standard form construction contracts, like AIA templates and ConsensusDocs forms.