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Construction Work Orders

Construction Work Orders: 8 Effective Types

Construction work orders contain project details. Discover the top 8 types and how to manage them effectively


Clarity and transparency form the basis of any good working relationship, and this holds true in the construction industry as well. Companies may choose to employ multiple tools for clear and efficient communication with their clients, and one such tool is the work order.

Creating a work order is a way to ensure that both parties understand and agree upon the terms of the work, including timelines and budgets.

In this article, we’ll explore what a work order entails in the AECO sector, how many types exist, and its core components.

What is a Construction Work Order?

The term work order is used across various sectors and fields. But what does it specifically denote in the realm of construction?

A construction work order in the AECO sector is a document outlining the specific details of a job. Once a project is planned and outlined, construction companies draft a work order defining project details and expectations. The items and descriptions in the work order are accepted by both parties, the construction company, and the client. Both parties then sign these documents to agree on project terms.

Among the construction sector tasks that might require a work order are:

  • Inspection: Parties issue work orders for regular inspections to ensure building, equipment, and plant safety;
  • Maintenance: Contractors may issue maintenance work orders to accurately plan maintenance and assess buildings and their parts, providing routine updates or replacements;
  • Emergency: Contractors can issue emergency work orders in case of equipment breakdowns, malfunctions, or building component failures;
  • Electrical: Contractors may issue work orders when there’s a need to repair or install electrical equipment;
  • Safety: Contractors issue safety work orders to improve construction conditions and ensure employee safety;
  • Other Tasks: Contractors may issue work orders for specific construction, installation, or replacement projects requested by clients.

What’s the Purpose of a Work Order in Construction?

In the AECO sector, work orders standardize workflow and create a simple and quick process for planning, assigning, and monitoring various jobs, simultaneously ensuring resource documentation and performance monitoring.

Through work orders, project timelines and budget adherence are also monitored.

Both contracting parties benefit from this type of planning and monitoring: construction companies and clients. Both are protected by this document, which can also include an estimate of costs, timelines, and materials, quantitatively and qualitatively.

Work orders also serve as a way for construction companies to record and store project details consistently and systematically.

How to Manage a Construction Work Order - usBIM.resolver

How to Manage a Construction Work Order – usBIM.resolver

What are the Types of Construction Work Orders?

In general and specifically within the construction sector, there are various types of work orders; let’s explore the 8 most common ones:

  • General Work Order: This is a commitment to the project with an attached list of materials, tools, and equipment required for activities. Based on this document, the client will pay for the specified services;
  • Preventive Work Order: There are two types concerning a potential problem to solve in the construction sector: corrective, which informs us specifically about the problem reported in due time, and preventive work orders usually associated with preventive maintenance required for certain machines, for example;
  • Planned Work Order: Planned work orders are documents accompanying recurring work, such as maintenance or inspection;
  • Unplanned Work Order: Unplanned work orders are documents accompanying construction needs that a client might not have planned, such as emergency repair services;
  • Internal Work Order: Internal work orders are those made within different departments of the same company;
  • External Work Order: External work orders are documents generated by people outside the company. For instance, a facility manager requesting services may generate a work order based on their project needs;
  • Manual Work Order: Manual work orders are documents generated manually, in written form or through a digital form;
  • Automatic Work Order: Automatic work orders are generated automatically for specific cases, which can include recurring orders from automatic systems like facility management software.

What Information Should a Work Order Include?

A work order must be edited and detailed based on the specific job, yet there are contents that are always useful, if not essential, to include when drafting these documents:

  • Contact Information: Include information about the person the client can contact for clarifications or updates. Include contact details for the project manager or customer service, depending on the company’s structure. In this section, billing information and company details can also be included;
  • Job Description: This section provides an initial description of the work, including required manpower and materials for execution. You can also include information on hours required for each activity and assigned workers;
  • Material Description: This section lists not only the type of materials needed for the work but also the precise quantity, cost, and applicable tax.

Finally, it’s useful to provide a section for additional information before the space dedicated to date and signatures.

Necessary information in a construction work order

Necessary information in a construction work order

Why is drafting work orders important?

In general, work orders help construction companies operate in a more standardized manner, simplifying workflow and making everything more efficient and precise.

Each work order highlights the work to be done, when it should be completed, by whom, and with what tools and materials, acting as a guarantee for both companies and clients.

To create an effective work order, it’s necessary to:

  • Have all necessary information about the project to be carried out (specific requirements, deadlines, budget, team, etc.);
  • Define a work schedule with clear deadlines for each project phase;
  • Identify who will be responsible for each activity;
  • Obtain the necessary approvals from supervisors and other stakeholders before commencing.

You can carry out all these activities in an intuitive and efficient manner using an ordinary maintenance software for your company or with a construction site problem-solving software if you need to create digital work orders in your site management. You have a centralized cloud platform to retrieve all project information, create tasks for each necessary activity, and assign responsibility to the designated person. This way, you can manage construction work orders efficiently and precisely.

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