Work as a Noun

The English word 'WORK' is the single most important word in the design and construction business.  Let's explore why.

In an earlier mini-lesson, we talked about the word 'WORK' as a verb.

In this mini-lesson, we will learn a little bit about the word 'WORK' used as a noun on projects.


Work Collocations

Work is a legal term used in contract documents. It's also used to describe many different specific parts of a construction project.

Here are some common VERBS that are used with the noun work.  These are strong collocations. That means that these combinations are very common and useful.

They collocate like this:  'VERB '+ WORK.

1 . perform work

2 . coordinate work

3 . begin work

4 . complete work

5 . include work

6 . exclude work

7 . schedule work

8 . install work

Subcontractors performed the work on schedule.

A tower crane helps the contractor do their work more efficiently.

The subcontractors must coordinate their work to avoid conflicts.

After receiving a notice to proceed from the owner, the contractor began work.

The general contractor must complete their workon budget.

The contract documents include storm sewer work in the street.

The contractor's bid excludes work performed by the owner.

The project manager scheduled the foundation workfor next week.

The plumbing sub installed their work before the electrical sub.

Scope of Work

Different people perform different work on a construction project.

This separate piece of work is called a scope of work.


from modern Latin -scopium, from Greek skopein ‘look at’.

Scope means to "see" or "look at."  In construction, the meaning is similar.

Something can be inside or outside a scope of work; or is something you can see or cannot see in a contract document.

scope of work

Defining Scope

Contract documents define the scope of work for everyone on the project. The scope of work is the specific part(s) of a project that firms need to work on, or what they are responsible for. Contracts include some work (inside the scope of work) and exclude other work (outside the scope of work).

The word 'work' is often used together with other words to generally discuss the different scopes of work on a project. These are noun-noun collocations.

Work can be defined according to trade, discipline or specialty:

Electrical work
Utility work
Mechanical work
Demolition work
Civil work
MEP work
Structural work

Work can be generally discussed according to material:

Concrete work
Wood work
Sheet metal work
Masonry work

Another way to categorize work is by location:

interior work
underground work
exterior work
site work

And the word 'work' can work as an adjective. Here are some expressions that are used to describe a project process.

Work progress
Work load
Work flow
Work day
Work hours

Here are the other important key words and expressions from the lesson:

  • Be responsible for (something)
  • Include
  • Exclude
  • Specific
  • perform
  • coordinate
  • begin
  • complete
  • include
  • exclude
  • schedule
  • install

Test your knowledge

Multiple choice: choose the best answer.

1. The owner made a change.  The contractor needs to provide more concrete and steel.

These materials are ________________ the scope of work.

A. performed

B. inside

C. outside

D. complete

E. install


C. outside

Additional materials or work that isn’t in the contract is outside the scope of work in the contract.


2. Contract documents (drawings and specifications)  ________________ the scope of work of a project.

A. coordinate

B. schedule

C. install

D. define

E. provide


D. define

The scope of work is defined by the contract documents.  Define means to make clear or establish.


3. Plumbing and piping is usually  ________________ from an electrical contractor's scope of work.

A. performed

B. inside

C. outside

D. excluded

E. installed


D. excluded

Excluded from =  omitted or not included in. Electricians don’t perform plumbing work. Outside might be correct if it read “Outside of __.”  However, “outside from” is not a correct collocation.


4. If a consultant or contractor is responsible for something, it means that it is ____________ their scope of work.

A. inside

B. within

C. included in

D. part of

E. all of the above


E. all of the above

inside, within, included in, part of are all expressions that mean ‘inside’ and are used when defining a scope of work.


5. Which verb does NOT collocate with work?

A. perform

B. run

C. define

D. install

E. exclude


B. run

Run work doesn’t collocate well with ‘work’ as a noun. Managers can run projects or run meetings.   In this case, run means to manage or execute.


6. Schedule is a noun.  Contractors make a schedule. Schedule is also a verb.  To schedule something most closely means:

A. write a calendar for a project

B. perform a scope of work

C. define a scope of work

D. set a specific time to perform work

E. coordinate the specific scopes of work


D. set a specific time to perform work

To schedule something means to put it on the calendar.  Contractors schedule concrete pours or deliveries of materials.  Managers schedule meetings.


7. The subcontractors and consultants have different scopes of work.  It's important that they  ________________ their work to ensure the project is completed successfully.

A. coordinate

B. schedule

C. install

D. define

E. provide


A. coordinate

Work between consultants and subcontractors must be coordinated.  Coordination is necessary to ensure there are no conflicts that will affect (change) other’s work.




Good job!  Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. 

Also- be sure to check out the other mini-lesson about the word 'work' as a verb.  It's really helpful and will help you understand more about this important word.

All for now- I must get back to work!

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