You can read following text on SCons homepage:
SCons is an Open Source software construction tool—that is, a next-generation build tool. Think of SCons as an improved, cross-platform substitute for the classic Make utility with integrated functionality similar to autoconf/automake and compiler caches such as ccache. In short, SCons is an easier, more reliable and faster way to build software.
Then they list tons of features. But why the hell it does not support DESTDIR like functionality out of the box? While googling for this I found that most projects add the same code to handle this feature that will be used by almost every Linux distribution. I think such feature should be built in into next-generation build tool.
PS: If you're asking what would I use, it is simple - for Python just use distutils, they do what you need, for rest I can recommend CMake.
PS2: I just need to express my disappointment after packaging pyexiv2 which uses scons.