Preconstruction is the phase of a project in which the client and the contractor work together to define the scope, schedule and cost of the entire venture. This initial phase of the project serves to lay out the entire scope and schedule of the project for the construction team as well as the client. Good pre construction will help a client decide if they can follow through with the construction project. They may find during this pre construction phase that the work is either too expensive, or not feasible for the space they have. If the contractor and client agree work to be done is viable, the contractor will then provide the client with a cost and schedule for the construction project. The pre-construction process is vital to the success of the entire construction project, its also sometimes referred to as the design phase. To avoid these catastrophes, construction firms are focusing more and more on impactful preconstruction practices in order to clearly define these details before breaking ground. In this post, we’re going to give you the information you need for meticulous planning that will herd off problems before they turn a smooth-running project into a nightmare. Here are five strategies to help Engineers with their pre-construction game:
- Continuous Planning Habit– Anything can happen at a construction site, if you encounter unexpected environmental problems during the pre-construction phase, the design may need to change. Even slight adjustments can affect the overall plan and timeline. If you’re not passionate about planning, you’re essentially planning to fail as a construction Engineer. Planning involves not only preparing and following a construction program or schedule but also knowing how each and every step taken today will impact the outcome of the project tomorrow and even years from now. Engineers are advised to start planning long before actual construction begins, and continue revising and developing plans until the project ends. The design, pre-construction, and procurement stages of a construction project each require extensive planning and each may need to be revised as the next stage unfolds.
- Create a Flow of Communication- Everyone wants the client to be happy. This is possible only if everyone is held accountable for hitting clearly defined goals and deadlines. It is essential that a preconstruction team set clear objectives for the project’s design, and realistic goals for delivery with the general contractor. Communication is essential to every phase of any construction project. Establish a flow of communication with everyone on the ground — and every stakeholder and supplier in the plan. This transparency will make the process smoother. One of the simplest ways to create a flow of communication is a work execution platform. By syncing comments, photos, documents, and calendars in a single location, you can monitor updates, budgets, and scheduling changes as they occur and this allows you to relay these changes to other managers and accounting offices in real time through instant alerts, automated actions, and easy-to-visualize dashboards, providing a nearly email-free and paperless process with even more time to spend on your construction site.
- Building Information Modelling (BIM)- Information technology is playing an increasingly critical role in project management in an effort to overcome the flaws in the construction industry. These flaws include budget deficits, broken communication, data inefficiency and project delays. One tool more preconstruction teams are using is building information modeling (BIM) to achieve their goals. BIM was initially used in the design phases of a project. But now, advances in software programs allow for much more detailed information to be built directly into the building’s model. Some of that data includes critical information such as equipment loads, the impact of transportation and other factors on the jobsite, budgets, schedules and any regional costs or requirements that affect the project. All of the information available in BIM allows for better advanced planning. It also means that various parties responsible for the completion of a project, from architects to engineers to subcontractors, can and should get involved in the planning at an earlier stage2. Doing so helps head off unforeseen problems.
- Budget Forecasting- During the pre-construction phase, the contractor must look into the existing conditions of the space or construction site and figure out what needs to be done for the project then a preliminary construction budget will be drafted based on of the proposed design and engineering assessment. Inflation makes budget forecasting difficult, especially since it tends to run several percentage points higher in the construction sector than in the economy at large, and this is where “Cost Index” comes in. With a cost index, a subcontractor is not being handed a blank check. Instead, subcontractors must quote the price of their materials when bidding a project. When the materials are eventually purchased, the contractor compares the actual cost to the cost index. Either way, a cost index helps to track these price increases so they do not come as a surprise during construction.
- Define an Initial Schedule- The preliminary schedule serves more as a guide to show the client when certain aspects of the job will begin and end. This will be fine-tuned as final decisions for the project are made, but it gives the client a better idea of the timeline for construction. To create realistic schedules, a preconstruction team needs to work with everyone involved in the project– including designers, engineers, subcontractors, vendors and supporting staff. This step does not simply cover scheduling the construction activities, but includes everything else such as acquiring permits in order to set realistic timelines for completing all phases of a project.
Key Benefits of Pre-Construction Planning Services
- The pre-construction process will define the scope, scheduling, and other factors that will help create a clear and concise plan that is easy for everyone involved in the project to follow.
- It locates the potential risks and issues in the beginning by addressing concerns such as permit requirements, site evaluation, building material and equipment requirements, and scheduling.
- The preconstruction process provides all the information that is required to determine the feasibility of your project. It helps examine the possibilities and alternatives of an idea.
- This helps investors plan and secure the funds required for the successful completion of the project. Identifying shortage in funds at the preliminary stage provides the opportunity to make necessary changes and adjustments in the project without wasting time and resources.