Preconstruction services are preliminary planning and engineering services offered by our experts before a construction job even begins. This pre-construction planning stage involves defining the project, identifying potential issues, planning and scheduling, the scope, cost estimation, and analysis of the job’s needs.
What is the importance of pre-construction? Quality pre-construction will help a client decide if they can follow through with the construction project. During this pre-construction phase, they may find that the work is either too expensive or not feasible for the space they have.
If the contractor and client agree that work is viable, the contractor will then provide the client with a cost and schedule for the construction project.
The pre-construction phase should give the construction team a clear outline to follow during the job and educate the owner/client on what they will need to do to make their project functional and expect it to cost. This process helps the client better understand the project before they even commit to any work being done.
Pre-construction services come at a cost, which will depend on several factors, including:
Type of job
Scope of project
If the client is unsatisfied with the service or isn’t feasible for the client because of cost or constructibility, the client can terminate the relationship before construction begins.
The contractor will then put together a preliminary construction budget based on their design and engineering assessment. But how does the contractor come up with a number?
Beyond materials needed and whether or not the components listed in the step above are required, they will also factor in the budgets used for comparable projects. While this estimate will be another vital part of the process, it’s important to note that the cost estimation is not necessarily a bid.
The bid document will be prepared later after other parts of the pre-construction phase are complete, as other elements, such as the final design, will help create a more accurate bid. Here, the contractor is mainly looking to get a close ballpark to the actual price so the client can see if the project will be feasible.
FORMING A RESPONSIBILITY MATRIX
The responsibility matrix is used in pre-construction to identify deliverables by all parties involved and will specifically outline:
Who is responsible for what
Who is providing what item
Who will be handling the installation
Since when the project is underway, the client, contractor, and building owner may all have a part to play, this responsibility matrix will keep all parties involved on the same plan and give a clear outline on who has signed up for what.
Clear communication will ensure that the construction project flows smoothly and is done correctly, on time, and on budget.
DEFINE AN INITIAL SCHEDULE
Now that most of the project scope has been laid out, it’s time to formulate a schedule. The preliminary schedule serves more as a guide to show the client when certain aspects of the job will begin and end. As final decisions for the project are made, this will be fine-tuned, but it gives the client a better idea of the construction timeline. The contractor will estimate the number of days it will take to complete each task and provide a rough idea of how long it will take to complete the project.
GUIDANCE & LEADERSHIP
Pre-construction services involve more than just documents that the general contractor provides to the client. The contractor also will need to guide their client through every step of the process and educate them on what is going on.
The contractor should talk to the client about their options and give them recommendations and what the contractor thinks will be best for their budget or meet their goals.
The ongoing consultations should help the client feel more comfortable about the construction process and ultimately help the contractor win the bid based on their familiarity. Not only will it give the client peace of mind, but it will also save time during the construction phase.
Despite the initial investment, pre-construction also saves money on construction projects because of the value it provides. Good pre-construction allows for value engineering and helps prevent arising issues, each of which can be too costly on a construction project.
Good contractors can provide this guidance because they are the leaders of the project. They lean heavily on their expertise to anticipate potential issues and provide solutions to any of these problems. They will effectively coordinate efforts between the owner, client, architect, and contractor and manage any subcontractors needed for the project.
The contractor should have vast knowledge of all legal issues, permits, and building codes involved so the project stays straight and narrow. They will also be mindful of controlling cost and assessing risk throughout the pre-construction and construction process.
Here are some of the items you can expect to cover during the pre-construction phase:
Initial meeting to discuss the project
Planning the design
Estimating costs and offering cost-saving options
Managing project scope
Identifying potential issues & outlining solutions
Determine any options for value engineering
Site selection and study feasibility
Evaluating soil condition on site
Checking existing utilities
Determining equipment required
Check for green building options and viability
Outlining contingencies for both client and contractor
EXPECTED OUTCOMES OF PRE-CONSTRUCTION
The primary outcomes of pre-construction provide include:
Estimated cost of the project
Having all of these elements accurately outlined gives the client the necessary expectations going into construction.
The process also helps to make sure the project is feasible, reducing the chances of encountering issues along the way.
A post-construction phase commonly occurs as a precaution, ensuring issues are taken care of after the pre-construction and construction phases.
BENEFITS OF PRE-CONSTRUCTION
Pre-construction offers many benefits to both the clients and contractors. The top benefits of pre-construction include:
Removal of many unknown variables for the client
They provide a clear picture of what the project will look like and how it will get done
The completion date for the work can be assessed
It provides the contractor the opportunity to present potential options for cost savings, which benefit the client.
Evaluating all possible scenarios, upfront gives the client confidence that the contractor they are working with knows what they are doing. Having realistic expectations helps avoid issues while the project is underway. It’s a real win-win for everyone involved.