The preconstruction phase is critical to a project’s success. It is during this phase that the project team gets organized, aligned in their vision and where the foundation of project communication and process is laid. Without a strong foundation, a construction project can quickly become disorderly, leading to gaps in communication, holes in process and potential schedule delays.
- Establish project priorities– It is important for the entire project team to understand the goals and priorities of the owner’s project. Make sure that this is clearly defined and communicated to all members of the team. During this time, review drawings and evaluate the project from start to finish. Discuss any questions or concerns that come up. Taking the time to understand the owner’s goals will give the project team the right perspective for document review. Are there any flaws in the design that will not suit the owner’s need? Are there any issues with placement? Were any items missed? Talking this through these issues before construction helps to mitigate surprises during construction.
- Establish scope of work- Preconstruction is the time to thoroughly define the project’s scope of work. This includes preparing and submitting planning drawings, procuring specialty consultants, choosing building materials, reviewing all contracts, etc. Discuss which responsibilities are that of the contractor, of the owner, the architect, etc. Going through this work will also help to determine a firm cost and schedule for the project.
- Create budget and schedule- With the right preconstruction planning, you can avoid many budget and schedule issues. Preconstruction meetings should determine, tasks, milestones, completion dates and any other activity that might put a project behind schedule. Check-in dates and milestones help to communicate to all parties how to keep the schedule on task. Have the entire team review the project budget during preconstruction. This will help all parties know how their portion of the project impacts the project at large.
Don’t rush through the preconstruction phase. Take the time that your project and your team need to establish priorities, clearly define the project scope and to create a detailed project schedule and budget so that everyone enters the construction phase on the same page, working towards the same goal.