Preconstruction phase in construction

Written by LetsBuild

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There are numerous steps with the construction process, but the very first one is called the preconstruction phase.  This is when all the planning and coordination is completed prior to the start of the actual construction.  During this stage, the scope of the work will be determined, the budget will be set, and the materials will be decided upon.  Of course, there are many other things that go into this step of the construction process.

The preconstruction phase

The preconstruction phase can take quite some time, as there are many questions that need answers and many items that need changes that need to be approved.  The first thing that everyone must do during the preconstruction phase is to review any and all the architectural designs and blueprints.  Once the drawings are reviewed, questions are often asked, and necessary changes are made.  This normally takes some time, as once a few changes are made, other items may pop up that need a few tweaks as well.

Once the majority of the changes are made, it will be time to set the schedule for the work that needs to be completed.  This is a lengthy procedure as well because every task needs to have a completion date.  During the preconstruction phase, numerous meetings will be necessary to discuss the implementation of milestones, as well as the more important completion dates.  There is always going to be one person who thinks that the entire project is behind schedule, so these dates will allow them to see that everything is moving along according to the plan.  Of course, it will also be necessary to have meetings throughout the project, so that actual delays can be discussed, and smalls changes can be made to certain deadlines due to those delays.

It is quite necessary for budgets to be put into place during the preconstruction phase, since that is when all materials are being discussed and decided upon.  If the budget is not in place, someone may decide that they can go all out on materials, only to find out that they can’t afford most of them once they do find out what the budget is.  That wastes time and money, which is never a good thing.

The budget is something that everyone involved in the project needs to pay attention to, even in the middle of the project, because even small changes can create havoc on an already strict budget.  If changes are threatening to derail a budget, someone needs to step in with ways to rein it in, so that everything doesn’t go over cost-wise.
For those who need a slightly more detailed list of exactly what takes place during the preconstruction phase, here is a list, in no particular order, of the majority of the items:

  • Execution plan
  • Procurement plan
  • Engineering
  • Project scope
  • Evaluations that are specified by the clients
  • The basis of the design
  • Risk analysis
  • The entire integrated project schedule
  • The cash curve
  • Utility requirements and diagrams
  • The review of constructability on the site
  • The list of equipment that will be used throughout the project – this may include other options like potential cost-saving measures
  • General arrangements
  • The city and county requirements
  • The site plan, as well as the site evaluation
  • Evaluating decisions that need to be made for expansions or a new facility
  • All suggestions available on how to save money or speed up the construction process
  • Analyze the costs for materials and other products
  • Electrical information
  • Piping and instrumentation diagrams
  • Decisions on whether to use raw materials or purchase materials from a supplier

While there are many different issues that can be caught during the preconstruction phase, these are the ones that construction companies benefit from finding and resolving the most:

  • The feasibility of the project
  • The selection of the site for the project and the requirements that are needed
  • The selection of the equipment that will be needed
  • Creating schedules that avoid any and all obstacles
  • Evaluate the condition of the soil
  • Evaluate the utilities that are in place, as well as those that will be needed
  • Identify the requirements of permits and resolve any issues with them early in the process

While the preconstruction phase can be a lot of work, it actually only covers up to three percent of the total overall cost of the entire construction project.  That may not seem like a lot of money for what can take anywhere from two weeks to twelve weeks of work to complete, and the value of the work that is completed. However, all construction companies do feel that they make enough during this time to make it worth their while.  Especially if the rest of the work during the construction project goes smoothly and they can finish everything on time or even early.