Before you start construction, you’ll need to have a detailed and sound plan. In other words, you’ll need to know who will be in charge of the project, how much it will cost, and how your vision will materialize. This information must be formed and made available during the preconstruction phase.
There are several construction phases, and the first is the preconstruction phase. After the preconstruction phase, you will proceed to the construction and close-out phases. The preconstruction phase is the first stage in which you work towards turning a blueprint into a reality. One way to visualize a project plan is to create a timeline or Gantt chart of your project schedule.
After you have created your vision on a 3D model, you can go ahead and invite contractors to bid for the project. Once you have selected a company, you can then start construction work. If everything goes as planned, the contractor should be able to hand the project over to you within the stipulated time frame.
The manager and other key players can use modern technology platforms like ALICE for preconstruction. This technology can simulate how the project can be implemented while reducing risk. You can also use it to bid, win lucrative contracts, and reduce project duration time.
During the preconstruction stage, preconstruction managers are responsible for implementing important tasks. It’s better for preconstruction managers to use technology to ensure everything goes according to plan.
What is a preconstruction manager?
Construction projects involve many people and numerous moving parts. Knowing what is needed and how to bring these people together can become challenging for a project owner. For this reason, project owners should work with a preconstruction manager.
A preconstruction manager has the following duties:
- Creating a work schedule
- Recruiting important vital players, such as architects and engineers
- Understanding project goals and creating an implementation plan
- Helping the owner create bid documents
Once you have hired a preconstruction manager, work together to ensure that all elements of the preconstruction phase are met.
Benefits of preconstruction
So why is preconstruction important?
One main benefit of preconstruction is that the project owner can better understand their vision. In most cases, the project owner wants a commercial structure built without knowing how the final product will look or function.
During preconstruction, the project owner will correspond with architects and engineers to create a model representation of the structure. This will give the project owner clarity, allowing them to visualize the project more realistically. The architect can also enhance visualization by presenting the plan to the project owner using technology.
Also, it is important to note that preconstruction helps property owners troubleshoot problems, such as lack of permits and soil regulations. This is because you can identify and apply for permits before construction begins.
5 strategies to master the preconstruction phase of a project
So which strategies should you use to master the preconstruction phase?
1. Always start with a preconstruction meeting
A preconstruction meeting is crucial because it is a project owner’s first contact with a general contractor. At this meeting, the project owner will brief the general contractor about the project and what it should achieve. Once the general contractor understands the project, they will determine its feasibility and, once verified, recruit an execution team.
The execution team should include architects, engineers, and subcontractors. Members should regularly meet to mitigate the risk of clashes.
2. Use technology to your advantage
During the preconstruction phase, unknowns need to be identified to avoid significant change orders during construction.
Cost estimators should use modern technology instead of Excel spreadsheets for accounting purposes. Excel is prone to manipulation and errors. Additionally, contractors can use BIM technology to create realistic digital representations of the structure they are planning to build.
Another importance of BIM is that it runs on cloud computing, meaning contractors can collaborate in real time.
3. Use unit cost pricing
If you are building a linear project that is easily quantifiable, then the best pricing strategy would be to use unit cost pricing. As a contractor, unit cost pricing removes the risk of inaccurate estimates, reducing the risk of over or underestimation. Also, this pricing strategy ensures that material costs are as transparent as possible.
4. Have a comprehensive construction schedule
The first step to creating a comprehensive plan is to get a construction and scheduling tool. Once you have this tool, you will need to correspond with all stakeholders to determine the number of resources required for each construction stage.
It is crucial to have your team ready before creating a schedule. Every construction stage will need to be assigned a team and resources. Once you have prioritized tasks, allot a duration to those tasks. When adding a timeframe, remember that the project might be affected by external factors, such as weather and national holidays.
5. Identify required materials and plan for their procurement
A construction project cannot proceed without the required building materials. During the preconstruction phase, identify the materials and equipment you will need. Once you identify these two elements, plan how they will be bought or leased. You should avoid trying to purchase all materials at once, because they may be stolen.
Instead, have a timeline of when they will be needed and have arrangements with the supplier to ensure they are delivered two days before their use. In the case of leased equipment, you should only hire them on a need-be basis. Otherwise, you will spend money on idle equipment.
In conclusion, it is important for the project owner to master the preconstruction phase. This will make it easy to implement the envisioned project and identify risks before they affect the project.