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What are the Preconstruction activities of a Construction Project?

Last Updated on June 18, 2022 by Admin

This article will discuss a construction project’s preconstruction activities, phases, process flow-chart, and preconstruction documents. These are things that are, for the most part, done before the building is being constructed.

A lot of planning, data crunching, designing, and scheduling must occur before a construction project begins. Most of this planning takes place during the preconstruction stage, which can set the tone for the entire project.

Designers, contractors, and craftsmen need access to real-time project data to prevent these risks, improve project results, and reduce wasteful costs and schedule overruns.

Using BIM (Building Information Modeling) and cloud-based technologies for preconstruction tasks like bid management can assist teams in connecting the complicated web of specialists that turn a design into a fully realized structure.

Preconstruction refers to everything that happens after the design is finished but before the construction begins. This time between the completion of a design and the start of field construction is complicated and decides whether a project succeeds or fails.

It ultimately comes down to converting the architect’s concept into buildable drawings that contractors and construction teams can use.

What is Preconstruction?

Preconstruction services are planning and engineering services provided by construction businesses before starting a construction project. Defining the project, identifying potential issues, planning and scheduling, the scope, cost estimation, and analyzing the job’s demands are all part of the preconstruction planning step.

Quality pre-construction will assist a customer in determining whether or not they can complete the construction project. During the preconstruction phase, they may discover that the job is either too costly or impractical for the available space.

If both the contractor and the client agree that the work is viable, the contractor will give the client a cost and timeline for the construction job.

The preconstruction phase should provide a clear framework for the construction workers to follow throughout the project and educate the owner/client on what they will need to do to make their project functional and how much it will cost. This procedure allows the client to understand the project before committing to any work.



Preconstruction services come at a cost, which will depend on several factors, including:

  • Type of job
  • Location
  • Scope of project

If the client is dissatisfied with the contractor or the project isn’t possible due to cost or constructability, the client has the option to end the agreement before construction begins.

This is a far better (and much less expensive) choice than discovering after construction has already started that you are unhappy with the job, aren’t confident in the contractor’s abilities, or that the project’s scope is too enormous for the allocated space.

Preconstruction phase Activities

Before developing in the physical world, preconstruction teams execute projects in digital areas. The correct collaboration solutions become crucial; estimating, designing, and revising all happen simultaneously; thus, there are no strict phases to the project’s evolution.

The better teams can understand the project’s scope, the more jointly they can operate in the digital space: Estimates are more precise, contractors and trades trust their bids and schedules more, and modifications are easier to implement.

The entire process can be split down into a few different preconstruction workflows that take place at the same time.

1. Model Coordination

The structural security of a project is dependent on model coordination. This procedure is intended to ensure that models may be built, and it necessitates a vast collaborative effort involving contractors, tradespeople, and designers to coordinate all transdisciplinary models.

Teams use BIM software to interact and minimize disagreements, which helps them avoid costly mistakes later. Making changes to the model before building begins in the field is always far less expensive.

Model coordination is critical to a project’s structural safety. This approach involves a massive collaborative effort involving contractors, craftsmen, and designers to coordinate all transdisciplinary models to ensure that models can be produced.

Teams utilize BIM software to communicate and resolve conflicts, which helps them prevent costly mistakes in the future. It is always significantly less expensive to adjust the model before construction begins in the field.


2. Quantification

Estimators work on sheet drawings to determine the volume of materials needed for a project, from steel to wood to concrete, during a phase termed quantification, or quantity takeoff, which runs concurrently with model coordination.

Every coordinated and conditioned model must be transformed into quantities that can be sourced, delivered, and included in a standard construction schedule.

Most contractors quantify sheets, but the ability to take off models provides the highest precision. For estimators trying to speed up the quantification process without losing quality, combining 2D and 3D quantification in a single solution, such as Autodesk Takeoff, is becoming a game-changer.

3. Estimating

Estimators work together to determine expenses and pricing based on those numbers and other budget components like labor, equipment sourcing, and rentals. These data aid in the creation of a final budget.

4. Bidding

It’s easier for contractors to find the correct trade partners when they have estimates. Before arriving at final estimates, GCs may be required to bid out work. However, without effective bid-management software like Autodesk Building Connected, managing the bidding processes to validate final budgets and schedules is impossible.

Planning and bargaining are both included in the bidding process. To begin, competing firms submit bids (also known as tenders) for a specific project or component of a project.

They come up with their bid by producing a cost estimate based on historical data, existing project plans, and material takeoff. Quantity surveyors and building estimators generate a complete takeoff called a bill of quantities, including labor expenses.

Preconstruction services

Preconstruction services include much more than just cost estimates for a project. Initial client meetings, plans, timelines, research, value engineering, permitting, land acquisition, and more are included. Let’s examine numerous preconstruction services in more detail.



1. Initial meetings & regular follow-ups

The contractor or a representative from the design team will first meet with the client to discuss their goals. At this initial meeting, the contractor will learn the client’s project goals and budget. More meetings between the contractor and client will occur during the preconstruction phase to inform everyone of the project’s status and discuss any revisions.

The outcomes of what the team assembles through the other preconstruction services will be a large part of what will be discussed at these monthly sessions.

2. An overall evaluation of the project

A general project appraisal marks the beginning of the preconstruction phase. This will come out of the first meeting between the client and the contractor and is the project’s overall scope. The rest of the pre-construction services and the actual construction are built upon the results of this initial appraisal.

All persons expected to participate in the project will clearly understand the needs and expectations for the project at this point. The client and the contractor often create a final idea of the building’s design, including its scale and material.

Basic floor layouts emphasizing the production process will be made. It will be decided which design consultants and inspectors will also be hired along with other preconstruction services.



3. Creating an initial schematic design

Making a schematic design for the project is another preconstruction service that occasionally takes place during the initial review. The customer will now have their first glimpse of what the project might look like when it’s finished, but as this is just a preliminary schematic, they can still make suggestions as they progress toward a final design.

As clients frequently won’t award a proposal unless they have a clear vision for what the final product will look like, this approach might be essential to landing a bid for work.

4. Initial Budget Estimate

The budget for a building project is estimated based on several factors. These might cover the price of supplies, equipment, vendors, and more.

The contractor will probably give many estimates, and the client will discuss different choices. Any budget estimate should always be compared to the project budget.

The contractor will also need to calculate the cost of any potential problems and assess any chances for possible cost reductions. A significant advantage of the preconstruction phase is the discovery of cost-effective alternatives.



5. Selecting Materials and Equipment

Another preconstruction service is the selection of materials and equipment for the project. This begins with the building systems employed and the equipment needed to operate those systems.

The materials may provide cost savings, and the contractor will assess whether LEED or sustainable design and construction choices are available.

Sustainable construction has been increasingly popular in recent years, and most construction companies know that their clients are seeking ways to make their projects more “green.”

6. Value Engineering

The contractor will attempt to establish whether the extent of the work will fit within the client’s budget during this preconstruction service. Based on previous experience with projects of comparable magnitude, the contractor will look for further areas where cost savings might be made. They’ll predict the life-cycle cost analysis of certain materials used on the task and offer alternatives.

7. Site Analysis

The contractor will go to the construction site and assess the project’s viability. This means they’ll determine if the location is a good fit for the project’s requirements. They will try to anticipate any future challenges and costs that may arise.

The contractor accomplishes this by developing a comprehensive site master plan that includes parking, traffic flow, and landscaping. The contractor will investigate the current infrastructure, capacity, and suggested routing and placement.

They’ll also look at the soil to see if the location has a good foundation. All of this plays a role in determining whether or not the location is acceptable for the project.



8. Thorough Review of Design Documents

What was the name of the schematic you made earlier? It’s merely the most rudimentary of rough draughts.

Your contractor will scrutinize this bundle of documents to ensure that it accurately matches the client’s request. Every aspect and oversight must be evaluated to avoid costly contingencies during the bidding phase.

Materials must be assessed, existing processes and product distribution must be reassessed, and areas of concern will be targeted, among other things. The project will not move forward unless the entire team has agreed that they have evaluated everything and acquired the opinions of everyone involved.

9. Set a Preliminary Schedule

Creating an initial timetable is an important aspect of preconstruction knowledge. This rough timeline will identify essential milestones and schedule everything in the project from beginning to end. This will aid in the organization of the project and provide a clear framework for how it will be completed.

All design and construction operations will have specific start and completion dates and approval milestones. The project sequencing plan will be developed, and input from subcontractors and clients will be sought to arrive at a final timeline acceptable to all parties. This will be the starting point for the entire project’s execution.

10. Establishing a Final Budget

The customer will most likely bring a budget to the preconstruction meeting, but it will require some thought to arrive at the actual project budget. The contractor’s cost-control procedures will significantly impact how the budget is made.

Before finalizing the project design, the contractor will review the scope and cost to determine if there are more areas where they can save money.

This could be done using cost models and conceptual estimating, as well as collecting subcontractor feedback to determine if market circumstances have changed, managing cash flow, and working through the rest of the preconstruction checklist to arrive at a final budget.




11. Procurement Management

At this point, long-lead items will be evaluated. When acquiring specific supplies, it’s easy to ignore lead periods, which might cause unnecessary delays during a project.

Long-lead items are required to keep the project on track but take a long time to arrive. There will be no delays caused by waiting for items during the construction process if you prepare ahead for the lead time.

12. Bid Packaging

Now is the time to submit bids for all the work required for the project. While other construction companies can bid, the contractor that produced the preconstruction plan will have an advantage because they can close loopholes and thoroughly understand the process.

There will usually be a few qualifying bids, and a thorough investigation will be conducted to provide a baseline for comparison. This review process should include the owner and architect’s input and consider subcontracts. Once a bid is secured, the complete scope of work will be analyzed, and a final timetable will be prepared.

13. Safety Considerations

Lastly, safety should always be a priority in preconstruction services. Everyone on site must be kept safe and follow local, state, and federal rules. To ensure that all workers are safe, each worker and scenario must be reviewed.

Because this task will have unique scenarios that no blanket safety procedure can handle, a safety plan tailored to this project should be developed. This also applies to subcontractors and site visitors.

Related Posts:

Preconstruction checklist

The following should be on your preconstruction checklist:

  • Preconstruction meeting: A meeting to discuss the construction process
  • Creating and designing the project itself
  • A rough budget with suggestions for cost-cutting
  • Determining the project’s scope
  • Identifying, avoiding, and anticipating potential issues
  • The scope of the project and the viability of the location
  • Tests on the environment
  • Assessing the value of utilities
  • Identifying the necessary tools and equipment for the job
  • Outlining all parties’ communication and contingencies




Preconstruction process flowchart

Following flowchart shows the typical Preconstruction process:



Preconstruction manager and team

The client recruits the critical members of the team, which includes the following:

  • The Owner’s Representative
  • Project Manager
  • Real Estate Attorney
  • Insurance Provider
  • Real Estate Consultant
  • Architectural Team
  • General Contractor/Construction Company
  • Financing Partners

The client discusses potential conflicts of interest with its counsel and which members of the Project Team are operating in a fiduciary position and acting in an arms-length commercial capacity.




Preconstruction, also known as the design phase, provides owners with a complete grasp of the project’s cost, scope, and timetable.

The preconstruction phase is critical to the overall building project’s success. Before a single nail is driven or a single brick is built, this phase will frequently determine the project’s success. Once you’ve started the preconstruction phase, you’ll want to get to know the preconstruction manager.

Preconstruction managers oversee the preconstruction process. It is their responsibility to:

  • Gain a thorough understanding of the project
  • Assemble a team to complete the task.
  • Make a plan and stick to it.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of the owner’s business objectives and align the project accordingly.

As the project progresses through the design stages, the construction company’s role in preconstruction becomes increasingly more apparent.

The construction partner will identify potential subcontractors with the expertise and capacity to execute work on the project and communicate with them to confirm their interest and availability to correctly develop bid packages for the various portions of the job.

When it comes time to bid out the work, there is a ready pool of subcontractors that are familiar with the project, know what to expect from the general contractor, construction manager, or design-build contractor, and have scheduled time to quote the job correctly.




Benefits of Preconstruction

Project owners and contractors reap several benefits as one of the most crucial stages of a project. Preconstruction is all about doing things right from the start, so enhancing the process increases project efficiency, prevents problems, keeps teams on track, and keeps projects within budget.

Preconstruction has numerous advantages for both clients and contractors. The following are some of the most significant advantages of preconstruction:

  • For the client, there are fewer unknown variables.
  • They paint a clear image of how the project will be completed and what it will look like.
  • The work’s completion date can be estimated.
  • It allows the contractor to communicate prospective cost-cutting ideas to the client.

The client can believe that the contractor they’re working with knows what they’re doing because all probable circumstances are evaluated up front. Having reasonable expectations will help you prevent problems as the project progresses. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.




Final thought

The services given during preconstruction can differ depending on several factors. Those considerations include, among others, the type of job the client wants to do, the project’s location, and the scope and scale of the job. You’ll need to prepare thoroughly and effectively throughout the preconstruction phase for your project to run smoothly.

Contractors and owners can use preconstruction services to examine the entire project and design a plan to see it through to completion: the post-construction phase. The decisions taken during this first planning stage will significantly impact the rest of the job. This is a significant cost-cutting potential that will improve the efficiency of a construction project.




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