Preconstruction 101: Everything You Need to Know

Preconstruction 101: Everything You Need to Know

Preconstruction involves stakeholders defining expectations, determining the project’s scope of work, and creating a timeline for the entire project. A successful project must start with careful, thorough planning during the preconstruction stage. This all helps to prevent major issues from developing. How thorough each participant is during preconstruction determines how smoothly the project runs. Thus, affecting the probability that it is complete on schedule and within budget. Using ALICE when in the preconstruction phase can ensure project success. With ALICE, you can explore different potential ways to build a project, reducing risk and saving on labor and equipment costs.

Here’s what you need to know about preconstruction and how it works.

The initial preconstruction meeting

The first step in the preconstruction process is an initial meeting between a client and a general contractor. The intention of this meeting is for the two to gain a better understanding of one another’s expectations. The general contractor will learn about the requirements and preferences of the client. They will lay out the objectives, and the general contractor has the opportunity to address any concerns the client may have.

Usually, the team determines the project's effectiveness at this first meeting and the ones following. A cohesive team of workers aware of their responsibilities and how they fit into the project will boost the chances of project success. A preconstruction meeting facilitates the establishment of obligations and rights for the entire project.

The design and cost estimation phase

The design and cost estimation phase primarily involves architects and engineers. Architects may give owners a variety of design options to choose from in the form of sketches and preliminary budgets. The owner then chooses the final design, and the contractor creates a rough budget using the design and engineering evaluation. The contractor will take into account budgets from previous comparable projects, in addition to the materials and whether or not certain elements are necessary. To determine what has to be done for the project, the contractor must assess construction site conditions.

Scheduling project supplies

A project schedule can be compiled based on the proper arrangement of supplies with lengthy lead times. The contractor must list all the tools and supplies for the task during preconstruction. They must pay close attention to anything that requires advance ordering and how to acquire them. To ensure efficient delivery and staging of all supplies, procurement timetables should be integrated into the construction timeline.

The construction documentation phase

Architects prepare any permits, drawings, and technical specifications for the bid phase. To ensure that the rest of the project is successful, thoroughness and attention to detail are crucial during this period. Effective teamwork during this stage can cut down on time-consuming revisions later on in the project. Thus, helping it stay within budget. The general contractor or project manager will submit any paperwork to relevant authorities and obtain the necessary permissions to carry out the project.

The bidding phase

The bidding phase involves gathering quotes from various contractors in each trade necessary for the project. The general contractor performs their own estimations for each trade. Often, they have a basic concept of what a fair bid is. Following this, they evaluate the bids from subcontractors on pricing, experience, reputation, specialty, and other criteria. Following the selection of subcontractors, they create and sign contracts, then subject to the timetable set forth, actual work can start.

Assigning responsibilities

This subphase of assigning people particular responsibilities will precisely specify deliverables, to be identified and acknowledged by all parties. Questions like who is in charge of what, who is supplying what, and who will be executing installation should be resolved. This duty-assigning subphase will ensure that all parties are on the same page. Thus, have a clear overview of who is doing what once the project is underway. After all, the client, contractor, and building owner all have a role to play. Clear communication is key here.


To finish the project on time, construction must proceed according to the predetermined schedule, though delays are all too common. Scheduling is a crucial component of preconstruction planning. This is because it provides project teams with a framework for identifying fast-tracking opportunities. It also helps with identifying and addressing potential equipment and material procurement challenges. These could be due to seasonal issues or supply-chain issues, thus helping to uphold a time-sensitive design process.

Value engineering

Value engineering is a process that occurs during the course of preconstruction. It aims to give the owner the best value proposition. This happens by consistently seeking design, material, equipment, and schedule improvements throughout the preconstruction phase.  This approach to optimize the foundational phase of the construction project can lower both short-term and long-term operational costs without sacrificing critical goals.

The preconstruction phase is crucial to project success

Giving utmost importance to the preconstruction phase typically pays massive dividends. Preconstruction, despite the initial expense, helps building projects save money and time. A successful preconstruction phase means the prevention of costly issues that may have potentially arisen.

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