What is pre-construction, exactly? The answer is more straightforward than you might expect. The pre-construction phase occurs before breaking ground at a construction site. During pre-construction, contracts, business leaders, and decision-makers will conduct a final project assessment to ensure it progresses smoothly.
While the basic definition of pre-construction may be simple, pre-construction management can be daunting. The good news is you can streamline this process by leveraging third-party pre-construction services.
To help you do so, we’ve outlined the basics of pre-construction services so you can better understand how they can help you complete your construction projects on time and within your budget.
What Does Preconstruction Mean?
Pre-construction is the last stage of project planning that occurs before the start of any actual construction.
The planning team will strictly follow a pre-construction activities list when providing pre-construction services. This checklist ensures that the pre-construction services provider performs all necessary inspections and evaluations to determine that a project is viable.
Pre-construction services set the stage for successful project completion. Without them, your project is far more likely to run into unexpected issues that delay completion and decimate your budget.
Pre-construction services are inarguably a critical part of project planning. Investing in these services can protect yourself and your investors, increase overall project viability, and detect any potential issues before construction gets underway.
Examples of Preconstruction Services
The specific pre-construction services your firm will provide will vary based on the scope of your project. However, some services are essential to every project. These include:
- Cost estimation
- Condition analysis
- Building information modeling (BIM)
- Constructability analysis
- Bid packaging
- Cash flow analysis
- Risk mitigation
Let’s dive deeper into each of these services to ensure you understand what they are and how they benefit various projects.
There are dozens of variables that will impact your commercial construction project costs. It, therefore, is essential for your pre-construction services team to include a knowledgeable estimator.
The estimator will carefully examine every project facet, including labor, materials, permitting, and other considerations. They’ll use this information to compile a detailed cost estimate.
Coordinating a construction project is a big undertaking. Your pre-construction services provider must carefully schedule every contractor, material delivery, funding release, meeting, and inspection.
A skilled pre-construction services firm will efficiently schedule all of these tasks by breaking the project down into manageable milestones and take responsibility for adjusting these schedules in the event of unexpected delays.
Scheduling and logistics coordination go hand-in-hand. During pre-construction scheduling, your firm will arrange all deliveries, jobs, and meetings. They’ll then ensure that all of these appointments and tasks are accomplished on schedule without negatively impacting subcontractors’ ability to perform their assigned projects.
When people hear the term “procurement,” they immediately think of material acquisition. While sourcing materials is undoubtedly a procurement component, it also entails comparing market prices, working with multiple supply chains, and sourcing materials that meet project demands.
Adding onto or renovating an existing structure allows businesses to decrease overall construction costs while simultaneously condensing the project completion timetable. However, renovating an aging system can involve hidden costs that could quickly push a project over budget or result in unforeseen setbacks.
Fortunately, your organization can minimize its risk of encountering significant surprises by partnering with a pre-construction services provider performing condition analyses.
A condition analysis will reveal if any existing condition affects structure usability, integrity, or functionality. The information will help project planners integrate new building systems and materials into the existing structure.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Building information modeling (BIM) is the process of creating an extremely detailed 3D model of a structure before the start of construction. This model allows decision-makers to visualize the design and provide detailed information about the dimensions and location of every building system, room, entranceway, and other integral areas.
Project planners can use this data to schedule subcontractors, prefabricate materials, and decrease overall build costs.
BIM technology also enables project planners to get a glimpse into the future. The advanced model will provide insights about an asset’s overall lifecycle that you can take into account to alter design decisions and maximize the projected lifespan of a built asset.
A constructability analysis is one of the essential types of pre-construction services. This analysis bridges the gap between the BIM model and what’s feasible given material and budget constraints.
During a constructability analysis, your pre-construction services firm will proactively identify potential issues to protect you from budget overages or missed deadlines. If problems exist, the team can work with your engineer contractor to make necessary alterations to the BIM model.
Bid packaging is the process of combining related construction documents to help contractors and subcontractors understand the scope of the project.
Bid packaging helps vendors and subcontractors create accurate bids based on relevant project information. In turn, your pre-construction services firm will use these bids and other project data to estimate a precise cost.
Cash Flow Analysis
Commercial construction projects can last for months or years. As such, ensuring that you have enough funding available to see a project through to completion is vital. This can be challenging, as you may need to know precisely when a project will be finished, and the potential for unexpected expenses complicates matters further.
These reasons serve to demonstrate why it’s so important to conduct a cash flow analysis.
Cash flow analysis is one of the many pre-construction services an experienced construction project planning partner provides. It creates an expense roadmap that identifies when you’ll need to pay specific vendors and contractors and lays out your expenses during each month of the construction project.
While these expenses can fluctuate, the cash flow analysis provides a good baseline for costs associated with materials, suppliers, labor, and miscellaneous services, usually enough to let you get your project underway without any significant hitches.
Any large-scale construction project involves taking on a certain level of risk, and the precise amount of risk you’ll expose yourself to will vary depending on the project’s size, scope, and duration. The good news is you can insulate your organization from much of this risk by conducting a risk mitigation analysis.
During a risk mitigation analysis, a pre-construction services firm will systematically identify potential areas of concern. They’ll address worker safety concerns, confirm that your contacts are written in a manner that safeguards your business from undue liability, and ensure that all relevant safety regulations are being observed.
How Long Does Pre-Construction Take?
The length of time required to perform pre-construction services will vary based on many factors, including the scope of services provided and the overall scale of your project. Generally speaking, it may take a pre-construction services firm anywhere from two to 12 weeks to complete all the abovementioned tasks.
While dedicating up to three months to pre-construction services might seem like a big ask, it’s an investment that will pay dividends for the entire asset lifecycle.
Pre-construction services help you estimate project costs and the completion timetable more accurately. Additionally, these services will verify project viability and decrease your chances of encountering catastrophic surprises. Perhaps most importantly, they can condense the project timetable and reduce construction costs.
Such services will also improve overall asset performance and lifespan, allowing you to proactively address potential design or constructability issues before breaking ground. Resolving concerns before construction is underway is far easier and more cost-effective than remedying problems after they manifest within a physical asset.
What Is the Purpose of a Pre-Construction Meeting?
Before your chosen firm can begin providing pre-construction services, you’ll need to arrange a pre-construction meeting. During this meeting, your team will consult with your pre-construction services provider, outline concerns, and convey your expectations for the project.
While the pre-construction services themselves are vital to the success of your project, this initial meeting is equally important. During the exchange, you’ll set the stage for a healthy working relationship with your provider.
Make sure you discuss your timetable and establish a point of contact. Determine how often updates will go out, what form they’ll take (i.e., phone call, email, or in-person meeting), and what details they should include.
The expectations established during this initial meeting will be used as a baseline for future planning efforts and help your provider tailor their services to meet the needs of your project. They can add or subtract services from their standard offering to match your budget, time constraints, and needs if required.
Why Is Pre-Construction a Good Idea?
Pre-construction services help ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. The cost estimation included as part of your pre-construction services will provide a good baseline when assessing project viability.
You can use this data to examine whether your project is feasible as-is or if you need to modify its scope to drive down total costs. Once you’ve deemed your project viable, the cash flow analysis will help you map out your month-by-month expenses to stay on top of your funds and avoid unnecessary and potentially costly delays.
Pre-construction services also prevent headaches like logistics issues or supplier shortages. They are an excellent way of mitigating risks and insulating your business from liability during construction.
Furthermore, the information gathered from pre-construction services will outline cost-saving opportunities and make it possible for you to alter your plans before you’ve made any commitments to vendors, suppliers, or contractors.
Using Custom Pre-construction Services
As you can see, pre-construction services can be incredibly valuable to the success and viability of your construction project. To make the most of them, however, you must partner with a firm that will tailor their services to align with the demands and scope of your project. Alpha-Omega Training and Compliance, Inc. (AOTC) is such a partner.
AOTC is proud to offer pre-construction services through our partnership with RISE Construction Services, LLC. Together, our experienced teams will help you overcome the challenges of planning and carrying out a commercial construction project.
AOTC and RISE can assist with due diligence, design, programming, and construction. Through this affiliation, we can provide a broad array of construction and general contracting services in addition to pre-construction planning.
If you’re interested in working with a veteran-owned, client-centric firm, Alpha-Omega Training and Compliance, Inc. is the ideal partner for your business.
Contact our team today to learn more about our pre-construction services or general contracting provided through our partnership with RISE Construction Services, LLC.