When you are going to start building a house, you need to take a lot of different things into consideration. But it’s not only about buying all the materials and tools or hiring a team of contractors! It is also about planning precisely the whole construction process. Such a plan usually consists of construction phases and includes all possible scenarios that may happen on the construction site.
And one of the most important stages of the home-building process is to make a pre-construction activities list. This list is going to be a part of your pre-construction planning, allowing your contractor to tell you in advance what is waiting for you during the building process.
Today we will tell you more about the pre-construction planning. You will learn in detail what this stage of home-building is and why it is needed. Also, we will tell you more about each step of the pre-construction stage so that you know what you should consider and think about before you start. As a result, you will be aware of proper preparation for the construction works.
Everything About Pre-Construction Planning Phase
When you are going to start a building project, it is essential that you get ready for it properly. One of the stages of this preparation is called pre-construction planning. This is the planning period of construction that is crucially important for the success of the entire construction project.
But to be able to organize the pre-construction process correctly, you need to know what steps should be taken one by one, as well as what factors need to be paid attention to. See, there are many pre-construction planning stages that your contractor will need to work through in order to make sure that a project goes smoothly.
What is the point of this pre-construction planning? The point is pretty obvious: to think of everything that might come your way during the building process, including the pre-construction costs and pre-construction services. Like this, you and your team of contractors will be ready for any (or almost any) unexpected issues and situations that may happen on the site.
When you are about to plan your pre-construction list of actions, you need to make sure that your pre-construction checklist includes every possible scenario that the team may encounter during a project. This plan is formed through a mix of expertise and experience, but the final plan will be completely unique to the specific job.
The Planning Stages Of the Pre-Construction Process
As you already know, your pre-construction planning list must include all the steps that you might need to take while there are works on the site. However, we would like to note that the following stages will not necessarily be present in any building project. But in general, your pre-construction planning list will contain the following stages and steps.
Initial Meeting With the Team Of Contractors
Any construction project starts with the initial meeting between the client (meaning you) and the contractor or team of contractors that will be doing the job. The contractor will meet face-to-face with the owner or client to discuss the goals and requirements for the upcoming construction project.
The initial meeting is needed for the contractor to be more and better informed about the client’s vision for the project. It is also very likely that an initial budget will be discussed, as well as the terms when the client hopes the job will be completed.
At this stage, you won’t usually discuss any complex details.
After you meet, the contractor will take all of the information you gave during this meeting and start putting together the rest of the pre-construction plan. Also, during the entire building process, you will stay closely tied together with the contractor in terms of communication since you are going to have quite many follow-up meetings. It will help the team stay updated and make changes if needed during the process.
Define the Objective Of the Construction Project
Another step that should be taken during the initial stage of pre-construction planning is to define the objective of the project itself. Any issues you might have with the planning, placement, or design that you think may become a problem during construction shall be discussed at this stage. This stage will typically include the following steps:
- You will look over blueprints and architectural designs
- Your contractor will look over the big goals you have for the project
- As a client, you should submit any questions you have to the contractor
This evaluation will make the rest of the pre-construction planning process simpler and clearer. If you have knowledgeable contractors, be sure they will have all the answers you need!
Create a Precise Project Scope
Next, it is important to understand the greater scope in order to better see the big picture of the project. The “scope” is actually a description of the work that will be done during the construction job.
In particular, the contractor will need to outline the whole scope from start to finish, determining what categories of workers will be needed for each part of it. Next, he or she will need to decide what equipment and materials will be required to complete the job. All of these elements will form the overall scope of the project.
Set a Budget For Your Construction Project
Every construction project is started with an initial budget or at least a price that the client had in mind to spend on the planned amount of work. However, this sum of money is typically unstable and we would say “imaginary” since with no consideration of how much a construction project costs, you can’t calculate its final price.
Usually, you will tell your contractor what initial sum of money you are ready to spend on the project. And your contractor will try to see if the project is feasible within this budget or not. If needed, he or she can make suggestions to either change the project within the budget you’ve set or stretch the budget to meet your goals.
The budget is a must-do thing in planning since it is a vital component of the entire project. It helps you realize the actual project scope and determine what materials are needed, what other workers (like subcontractors) will need to be hired, and other kinds of things.
The budget should not be aspirational! Instead, it should be based on two factors:
- Previous experience with similar jobs
- In-depth knowledge of what certain materials and components will cost
While you are setting the budget, the contractor will try to foretell any potential issues that may come up, and decide what can be done or changed in the budget to cover them. The contractor will also search for opportunities to save money in every part of the job.
Now You Need to Set a Schedule Of the Construction Works
The schedule of a construction project is going to be another vital component of pre-construction planning. For example, on the pre-construction checklist, there will be the due date for when the project needs to be done. This is needed if you have a hard end date that you absolutely need the job done. And even if you are quite flexible about the dates, this kind of planning is still needed.
When the whole team knows ahead of time how long the project will last, it can make all the difference and help them stay on task with an outlined schedule. As a result, such precise planning will ensure all contractors and subcontractors will do their portion of the job in time simultaneously.
It can also be a good idea to incorporate check-in dates into the schedule. This will help you stay updated on the progress of the project. Besides, the team of contractors will be able to adjust any scheduling issues if needed.
Analysis Of the Construction Site
It is obvious that construction can’t move on if the site is unsuitable for the client’s goals. This is why it is necessary that the contractor visits the site to look at how feasible it is and see whether or not the required amount of work can be done on the site.
Observing the site will typically include the following steps:
- Evaluation of the site’s soil to ensure it can provide a solid foundation
- Consideration of traffic flow, parking, landscaping, capacity, and more
The contractor will take this information back to you to offer suggestions on how to make the site work if there is anything wrong, otherwise, a new site will have to be found.
Remember About the Procurement Management
This is a part of pre-construction that is quite often overlooked. However, it is also very important if you want all the work to be done on time. Procurement management refers to when material may take a long time to acquire. How can that help you with your project?
See, when you pre-plan the time the material may arrive to the site, there will be no gaps in the schedule and no time will be lost waiting for it to arrive. For example, your team of contractors can work on other aspects of the job while the material is on its way.
Acquire the Proper Approvals
The last but not least, every construction project requires the proper approvals and all necessary building permits before it can be started and move forward! These are the papers that should be acquired by the contractor. Also, this should be done during the pre-construction phase. Only when all the permissions and approvals are received, your building team will be able to move forward with the construction project. Remember that your project will not be able to move to the building stage until this phase is completed!
Well, now you know more about pre-construction planning and what steps it should contain. We explained why you should not skip this stage of the building process and what steps need to be taken during it in order to start working on your construction site. Remember that to do everything right and legally, it’s best to hire experienced contractors that have proper skills and expertise in this kind of work! The better the team that’s working for you, the sooner and with fewer problems you will finish the project.
- The planning phase is often referred to as the most crucial part of the construction process. It's reported that every dollar invested in pre-construction planning can save more than $10 in construction costs.
- The Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world, had an intensive pre-construction planning process that took more than five years.
- One of the most extensive uses of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in pre-construction planning was for the construction of the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the "Bird's Nest," for the 2008 Olympics.
- The pre-construction planning for the English Channel Tunnel, one of the most significant construction projects of the 20th century, took almost two decades due to the complexity and political implications of the project.
- Pre-construction risk assessment is a critical aspect of planning. A shocking study suggests that almost 90% of all construction projects experience some form of unexpected change or risk during their execution.
- Pre-construction planning includes understanding and abiding by various international, national, and local regulations. For example, New York City's building code is more than 1000 pages long, demonstrating the extent of the complexity in planning a project.
- The emergence of sustainable construction has added a new dimension to pre-construction planning. The Edge in Amsterdam, considered one of the greenest buildings globally, required intensive planning to incorporate energy-saving measures and smart technology into its design.
- One of the most ambitious pre-construction planning efforts underway is the proposed construction of X-Seed 4000 in Tokyo, which if realized, would be the tallest structure in the world. Its pre-construction planning stage alone is expected to span multiple decades.
- Understand Your Objectives: Clearly define your project's goals and objectives. What are you trying to achieve, and how will you measure success?
- Invest Time in Research: Thoroughly research local codes, regulations, and permits required. This step is crucial to avoid future legal and structural hurdles.
- Assess the Site: Perform a comprehensive site analysis. Identify potential challenges, such as topographical constraints, soil type, climate conditions, and access routes.
- Assemble Your Team Early: Bring together architects, engineers, contractors, and other key stakeholders as soon as possible. Early involvement will foster better communication and collaboration, leading to a more well-rounded plan.
- Budget Realistically: Ensure you've accounted for all likely costs, including materials, labor, permits, inspections, and contingency allowances for unexpected expenses.
- Develop a Detailed Schedule: Construct a realistic timeline that covers each stage of the project, including design, permitting, and construction. Remember, flexibility is key to accommodating any unforeseen changes or delays.
- Implement Risk Management Strategies: Identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. Regularly reassess these risks as the project evolves.
- Embrace Technology: Utilize modern tools such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and project management software. These tools offer incredible benefits, such as improved visualization, better collaboration, and efficient tracking.
- Environmentally Friendly Approach: Consider incorporating sustainable and energy-efficient practices in your planning. It not only benefits the environment but can also lead to cost savings in the long run.
- Risk Assessment: Before any work commences, conduct a thorough risk assessment of the site. Identify potential hazards like unstable ground, overhead power lines, or proximity to heavy traffic. Develop plans to mitigate these risks.
- Safety Training: Ensure all team members, including contractors and sub-contractors, receive comprehensive safety training. They should be aware of potential hazards and know how to handle emergency situations.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Outline the necessary PPE for all stages of construction. This could include hard hats, safety boots, high-visibility clothing, and gloves. Ensure that everyone on site is equipped with the necessary PPE at all times.
- Emergency Plans: Develop and communicate clear emergency procedures. Include evacuation routes, locations of first aid kits, and contacts for emergency services.
- Regulatory Compliance: Stay updated on all local and national safety regulations. Ensure all plans and practices are in compliance to avoid legal complications and ensure a safe work environment.
- Safe Machinery Operation: Ensure only trained and authorized personnel operate machinery and equipment. Establish safe operating procedures for each piece of equipment.
- Site Security: Develop strategies for securing the site during off-hours. This could include fencing, security cameras, or security personnel.
- Sustainability: Incorporate safety considerations into your environmental and sustainability planning. This could involve safe waste disposal procedures or precautions for working with hazardous materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Construction Pre-Planning?
Why Is Construction Pre-Planning Necessary?
What Are The Pre-Planning Activities In The Construction?
Construction pre-planning includes meeting with the client to understand their goals, designing the project, securing permits, and gathering workers and resources.
What Factors Should Be Considered When Developing A Project Budget?
Considerations include labor and material costs, contingencies, escalation factors, design fees, and any additional expenses such as site preparation, permits, and insurance.
Pre Construction Planning Checklist
- Site Analysis: This involves evaluating the construction site for any potential problems like soil type, drainage, and accessibility. It also includes assessing the local climate and environmental considerations.
- Budget Planning: An early and accurate estimate of the construction costs will guide the entire project. This should include material, labor, permit, and contingency costs.
- Design and Architecture: This involves developing the architectural plans, including floor plans, elevations, and sections. It also includes detailed drawings for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.
- Regulatory Compliance: Check local zoning laws and building codes, ensuring the design meets all requirements. This stage should also include acquiring all necessary permits before construction begins.
- Contractor Selection: Carefully select a reliable construction contractor. This process often involves soliciting and reviewing bids, checking references, and signing a contract.
- Material Procurement: Outline a plan for when and how materials will be purchased and delivered to the site. This includes not only the primary building materials, but also fixtures and finishes.
- Project Schedule: Create a detailed timeline for the project, including all stages of construction. This schedule will be critical for coordinating with contractors, suppliers, and any other parties involved in the project.
- Remember, pre-construction planning is a critical stage that can determine the success of the project. It's crucial to take the time to thoroughly complete each item on this checklist.