“I love it when a plan comes together!”
George Peppard’s Hannibal Smith uttered this line in nearly every episode of “A-Team.” As general contractors, we know the feeling. Much of what we do comes down to planning and ensuring all the parts of a construction job work together to create a finished project that comes together on time and on budget.
But none of that happens without a plan, and planning happens in the pre-construction phase.
Pre-construction means building a plan
Pre-construction isn’t just the time before we start to build; it’s an important and pivotal part of the design-build process.
In the pre-construction phase, cost savings are identified, the scope of the project is set, and requirements are decided upon. Decisions made during this process provide a framework for the entire project.
Typically, the pre-construction process begins with a meeting of the stakeholders to determine the project’s scope. An initial design is created, responsibilities for each construction phase are assigned, budgets are finalized and schedules are built.
Pre-construction allows everyone to get on the same page before the first spade of dirt is turned, making for a smoother construction process and more satisfied stakeholders. A study by The World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET) found that the more time spent in the pre-construction phase, the more satisfied clients were at the end of the project.
Pre-construction provides benefits
Pre-construction planning services include everything from estimating and budgeting to visiting the site to identify any potential logistical issues. Pre-construction services can also include constructability reviews and budget management. All those things take time, but they produce tangible benefits.
As mentioned, cost savings are often identified in the pre-construction phase. One study showed that increased planning time resulted in higher cost savings throughout the project. Providing ample time for pre-construction planning allows contractors to secure high-quality supplies and request bids from the best subcontractors to better fit the schedule and budget.
Another benefit of pre-construction planning is saving time. The WASET study also found the more time spent on pre-construction planning, the less time the build actually takes because potential problems and pain points have already been identified and resolved.
Pre-construction planning allows contractors to set realistic schedules and avoid overlapping phases of construction. Each subcontractor can take the time to complete their portion correctly, and no one is waiting around for another team to finish. This leads to less overtime, fewer touch-ups and a better chance of staying on budget.
Pre-construction provides flexibility
While they’re useful for keeping projects on time and on budget, pre-construction plans are designed to be flexible. We’ve worked on enough jobsites to know unexpected things happen; no one can control the weather or instantly fix a supply chain snag, but we can create room in our plans to accommodate changes.
Part of pre-construction planning is anticipating what could slow the project down or drive the costs up, then creating a plan to deal with those things if they happen. Sometimes that may require a pivot during construction, but pre-construction planning means we’re prepared to change course quickly.
Bottom line? Spending time in the pre-construction phase just means we’re more likely to have the chance to do our best Hannibal Smith impression in the end!
Founded in 2013, Streamline General Contractors partners with multifamily, senior living, hospitality, light industrial and retail clients in urban and rural areas. Through solid relationships and trusted processes Streamline has established with clients and subs, we complete your projects on time and on budget, exceeding your expectations.