When it comes to commercial property construction, there are many misconceptions regarding what precedes the actual construction. Most people who don’t know much about construction believe that work begins by clearing the construction site. However, before that can happen, the preconstruction phase must occur. To help you better understand how our commercial construction projects unfold, we will explain what preconstruction is. We will also cover activities, checklists & more so that you can understand how to bring your project to life.

What is Preconstruction?

In any significant construction project, preconstruction is a preliminary stage of project planning. Here clients can receive a proper review of their project, see how it will be conducted, and when they can expect it to finish. Usually, there is a team of construction managers who can offer their expertise through the delivery process of your project. 

Many fail to realize that preconstruction isn’t merely about preparing the project. A core component of preconstruction is understanding the client’s needs and accurately defining the project’s scope. The client’s input is critical to the project’s success during this stage. You should also note that the general contractor isn’t necessarily involved in preconstruction. If you have chosen a small contractor, the preconstruction is usually outsourced and handled by a project management company.

What are the Necessary Preconstruction Activities, Checklist & More

The exact activities in preconstruction can vary depending on the type and scope of the project. If you want a detailed breakdown of our preconstruction activities, here is a preconstruction checklist you can go through before setting up a meeting with your project manager. However, here are some of the essential preconstruction activities:

1. Meeting with the Client

One of the first preconstruction activities is a sit-down with the client. Of course, specific preparations can precede the meeting, such as defining the type of commercial project in question and putting together the necessary documentation. During the client meeting, companies can explain what is preconstruction and how the rest of the process will unfold. Based on the client’s needs, they can start outlining a rough framework for the project.

2. Project planning

When you reach the project planning stage, you should begin planning the design for the project. Experts can give you an accurate estimate of the project costs and even offer you cost-saving options. Remember that these are still budget outlines that don’t represent the project’s final cost. They can also present you with an initial design representing how the completed project will look and feel. Based on your feedback, they can make adjustments to the project design. Upon determining the project’s scope and constructing a plan, it is also possible to develop a timeline for the rest of the preconstruction activities and the construction itself. 

3. Site Selection and Feasibility

Engineering assessment based on the existing conditions of your construction site is crucial. Once the construction site is selected, experts can conduct a feasibility study to determine if the site is adequate for the project you had in mind. If your project isn’t deemed feasible, they can propose adjustments based on the requirements of the project and the construction site. These adjustments can affect the project scope, budget, and expected duration. They can also identify potential issues and outline possible solutions. 

4. Checking the Utilities and Required Equipment

The state of the existing utilities on the construction site must be inspected. If the current utilities are inadequate, the project manager must find alternatives for the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems. Therefore, you might need to update these utilities or entirely replace them. 

Another crucial aspect of preconstruction is determining the required equipment. Based on the scope of your project, you might need to protect your equipment by using storage. It wouldn’t be wise to leave expensive equipment on the construction site overnight. Even if you invest in security, protecting equipment from the wind, sun, and rain is a good idea. Therefore, renting storage near your construction site would be the best option.

5. Creating contingencies

Unfortunately, most projects will run into unexpected complications. Thankfully, it is possible to overcome most of these challenges with some planning. For large-scale projects, it’s advisable to create a contingency fund. Depending on the feasibility study, your contingency fund can range from 5-15% of the total project budget. It’s always a good idea to outline contingencies for both client and contractor to cover everything. Having a detailed plan for emergencies can increase the likelihood of the success of your project. Another excellent addition to your preconstruction is to create a responsibility matrix, which can help outline who is responsible for what and how you handle deliverables and installation.

What Happens After Preconstruction?

After preconstruction finishes, any stakeholders in your project can better understand if the project is worth pursuing. If you decide to go forward with your project, you should move on to hiring contractors to start with the production stage.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, you have a better idea regarding what is preconstruction. Although we’ve outlined the essential preconstruction activities, it can include everything you undertake before your project’s construction begins. To ensure that all your bases are covered, it would be best to rely on a construction management company to handle preconstruction. They can create a preconstruction checklist and explain all the activities they will cover, the expected costs, and the completion time. Preconstruction is a valuable part of any significant commercial property construction since it can remove uncertainties and reduce the number of unknown variables. 

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