What is Pre-Construction and Why is it the Most Important Step in the Construction Process

Feb 6, 2019 2:00:00 PM / by Paul Gansauer


A critical element for a successful construction project is the selection of a great project team. This includes the selection of the design team and construction partner. Early involvement with a construction partner allows the owner and design team to benefit from the cost history, feasibility, construction methods and materials, subcontractor input, and construction experience of the contractor.

Just like the importance of a project’s physical foundation, the pre-construction process lays the foundation for the construction project’s success. During pre-construction, important decisions are made and success measurements established to maximize project efficiency and minimize potential obstacles during the project. The best construction company is the one that can offer the most value to your project during the pre-construction phase, providing guidance on the design, budget, and schedule, before anyone shows up at the jobsite.


What Is Pre-Construction?

In the initial planning stages of a project, the client works closely with its design team and construction partner (general contractor, construction manager, or design-build contractor) to develop detailed drawings, schedules, budgets and manpower projections before construction starts. This phase requires frequent communication between the core team and any additional project consultants.

The team works to define the project, prepare cost estimates to meet the budget, identify potential construction issues and solutions, and ultimately determine the most efficient use of money and resources. A thorough and deliberate pre-construction process is extremely important to ensure the project goes as planned and all potential needs are identified and addressed.


What are the Outputs of the Pre-Construction Phase?

During the pre-construction phase, the client, design team and construction partner will plan out the essential components of the project.


Project Scope

The first step in pre-construction is to define the scope of the project. What is it that you are trying to accomplish and what are the space, schedule, and level of finishes requirements needed to meet your objectives for a successful project?


Project Budget

Once you have established preliminary project goals and objectives, the team needs to understand what your project budget is. The design team and construction team work together to provide you with design and cost information, including alternative solutions and costs, to firm up your budget.


Project Details

With a clear project scope and budget, the team can proceed with design plans for the size, layout, style/character, quality, building materials and systems, and other essential project details. Once design is finalized, a plan can be created for executing each phase of construction and a schedule assembled for the overall project.


Project Team

The construction company’s role in pre-construction becomes even more visible as the project moves toward the latter stages of design. To properly prepare bid packages for the various parts of the work, your construction partner will identify potential subcontractors who have the capabilities and capacity needed to complete work on the project, and engage with them to confirm their interest and availability.

When it comes time to bid out the work, there is a ready pool of subcontractors who understand the project, know what to expect from the general contractor, construction manager, or design-build contractor, and have reserved time in their schedule to properly bid the project.


Project Materials

Properly planning for long lead-time materials can make or break a project schedule. During pre-construction, the contractor needs to identify all the necessary materials and equipment for the job, with special attention to items requiring early ordering, and how they will be obtained. The procurement schedule will be worked into the overall construction schedule to maximize efficiency and ensure proper delivery, phasing and staging of all materials.


Project Permits and Inspections

Pre-construction is the time to thoroughly assess and plan to mitigate risks associated with constructing the project, including evaluation of the construction site, permit and inspection requirements, and any other special situations that need to be resolved before or during construction. Your construction partner should have a detailed checklist for the pre-construction phase; it is essential to make sure all the boxes are checked before the project breaks ground.


Project Communication

The pre-construction phase lays the foundation for a successful construction project and relies heavily on effective communication. Take the time to prepare a communication plan that works for everyone, allowing everyone to interact in a way that meets their needs for the project. A construction team that communicates well can help ensure that when obstacles arise, they can be overcome effectively and efficiently.

Thorough, effective planning during the pre-construction process is essential for your project to progress smoothly. Holland Construction Services can help get your project off to a great start and keep it moving in the right direction. Contact us to learn more about our construction process and how we can help you with a successful project.


Holland. Built on Integrity.

Topics: Construction Process

Paul Gansauer

Written by Paul Gansauer

Vice President of Pre-Construction, Holland Construction Services