Preconstruction Services: A Layman’s Definition

Simply put, Preconstruction Services are a systematic approach for developing scope, cost, and schedule estimates to successfully budget for and execute capital projects. The preconstruction effort involves performing preliminary planning, architecture, and engineering to outline project needs, identify potential issues, and analyze cost impacts of the myriad of choices the owner is tasked to make for their project.

Preconstruction services lay the foundation of your project, and therefore, can be one of the most critical steps. Preconstruction decisions can be done quickly but should never be rushed as the decisions that are made during this phase of your project will directly impact the scope, schedule, cost, and functionality of your new space. Your selected design-build team should have an intimate understanding of this and must serve as the client’s guide by vetting each critical issue and providing feedback on the viability of each potential choice; allowing the client to make informed decisions that will optimize the outcomes of their project.

The Preconstruction Process

  • The overarching goal of preconstruction services is to generate a mutual understanding of the project’s goals through the project’s stakeholders – both the client and design/build team. This shared vision and scope lays the foundation for a successful project and should:
  • Create a project program/basis-of-design that identifies your needs and expectations
  • Finalize conceptual size, appearance, functionality, and material quality of the building
  • Creates conceptual floor plans with the emphasis on production process flows
  • Finalize project team members including design consultants, construction management & administration, client liaisons, and communication structure for the team going forward

Issues Resolved During Preconstruction

Defining cost, schedule and scope is the first step for an owner to determine the viability of their project. The design-build team’s job is to enable the owner to make informed decisions about their capital improvement project and provide the proper documentation to obtain project approval and funding. These issues all play an important role during your go/no go decision.

  • Site analysis & selection
  • Project feasibility
  • Equipment selection
  • Material finishes selection
  • Evaluation of utilities
  • Evaluation of soil conditions
  • Assistance with permitting issues and regulatory agencies
  • Critical path schedule
  • Site logistics
  • Construction phase sequencing
  • Value engineering options and building material analysis
  • Multiple bid package planning
  • Cost saving options and constructability reviews

Deliverables of the Preconstruction Effort

Preconstruction services provide the framework necessary to undertake a comprehensive design effort. With preconstruction, the focus is on the high-cost and complex aspects of the project. Preconstruction efforts should be focused on the items that have the biggest cost and schedule impacts in order to derive a rough order of magnitude (ROM) cost estimate for initial budgeting and approval processes, enabling the owner to make informed decisions on how, or if, the project is to proceed to design development.

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