fbpx Skip to main content

Preconstruction Best Practices

Just as the foundation of a building must be strong, robust and precise in order to support the highest quality, long-standing structure, the same applies to the construction process itself, starting with preconstruction.

Beyond simply gathering bids for different aspects of the work, a project’s initial pre-construction phase should be a thorough and thought through process, beginning with establishing team communication.

This includes setting up the frequency of meetings, how documents will be transferred and determining the building team’s preferred communication styles.

Post-pandemic, the convenience and efficiency of platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom are well established. To optimize these online meetings, screen sharing is highly recommended.

Overall, the preconstruction phase establishes the project’s direction and allows for the designers and contractors to share ideas. When this process is organized, moving forward and on schedule, it will be the most effective.

Bid Management

During the bid management phase, the contractor identifies trade packages and creates clear scopes of work.

Experienced contractors often utilize master scope sheets developed over time. Reviewing past project scope sheets, change orders and sub quotes for different trades will help best inform the current scope document.

Through this process, it’s important to identify gray area items and address constructability to make sure that all material, equipment and labor is covered in the scope.

Prior to inviting subs to bid on the project, apps like TradeTapp is a useful way to  prequalify subcontractors.

A bid and award schedule is then developed and bid packages are electronically released to a broad range of vendors and trade subcontractors through tools like SmartBid and BuildingConnected. The latter platform, in particular, is quite popular amongst subcontractors and is therefore an effective way to solicit bids.

The contractor then conducts pre-bid conferences and answers subcontractor questions during the bid process.

Next, the bids are received and evaluated. This includes an in-depth bid review process to minimize uncertainties and hidden contingencies. Post-bid interviews are conducted with potential subs and then the contractor issues award recommendations and contracts.

Design Analysis and Constructability Review

The construction team then performs design analysis/reviews, identifies project constraints and performs constructability reviews. Contractors can lend their expertise in providing input on materials and product specifications, and assessing options for value engineering.

The contractor also develops a cost model and provides estimates as the design evolves. Once the cost model and budget are established, a budget tracking system is implemented to monitor any issues or changes in scope that put pressure on the budget.

To the extent that the team is organized and establishes regular lines communication and collaboration, the fewer surprises will arise down the road. This reduces the risk of project conflicts and delays, and increases opportunities for project savings.

Along these lines, team are encouraged to establish risk management strategies and examine all “what if” scenarios.

A recommended best practice is establishing a Master Schedule to identify long-lead time items, critical path items, occupancy and closeout. For example, equipment like elevators, electrical gear, HVAC units and generators tend to require longer lead times for delivery.

Bringing Value

To ensure a high level of quality and efficiency through this whole process, another best practice is establishing internal budgets at the conception of the job. Working hand in hand with architects and engineers then helps confirm that the project is staying on budget.

As for selecting subcontractors and companies to work with, it’s important to rigorously scope subs and suppliers to build the best qualified building team and ultimately offer the best value.

Another best practice is planning and sequencing phasing and site logistics to best coordinate project activities and address any safety concerns.

And finally, before construction commences, all necessary construction permits must be obtained. If time is of the essence, contractors may benefit from the services of a permit expeditor.

To learn more about working with Summit Design + Builds’ expert team of contractors, visit our Let’s Build Together page.