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Blog/May 17, 2011

Preconstruction Services Process

How organized and professional is your preconstruction services process? Here are a few ideas to help. First, let’s start with a definition of preconstruction services:

  • It is everything before construction that is not business development. Preconstruction begins prior to a contract, when a contract is imminent. Preconstruction begins when resources are being expended.

Or, how about:

  • A comprehensive AND collaborative “building-team” process, initiated at project conception and executed through substantial completion, to ensure a project owners’ objectives are met.

Intuitively we know that precon is vitally important, and the diagram below puts weight to your instinct.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

How do we put some structure to the way we communicate, manage and deliver our precon services? Here is a model to consider.

Components of precon services:

  1. Project leadership
  2. Design management
  3. Budget certainty
  4. Constructability reviews

What is project leadership?

  • To be proactive and use our expertise and anticipate all project impacts
  • Then, to provide solutions to all anticipated project problems
  • Provide “project memory” inside the company from preconstruction to operations
  • Coordination between owner, architect and contractor
  • Coordination of all outside consultants and resources
  • Knowledge of all legal and building code issues and cost implications
  • Risk assessment – from the owner’s perspective
  • Cost control systems that work
  • Consideration of DBE options
  • Documented communication protocol for the project
    • Defining roles and responsibilities – all parties
    • Project partnering expectations
    • Administration procedures
    • Face-to-face meeting organization and management
    • Decision-making governance and timeframes
  • Third Party Coordination
    • Governmental agencies
    • Utility companies
    • Project permitting requirements
    • Protocol for public meetings, affected parties
    • Labor relations issues

What is design management?

  • Define the project scope and quality
  • Identification of any holes or contingencies
  • Any design changes or impacts
  • Value engineering ideas
  • Site feasibility studies
  • Life-cycle analysis
  • Green building viability and options (LEED?)
  • Electronic design management: BIM – VDC utilization

What are the components of budget control?

  • The true budget – at all times – must be fluid (Historical Cost Analysis) – for example:
    • Conceptual (10%)
    • Schematic (20%)
    • Design development (40%)
    • GMP documents (65%)
    • Construction documents (100%)
  • All project soft costs
  • Cash flow projections
  • Material procurement and purchase options
  • Realistic contingencies (for the contractor and the owner)
  • Ultimately we need cost certainty for the defined scope

What is the GC’s role in Subcontractor Evaluation and Procurement?

  • Subcontractor prequalification
  • Preparation of bid packages
  • Advertising for subcontractor bidding
  • Receive, tabulate and review bids
  • Make recommendations for award
  • Selection of subcontractors
  • Award and issue subcontracts
  • Contract document development and management

What are the elements of constructability reviews?

  • Constructability reviews – from those who know how to build
  • Clash detection
  • Prefab options and creativity
  • Realistic project schedule
  • Knowledge of all site and logistical issues
  • Environmental assessment
  • Value engineering
  • Site planning, layout, acquisition, zoning
  • Planning for equipment and FF&E installation

It all comes together in a process – a consistent way in which the contractor delivers service – precon service. The vehicle is a precon services operating manual. Here is a sample of the components:

  • Initial project kick-off and review
  • Planning
  • Estimating
  • Bid Day procedures and expectations
  • Contract review and acceptance
  • Turnover and kickoff to operations
  • Construction processes
  • Scope management
  • Subcontracting – buyout
  • Self perform work
  • Cost control and reporting
  • Scheduling
  • Change orders
  • Billing and collections
  • Documentation
  • Communication
  • Closeout and punch list
  • Commissioning – O&M
  • Post project review

The outcome of providing preconstruction services is to present a professional process to guide the design team, contractor and client to the best outcome in the precon stage of a project. A purposeful blend of planning and foresight to channel your expertise is a helpful tool in pulling it together.

Want to know more?