Also known as preconstruction, the prebuilding process is the planning stage of a construction project. It occurs before any actual work is performed. This article looks at everything included in the prebuilding process as well as why it plays such an integral role in any construction project.
What Happens During the Prebuilding Process?
The preconstruction stage includes:
- Project discussion between client and general contractor
- Developing the initial design
- Site assessment
- Cost estimates
- Assigning roles and responsibilities
- Creating the initial timeline
The general contractor guides the client through the prebuilding process, discussing each step of the proposed build. In addition to building a strong rapport, both parties are determining whether to move forward with the project.
Step 1: Discussing the Project
The first step of the prebuilding process is a meeting between the client and general contractor to discuss the project. This is the client’s opportunity to share their vision, goals, and objectives for the project. Without that information, the contractor cannot determine whether the project is feasible or perform any of the other planning steps.
Step 2: Create the Initial Design
Now that the general contractor understands the client’s vision, they can create the initial conceptual project design. This may also include a layout of the proposed site to show how the finished project will look. The contractor should share the design with the client so they can visualize the finished product and spot potential issues.
Step 3: Perform a Site Assessment
The site assessment reveals how much work needs to be done before building may begin. Examples include:
- Prepping the site for construction, such as removing vegetation, hauling away debris, and demolition
- Checking existing systems, including utilities (water, sewer, storm drain, fire, electrical)
- Determining whether the site will support the proposed project
- Determining whether the area is suitable for the proposed project (does it suit the industry, meet zoning law requirements, etc.)
Step 4: Estimate Costs
The site assessment and initial design help inform the preliminary budget for construction. Cost estimates are based on:
- Site prep
- Permitting requirements
The general contractor’s experience helps with estimating costs, as past work on similar projects takes out much of the guesswork. Cost estimating is not the same as bidding the project, although these estimates will inform the general contractor’s bid.
Step 5: Assign Roles and Responsibilities
It’s time to identify the deliverables and determine who is responsible for what. Potential players include the client, general contractor, building owner, and subcontractors. Delineating who does what is a big help toward ensuring the project runs smoothly and there’s clear communication throughout.
Step 6: Create the Timeline
The final step of the prebuilding process is creating a schedule. This preliminary timeline will be fine-tuned as stages are broken down into tasks. But, this initial schedule includes the major goals of the project and the time expected to reach each milestone.
What Are the Benefits of the Prebuild Process?
The prebuild process helps put the project in focus for the client. This is also a good chance to get to know the general contractor that you have partnered with for your project. You’ll see how they work, get a feel for their experience on similar projects, and learn how responsive they are when you have questions or concerns. On the contractor’s side, this is their chance to make sure the client has clear and reasonable expectations about the demands of the project. They can also identify potential issues before they become actual problems, saving money and time.
Ready to Learn More?
Doege Development has decades of experience as a general contractor. Just take a look at our portfolio to see the wide variety of commercial construction projects we handle. If you like what you see, contact us today to discuss your project.