The importantance of preconstruction with an experienced general contractor

05 February 2024

The commercial construction process is complicated and typically broken down into three distinct phases, preconstruction, construction and post construction. Preconstruction is where all the planning happens and arguably the most important stage for determining the success of a construction project. So what is preconstruction and why is it important to work with an experienced general contractor who specializes in it?

What is Preconstruction?

Preconstruction refers to the stage of a construction project which occurs before a shovel hits the ground or a hammer is swung. The primary goal of preconstruction it to explore a project to develop the price to build and the schedule for project delivery.

During this stage, an experienced general contractor will meet with all the decision makers for the project to gain a full understanding of the project scope. This means meeting with the building owners to understand the financial goals for the project. And meeting with the building’s architects, engineers, and design consultants to understand the major systems. Once the general contractor has a full understanding of the project scope, they will begin to explore the constructability of the project and make recommendations based on their experience. Those recommendations might include:

  • Value engineering which aims to deliver the same aesthetic or functional qualities of materials, building systems or design elements, at a lower cost.
  • Design build systems which employ engineers to build custom systems to tailor fit the needs of the project, saving time and money.
  • Logistics plans which explain the nuts and bolts of how teams will operate on the construction site. For example, where deliveries are made or where the crane is erected.
  • Schedules which detail the complicated, and often time phased approach to construction. At any given time, there might be any number of different construction trades working on their various specialties simultaneously.

Together these items also determine another, and perhaps the most important outcome of preconstruction, the price to construct the project. The price of construction is a shifting target, and an experienced preconstruction expert will provide multiple variations on pricing based on variations to the recommendations mentioned above. Additionally, preconstruction typically occurs over a series of months, and as the plans for the project develop over time so too does the estimate price developed by an experienced general contractor.

And why is preconstruction important?

There are two popular turns of phrase; ‘the price is right’, and ‘time is money’. Well, that summarizes the importance of effective preconstruction expertise. A skilled general contractor will develop a price and schedule for a construction project that is accurate. They combine their intricate knowledge of construction phasing, materials, building systems and more to develop pricing that allows owners to make informed decisions as the building plans develop. Alternatively, if a building partner does not have the requisite experience, not only does that disadvantage the planning stage of the project but introduced substantial risk during construction. Not only will price increase due to incorrect estimating, but incorrect schedules require additional trade labor, delayed deliveries can impact loan terms and interest payments, lost time can impact leasing or sales efforts and more.

Why work with Focus on your next commercial construction process?

As a general contractor with over 30 years of experience, Focus delivers expert construction management services from preconstruction and beyond. To learn more about our approach to preconstruction or to discuss a project of your own, please reach out today.

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