Project success hinges on the ability to balance cost, scope, schedules and quality, and decisions made in the earliest stages have a tremendous effect on outcomes. Preconstruction services are designed to help owners, architects, engineers, contractors and other vital players develop a working relationship. This in turn facilitates sound decisions and streamlines the entire construction process. What does preconstruction entail, and how does it benefit project owners?
Preconstruction: Beyond Estimating
Cost estimation is an invaluable tool for owners, allowing them to weigh cost versus benefit, determine resource availability, and maintain tighter control of their budgets. But preconstruction extends the scope of pre-project work beyond estimating. If we’re involved during schematic or conceptual design, we can assist the owner and design team in meeting their budget while delivering on their objectives. From procuring the right products to determining the best building methods, the goal of preconstruction is to help owners find and maintain the balance they need for a successful outcome.
What Happens During Preconstruction?
Preconstruction services include:
- Liaising with owners and architects
- Offering opinions on constructability
- Evaluating sites
- Finding cost savings opportunities
- Determining feasibility
- Developing preliminary budgets and schedules
- Value engineering
- Procuring materials
- Facilitating relationships with trusted subcontractors
- Schematic estimating for greater accuracy
- Finalizing construction documents
The collaborative process helps eliminate costly and time-consuming surprises, giving owners a solid foundation on which to make decisions and achieve project success – even if that means forgoing the project for now. Here’s an example of how preconstruction can save owners time and money.
Say we have a napkin sketch from an owner, and he wants to figure out the feasibility of his building before he even purchases the property:
- What’s the market rate for a commercial office building?
- Is this project going to provide a return on investment?
We look at historic costs, considering the location, the size of the building, how many floors, and other factors to develop a programmatic estimate.
This estimate allows the owner to make the best decision early. The last thing he – and we – wants is to purchase property, get involved with an architect, and only then realize that he’s got a design that doesn’t fit his budget. He can’t make the project work, but he’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on design and millions on property.
We get involved early for just this reason, and we’re seeing greater demand for programmatic estimates like this. It’s common for the numbers not to work out, and the owner doesn’t purchase the property or go ahead with the original project. But when he does buy a property that better meets his needs and budget, he has an established relationship with us and the process can be initiated and managed much more quickly and efficiently.
Preconstruction provides an opportunity to examine feasibility, develop viable alternative solutions to identified and anticipated challenges, maximize budget, and build the relationships that can see the project through to completion. Through these tools, we can create a roadmap for projects, plotting the most effective, efficient route to delivery.
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