The Preconstruction Process: Budget, Constructability and Communication
by Michael Mummert, Vice President of Preconstruction and Estimating, Capstone Building Corporation
Whether it’s a new home, an office building or a multifamily community, building any project is an expensive and complicated process. Planning and knowledge play an integral role for all parties involved. During the pre-construction phase it is important to include the general contractor in the development and planning to ensure a quality build that is on budget.
With pricing being a significant element of any project, involving the general contractor in the beginning provides insight into cost factors that could arise while drawings are developed. Informed feedback from a general contractor will aid the developer in building within budget constraints and minimizing changes once the construction process has begun.
By constantly receiving cost and constructability feedback at each milestone of the design process, developers are able to reduce fees by saving time and money on redraws.
Constructability alludes to another important element of the overall building process where general contractors provide insight into the feasibility of the design. While documents are being drawn, the general contractor provides expertise and field knowledge that is otherwise unavailable. The ability to mesh design intent and actual application advances the project at a faster pace. Immediate constructability feedback provides a platform for better coordination and less rework in the field.
Open communication between all parties is essential to the quality of a project. By opening early lines of communication, coordination flows smoothly from the design process into construction. General contractors are able to begin constructive dialogue with architects, engineers and developers from the beginning, ultimately addressing concerns and issues prior to construction. Communication starting in the pre-construction phase eliminates misunderstandings and minimizes mistakes in the field.
Overall, the quality of a project is sustained when all parties participate in the pre-construction process. By raising awareness of budgets, providing constructability feedback and opening lines of communication, the developer is able to ensure that all parties are aligned and the overall project is complete within time constraints and predetermined costs. The general contractor provides the end product, therefore, it is imperative to bring them into the preconstruction process to ensure any project is built to the highest standard.