Building a commercial structure is no small task, but before any of the materials are put together to form what will eventually be your office or retail space, it’s critical to get through the pre construction phase. This is more than just a quick overview of your construction project, it’s the time when all your critical decisions are made, reviewed, changed, and finalized. Here are three steps that you should include in any pre construction phase of a commercial building.
Define Project Objectives
The pre construction phase of any major project is the starting point that will set you up for success throughout the remainder of the project. It’s a time when you can review architectural designs and blueprints, evaluate the entire project from start to finish, and discuss any questions you might have with the construction company. This is the time to bring up any issues with design, placement, or planning that you think might come up during the construction process.
If you work with a knowledgeable and skilled contractor, they will likely have answers to questions you might not have even thought about yet—things that could come back to cause problems later if not addressed—such as ADA compliance or the “constructability” of the vision that you have for your building. For that reason, hiring an experienced construction firm is critical.
Perhaps the biggest complaint that companies have when designing and building new commercial structures is being “behind schedule.” A pre construction meeting where you talk about the tasks, milestones, completion dates, and any other activity that might put a project behind schedule can help prevent this issue. During the meeting you should also clearly outline which responsibilities belong to the contractor, which belong to the client, and the responsibilities of any third parties that will be involved in the process. It’s advisable to set some project milestones and check in dates when you can review your progress and address any scheduling issues so there are no surprises.
Another common problem during commercial construction is going over budget, but with the right pre construction planning you can avoid many of these problems. Take time to outline your budget and have the contractor prepare preliminary cost estimates of the work. You should review these estimates and make adjustments at periodic intervals throughout the project so you can be aware if things change—for example, if the price of your materials goes up, which would affect your final cost. A qualified contractor will also be able to let you know during the pre construction phase if what you are hoping to achieve is realistic given your budget, or if there might need to be adjustments.
Getting everyone on the same page for a commercial construction project is essential, and the right pre construction planning can be the difference between an on time, on budget project that meets your needs or the opposite.