Thought Leadership Series: Preconstruction

What is Preconstruction?

Preconstruction is the valuable preliminary planning phase during which the client and contractor work together to define project scope, schedule, and budget, allowing potential issues to be identified as early as possible while keeping the client’s goals in mind.


 Small Team = Big Value

The Colvos team members who will influence the project are at the table during preconstruction. We’re a smaller firm, so we’re both afforded that luxury and forced into it by virtue of our size. Larger companies with separate preconstruction departments may ultimately encounter a loss of knowledge as teams transition through the project. At Colvos, we embed the Superintendent and the Project Manager into those preconstruction meetings with the client.


Why does it matter?

Ultimately, the goal of preconstruction is for everybody on the team –the contractor, architects, and owner – to be better prepared for the way things will unfold during construction in terms of costs, schedule, and logistics. Preconstruction:

o    Allows the contractor to make recommendations related to budget, schedule, and design elements, giving the client a better idea of how their goals can be met

o    Prevents design rework and cost surprises

o    Adds value to the project and results in a more successful construction process for all parties

Preconstruction is also beneficial from a project sequence and constructability standpoint. This is an opportunity for the contractor to provide guidance on potential problems that may arise; for example, it may be easier to run an underground sewer line in one direction versus another. Ideal outcomes from a successful preconstruction phase include an accurate design, budget, and schedule, and a satisfied client whose goals will be accomplished.


The most critical elements of the preconstruction process include:

o   Assembling the project team early on (contractor, architects, consultants, engineers, etc.)

o   Having an organized and structured approach to preconstruction, including regular team meetings with action items and objectives for everyone

o   Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all team members

o   Knowing the client’s goal(s) and making sure the team members understand those goals


Types of project that are good candidate for preconstruction include:

o   Projects with strict budget requirements and/or many design-build components

o   Larger projects generally reap more benefits from engaging in a preconstruction process

o   Projects with unique site or logistical constraints

o   Multi-family projects (usually large, on tight sites, lots of design/build components), larger commercial office projects, industrial projects, and larger tenant improvement projects



Preconstruction Ensures Success

The Colvos preconstruction philosophy is to ensure from the beginning that everyone fully understands the client’s goals. We have QA/QC processes in place at every step of the project to make sure those goals are being achieved; if there are issues, we correct them immediately. As long as the whole team keeps this measure of success in mind, the outcome at the end of the preconstruction phase will be a satisfied client.