When a business or county outgrows its current facility and needs to build or renovate to keep up with demand, the idea of planning a building project is daunting. Many project owners haven’t ventured into the commercial construction industry before, or they lack the time and resources to ensure everything is covered and that the project remains financially solvent.
For a large building project, going it alone isn’t an option. That’s why enlisting the professional help of a construction manager that provides pre-construction services for your unique industry is a critical first step.
What are pre-construction services?
There’s a vast amount of planning that takes place before the actual construction of a commercial facility begins. Pre-construction services are offered as a first step in planning a project and provide details on everything from estimating, to design, to scope – and everything in between. A good construction manager will help the project owner know what to expect and when, by providing a step-by-step roadmap for getting the project done.
The following are some of the top pre-construction services you should expect.
1. Existing condition analysis
Not all projects are built from the ground up; many companies renovate or add on to an existing structure. In these cases, pre-existing conditions that may impact design and structural integrity need to be understood and accounted for to help determine if a complete replacement, major renovation, or a minimal renovation is needed. If renovations are in order, the direction, load calculations, material strength, roof junctures, piping, and a host of other building systems must be integrated seamlessly. A thorough analysis must be conducted to provide a comprehensive bid package and avoid costly surprises once demolition or construction begins.
2. Building information modeling (BIM)
Some say a picture is worth a thousand words, so imagine how much a 3D model of a proposed structure is worth to a project owner. Building information modeling (BIM) not only involves the creation of a 3D model to visualize what a project will look like, it plays a crucial role in the planning, design, building, and operational phases of the facility. Through the use of intelligent software, the entire lifecycle of a project is simulated to form decisions about structural design, MEP systems, and construction. This coordination can proactively define trouble areas and help reduce or eliminate issues during construction which saves time and money
3. Constructability analysis and review
The design process is one of the more exciting phases of a project, but without proper oversight, there could be potential design flaws or problems that go undetected. What looks good on paper or a computer simulation doesn’t always translate to the actual construction of a structure. Being proactive in identifying potential constructability issues early on will reduce the risks of cost overruns and missing deadlines down the road.
4. Cost estimating and control
Determining a budget for a commercial building project is no small feat and requires an experienced estimator. It’s their job to assess every aspect of a project, from materials and labor, to equipment, subcontractors, permits, and more. From there, they need to provide a reliable cost estimate of what it will take to complete the project according to specifications.
5. Scheduling, phasing, and logistics
Developing and coordinating a construction schedule and all related activities involves hundreds of logistical considerations and moving parts. Estimating, bid releases, meetings, regulations, permitting, deliveries, storage, subcontractors, inspections, and a host of other elements need to be accounted for. An experienced construction manager can use their skills and expertise to more accurately determine milestones for coordinating every aspect and accomplishing each phase of construction.
6. Bid packaging
Multiple subcontractors and vendors will likely be required to work on your project, and it’s important that they have the necessary specifications to accurately submit their bids. As part of the pre-construction process, any pertinent construction documents are packaged together to identify the scope of work that will be required.
Enough detail needs to be provided for prospective trade contractors to confidently provide their bids without having to guess on any requirements. A construction manager will review bids and provide summation to the owner for approval prior to procurement.
7. Cash flow analysis
Since a commercial building project can span months or even years, ensuring financial solvency throughout that time can feel like an unknown. A cash flow analysis helps establish a payment schedule to ensure that all parties can operate with an appropriate level of funding. Various costs for materials, services, suppliers, and labor will be incurred throughout a project’s lifecycle, and knowing when and how much those costs are is critical for determining cash flow for project owners, contractors, subcontractors, and supply chains.
8. Material procurement
Obtaining all the needed materials for a commercial project often involves leveraging a specialized supply chain. Take, for example, a healthcare facility that requires building standards and acceptable materials that promote patient health. Likewise, a jail facility will require technologies and materials to ensure security and safety of inmates and workers. For a construction project, procurement goes beyond just acquiring materials and goods to complete a job, it requires a continuous understanding of market prices to utilize the most cost effective materials. Working with a construction manager who specializes in your industry can help ensure your facility’s materials and construction meet your unique needs and that it remains in compliance.
9. Risk management
The construction industry has inherent risks that need to be mitigated throughout the design and building process. Worker safety and reducing hazards are often the first risks that many associate with construction, but there are many others that need to be managed along the way. Ensuring that contracts are written up properly, all regulations are abided by, and that the design, materials, and jobsite comply with expectations and standards is critical to avoid litigation, fines, or costly mistakes. Having proper insurance is crucial and can help in some circumstances, but never having to rely on it is the goal.
10. Subcontractor pre-qualification and selection
An important aspect of risk management is ensuring that everyone who touches your project has the experience and know-how to complete their tasks to your satisfaction. A qualified construction manager that provides pre-construction services will have a vast network of equally qualified subcontractors and professional service providers at their disposal. Their supply chain will be well-vetted and have a strong record of past performance. Pre-qualifying and building relationships with subcontractors takes time, but is worth the effort and helps keep your project on time and on budget.
As you can see, the foundation of your building project’s success relies on much more than brick and mortar. When considering which construction manager to work with, be sure to ask about each of these pre-construction services and others they may provide. The building experts at The Samuels Group are here to talk through what’s involved and are eager to help you take the next steps. Get in touch today.