The preconstruction phase of a project is rooted in collaboration, transparency, and communication. It’s also where you foster trusting relationships, set goals, and, of course, make money. That said, it’s also the stage most laden with pitfalls.
However, by following a set of tried-and-true best practices and empowering yourself with the right tools for the job, you can avoid miscommunications, win more proposals, and keep your clients happy. From minimizing risks and alleviating stakeholder concerns to maximizing value and improving project quality, streamlining your preconstruction process comes with a myriad of benefits.
To help develop a quality preconstruction process for your team, Join, an industry-leading preconstruction collaboration software, highlights seven best practices you should follow to ensure a successful build.
As Simon Sinek asserts, “start with why.” It takes a lot of planning and pivoting to streamline the preconstruction process. But the effort is well worth it. In fact, research in the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management suggests that contractors who carefully identify work tasks and plan the steps to completion during the preconstruction process realize an average profit margin of 23 percent, while their poor-planning counterparts see an average profit margin of -3 percent.
As you probably know, a project’s success is often determined in the preconstruction process. If you’re looking for a way to reduce headaches, save resources, and exceed your customers’ expectations, we have some ideas.
The preconstruction journey isn’t one you can traverse alone. Whether you’re reviewing budgets with owners or delegating tasks to subcontractors, you need to be able to collaborate and problem-solve with everyone on your team. In order to do so, it’s critical to foster healthy working relationships.
Build a strong foundation with stakeholders by using preconstruction tools that promote:
By getting everyone involved and aligned with goals, you'll minimize unexpected hurdles and better prepare your team for the few inevitable pivots they'll need to make.
There is a fear that automation will eliminate jobs in the preconstruction sector. But the truth is, it frees up teams to take on more work and to allocate more time to critical projects. If your team is still burning up hours manually collecting and updating data, embrace technology that does it for you. Automation also reduces costs, removes bottlenecks, and empowers stakeholders to make smarter decisions.
Many preconstruction teams are using an array of disjointed technology—Microsoft Excel, Google Workspace, Smartsheets—you name it. The more places you’re stashing data and information, the higher the risk of making a critical error. When you store everything in one place, you’ll not only boost efficiency, but you’ll minimize oversights.
In a remote-working world, it’s important to leverage the power of cloud-based preconstruciton platforms as much as possible. If you’re still faxing documents and printing proposals, the people who need that information most may not have access to it. Ensure your data is securely accessible at any time, from anywhere.
When it comes to technology, people often hesitate to use new software for fear of the learning curve that can cost costly errors. To put those fears to rest, find a user-friendly online preconstruction platform with solid customer support and good documentation.
While there are many seasoned professionals in the construction industry, not all of them are used to a digital process. Be sure each stakeholder has a good understanding of how your preconstruction software works. A quick screen-sharing demo session with those accessing the platform can ensure everyone knows where to find key data and how to use it effectively.
Nobody has the secret sauce for a “perfect” preconstruction process—and that’s okay. What’s important is that you’re consistently auditing areas of strength and weakness. To get an objective view of your process, consider asking yourself:
Include your team in the process by asking how they feel about the work they’re doing and the ways in which they’re getting it done. Even completing a traditional SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis with feedback from those doing the work will help fine tune your process
First, do your research and connect with owners to determine basic budget parameters. Building a project on inaccurate figures wastes a significant amount of time and resources during preconstruction.
You should also have a firm understanding of building codes, regulations, operating hours (each city and state is different), and conditions for government approval. You may want to consider hiring a planning and permit professional who specializes in your city, county, and state.
From here, you'll know what permits you need to have and local ordinances you need to follow. Having all the correct documentation in place during the preconstruction process is critical to the project's overall success.
Finally, consider site logistics. Determine where the construction team will stash materials and machinery, how to transport oversized cargo, and when each stakeholder needs to arrive on site.
During the preconstruction process, it’s critical that everyone, from designers and engineers to contractors and vendors, collaborate on defining milestones and deadlines. Depending on your city, county, and state, you’ll need to set realistic schedules to acquire the proper documentation to start the build. The right preconstruction collaboration software can help you keep all of these deadlines in check.
There are a whole lot of cooks in the proverbial kitchen during the preconstruction process, and each stakeholder will have their own concerns. Furthermore, everyone has a specific set of responsibilities (or at least they should).
Typically, contractors use Excel to determine target value design (TVD). While it's decent for crunching numbers, it leaves little room for communication. Instead, find a preconstruction collaboration software that provides:
Using a technology-based solution also ensures that everyone stays in the loop by receiving alerts when changes are made or deadlines are coming up. Join, for example, also helps contractors and their clients discover untapped value.
If you’re looking for a collaborative preconstruction software that streamlines communication, eliminates data silos, and simplifies your workflows through the entire lifecycle of your project, reach out to Join today. Know, too, you can integrate Join with Autodesk and Procore. Simply put: it's the bridge between different workflows and software.