Pre-construction Phase

Pre-construction Phase

The construction phase or design phase is considered as the period in which the contractor or builder takes full control of the overall construction plan and how to carry out its patchwork. This phase is central to the success of the entire project. This is where the entire project’s success is built upon. It is the starting point that will nail success throughout the remainder of the project. This is the point where review, evaluation, and discussion take place. Conventionally, the pre-construction phase involves performing the necessary preliminary planning and engineering in order to fully define the whole process, identify probable problems and analyze cost impact.  In this phase, the contractor can entirely define the formal approach for developing project scope, schedule to execute the construction on time and in control and initiate cost as early as possible with the aim of efficiently using available resources and money. Pre-construction consequently assists the owner to determine if the project is feasible or not. If it is indeed feasible, the pre-construction phase defines the entire scope of work enough to determine the total cost and possible schedule of the project.

The contractor develops a thorough and detailed process of understanding the entirety of the project, outlines a viable strategy and convenes a team with a heart full of dedication and aim to get the job done in time. It is imperative that the team develop a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the main business goals and position the project goals correspondingly.

It is vital to meet the client and discuss the whole process in order to properly lay out the possible total cost involved and the totality of the project. This way, the contractor would have a better sense of whom he or she is working for. This is an excellent avenue for finding out the objectives and resolving any possible queries that the owner may have. Next to this would be a definite and plausible schedule, project scope and cost estimate for the owner. 

The monetary estimation is dependent on the accuracy that the owner requires. Getting the owner on the same page with regard to the proposed budget is essential. Also, the right overall pre-construction planning can be the defining point between an on-time, on-budget project that meets the owner’s needs and specifications. The intent to work with the project’s owner is to deliver a satisfactory project that meets the owner’s specifications. In addition to the monetary aspect of the project, the pre-construction phase enables the construction team to design, evaluate, study, schedule, and review.

Moreover, it is the task of the contractor to dig deeper into the plan and specifications to determine the most economical, viable and efficient way to execute the project plan. It’s an on-going process from the design stage to the whole duration of the pre-construction phase with the aim of producing quality contract documents as well as identifying possible areas of conflict and problems which may affect the proposed schedule and budget.

Lastly, the pre-construction phase is all about well-defined scopes, good plans and an experienced team which will pave the way for a successful construction project.

A Guide to All the Phases of a Construction Project

A Guide to All the Phases of a Construction Project

A construction project is a complex project as it comes in layers that involve a lot of processes, from that of the actual design and construction to that of dealing with uncertainties, legalities, and people.

To simplify the phases from all the complexity, here are the following phases that will be undergone in a construction project:

Feasibility and Design

This phase covers the design stage in which aesthetics, safety, building codes, and regulations go hand in hand. The feasibility of the design is also studied on this stage to ensure that the design is plausible and that future issues and problems may be avoided early on in the design stage of the construction project, making future phases easier to navigate. In this phase, all possible diversification in the vision and idea are welcome to challenge the current design to promote innovation and have it easier on the next stages.

Preconstruction

This phase begins when the design is finalized and when the contractor has been chosen by the client through the means of bidding, or some other way. Here, the teams and members are assigned to their specific responsibilities. It could be that the construction project manager is assigned in this phase or beforehand even before the designing. Then, the site investigation is done to ensure that the steps that are to be followed will be sufficient and efficient for the project and everyone.

Procurement

The procurement phase is the phase where the materials and equipment needed to complete the project are acquired or purchased. So here, from purchasing supplies to acquiring subcontractors, these are the main tasks of the team. Subcontractors may be acquired through bidding or depending on the discrepancy of the main contractor and client. And in cases where the demands are not met, some design changes may have to be considered; to avoid such, this must be considered in the design and feasibility phase thoroughly as well.

Construction

The construction phase begins with that of identifying the basics from the schedule needed to be followed to the number of subcontractors needed and obviously the finalization of payments and such for the coming progress, after which the actual construction begins. In this phase, minor issues may be encountered, but mostly they are handled quite easily if the design and feasibility phase was thoroughly gone through.

Occupancy

In this phase, the owner, client, or what is supposed to be in the building moves into the project, and the warranty period begins. Also, the contractors and subcontractors will have to respond if issues are encountered with regard to the construction as per the contract that they had.

Occupancy at the same time will work as a form of advertisement and portfolio for the construction project manager, and here he/she must be of good terms with the client as into closing the deal so that bidding will almost hardly come as an option in the next coming projects.

What do you think are the needed things for the construction project manager to get ready for during the occupation phase?

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The Anatomy of a Construction Project

The Anatomy of a Construction Project

A construction project may contain more than the following parts that will be given within this blog, but for most of the cases, the ones that we will be tackling are the major limbs that will always be part of a construction project.

The Project

None of these other parts would be relevant without the actual project. This is the most crucial and important part of everything else. This may be put in mind before the actual design and acquisition of the project if biddings and proposals are of concern.

The core of the whole construction project is the project itself.

The Client

A project will always have a client. It is of utmost importance to know the client as it is to understand the required requirements for the project. The client is either a person or a group that initiated or requested the project. A client may be the one to approach you with a project, or it is you who will have to approach the client to submit a proposal for a project.

The client will be either hands-on or not in interacting with you and the project, or he/she/they may give the whole responsibility to the construction project manager, but in all cases, the client must be timely updated of the status of the project.

The Designers

This is the part of the construction project where visions are brought to reality through the scrutiny of great minds. In here, the floor varies from architects, engineers, to even artists from time to time. This group may exist even before the acquisition of the project and most of the time will continue to supervise the construction to make sure that the vision is played out as planned and designed.

The Contractor

The contractor is the team that will handle the resources needed in the construction. They may be responsible for both the people acquired for the construction and the supplies and resources needed or at least one of either, for there may be more than one contractor per project. Contractors are acquired either within the design phase or after, depending on the situation. Contractors, in most cases, also bid for the projects which in turn pair them with a construction project manager or vice versa. There are also cases where the construction project manager may come from or with the contractor.

The Construction Project Manager

The one who manages everything from the ground up. He/she must have any form of background when it comes to construction as a prerequisite, but one of the most important aspects that is to be highlighted is that he/she as a construction project manager must know how to deal with people from the bottom to the top of the pyramid. A balanced construction project manager does not only rely on theories alone but also considers the thoughts and opinions of his/her team members from the top to the bottom of the pyramid.

So those are the most common and basic anatomical parts of a construction project. In your projects what extra parts do you have?

Challenges Encountered by Construction Managers

Challenges Encountered by Construction Managers

There are two types of challenges that the construction manager encounters.

The most basic and obvious one, as per category, is the technical aspect of constructions and management, design, resources, biddings, and unpredictable circumstances.

The most difficult challenge to manage of all that is encountered by construction managers, however, are the very social aspects of the involved transactions, meaning the people that they themselves must have to encounter. Of course, there will be easy social transactions; it is the difficult ones that are really difficult. Imagine you need one company as a supplier for a very important resource to your current project and there are two choices: one with a more feasible location and pricing and the other which is not as feasible and not as affordable; seems like a simple choice, right? But here is the catch: the owner of the former is known to arguably cheat on clients that are not “close” to his favor. Either he would mix low-quality items into the ordered batch or something else, but let us just say that this is the case. So what will your approach be?

Your answer might be different from mine, but hopefully, you did it with a thought on possible future transactions and encounters.

The solution is just knowing how your attitude should be when encountering these challenges, for they can come as a learning experience for future references or either as a very terrible haunting decision. Learning to be mindful, empathic, and calm during encounters of these kinds can help you and your team make the right decisions. As much as possible, do not make or take the decision as a personal thing, and be more critical but still take note of social implications.

Sometimes it is best to look from the bottom of the pyramid for solutions, for these people in terms are very familiar with the effects of the problems, and you might just be surprised of the wisdom that they might have when it comes to finding solutions to your biggest problem, so do not be afraid to ask, and always see through that you meet your team.

Of course, there are more pressing challenges that could be covered here, but those that of legal technicalities can always be passed on to your legal team (if you have one). Budgeting and cost monitoring are also a possible challenge to encounter depending on the project. Scheduling, on the other hand, is a solution turn into a problem when it is taken for granted by the team and taken so lightly that it almost is being ignored (note that this practice could promote more issues in the further future). Again, if we dissect these problems and challenges, we will see that the human factors of the transactions, e.g. disregard of schedule, disregard of duty, and personal conflicts of interests, are the leading cause of them. So here, we propose that the approach to be done should be more on the social and personal side in which the managers play as leaders who instill leadership values to all of the members of the team, ensuring that everyone ticks in a positive way, reducing future encounters of similar challenges, and, if so encountered, knowing the right attitude and correct approach. Is not that all that we need?

Construction Management Step-By-Step Guide and Best Practices

Construction Management Step-By-Step Guide and Best Practices

Starting Up

If you want to be a construction manager, first of all, you need to understand construction. Start on site, and understand the process from the ground up. I think that this should be a given, for although your theories might feel spot on, there is still that need to truly see and feel the atmosphere of the site for you to truly be effective.

Make Mistakes (But Not Deliberately, Obviously)

Well, yes, make mistakes, but do learn from them, and be sure to remember them and their solution on your next projects. There is so much growth in taking mistakes this way, as learning opportunities that could only make you better as a manager and as a person. Of course, as much as you can, you must avoid them and counter all the possible mistakes pre-construction and during planning, but do not be frustrated by those that you do encounter; learn to calm down and take note.

Develop the Scope

First, you have to know and understand on what ground you are standing in, both literally and figuratively. The identification of the scope and the limitations of the project means the identification of the specificities and the overall direction of the construction, for which without identifying these scopes and limitations, the project will be more prone to changes and future mistakes. Develop this first and stick to what is in it all throughout the processes and then finalize. Here, the resources must highly be taken of note.

Manage the Design Phase

Now that we have the scope all settled in, we can manage the design around this. Managing this area is in terms of just making sure that the design specifications are within the set scope and limitations. This is where most of the development takes place. A good area to encounter and overcome mistakes, so in this step, is to not be afraid of making changes and seeing what is or what could be better. Taking inspiration from other projects can come in handy once you handle issues within this step.

Advertise the Project

Once all that is done, the advertisement and proposals come in, which of course can be handled by a different team other than the main construction and engineering crew. This is more in marketing and social connections, so do not be afraid to find help beyond just construction; external inputs in this step may be more of a necessity than that of the other steps.

Manage the Contractor Up to Completion

Mistakenly viewed most of the time as the only actual management done when it comes to construction management, this step is indeed the most critical and the biggest play, as this will seal the deal and ultimately, in goodwill, aid you into future projects.

In here, the actual constructions are done, and skills are put to the test. Have this step done perfectly and the next project will come in easier that you may not even need to advertise or bid for one.

Construction Management Principles with Real-Life Insights

Construction Management Principles with Real-Life Insights

Let us keep this as open to interpretation and conversation as possible. This is, after all, a blog of “real-life insights”. The following will be the principles of construction management that we shall dig through in perspectives:

Conception

Before everything can begin, a story of origin must be told. This portion is more about the construction of ideas from inspirations and visions that may come from all corners of the world. This is the spark that will light up the whole project: the do-or-die phase of the whole project. Here confronting ideas and concepts on what the project should be or could be about is key in developing something “innovative”, a work of art, if I must say. Consisting of brainstorms and debates, here the team must put value in their diversity and learn to create and make out of what is thrown on the table, which technically at this phase could be anything.

Planning

Planning is essential in every kind of project, and obviously, in construction projects, it is what is more important. In this area, we highlight the design phase, and here, most of the plan will now be under the constraint of the concept or vision, meaning that even if there is still plenty of room for change, it shall be in the benefit of the concept and not going too far away from that.
Here, the team is presented with the concept or idea, and with this, they will pave the visible path into what will soon be something great, or at least something within the scope of their concept.

Execution

Ah, when you feel that everything is all laid out perfectly and that all the plans are in perfect alignment and then you relax for a bit as everything is going to be executed as planned but then something in a form of an issue came. Execution can be flawless, but rarely that truly is; most of the time an issue or two will arise, and this is with the perspective that the plan was all well laid out and “bulletproof”. Of course, it will rarely come with an exaggeration if the plan indeed was well done.
The key tip here is to be calm and confident with your plans but not have your guard down as a team and to also not be in panic when something worse happens.

Tracking the Progress

You cannot be lost if you keep track. Sounds like an obvious statement, but still commonly this is where the issues arise when it comes to the actual length of the construction, for in progress you must keep track of your resources well, and that includes your people, finances, and materials. As a perspective, lots of the mistakes that startups do is to have all plans laid out perfectly but forgetting to track down the minor details that may change along the development of the project, may that be in relation with finances or the relationships within the team to something as radical as coffee breaks, as major changes in minor things could grow into an issue in the bigger picture of things when ignored.
So indeed, if you track your progress (including trivial things, e.g. work journals), it will be easy to narrow down and identify the source of your future issues.

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