What are Preconstruction Services?
Preconstruction services are services offered before actual construction begins to help plan, analyse and establish needs for construction. They are aimed at educating clients on what will be needed to make the project functional and financially viable.
Typically, preconstruction services cost about $1000+ month depending on scope. They are a separate agreement from the actual construction contract, which allows for a client to gather information before committing to any construction. It also allows for a client to break the relationship with the precon contractor if the project isn’t feasible (cost or constructability) or the relationship isn’t meeting expectations.
Do I need Preconstruction Services?
Not all projects require preconstruction services, but they can be extremely valuable for more complex or complicated projects. Getting a contractor involved early on in the process will help clients guide the project along from a constructability lens. Contractors will work with the engineers that identify systems and structural details that need attention. They then offer solutions to architects on deigning around existing conditions, which will help save time and money later in construction.
In most cases, the following items are included during the precon phase, and will help determine project feasibility. They are often provided in a hard copy via a report, and digital files to save for later review.
- Engineering Assessment – This assessment will analyse the existing conditions of the space and determine needs for the project. For example, HVAC, electric and plumbing assessments will be made to determine if they will be sufficient/work properly for the new use.
- Develop an Initial Schematic Design – Field measure existing space and produce digital files of layout. This initial layout will help clients visualize the space, ensure there is sufficient space for all equipment, furnishings, and required accesses.
- Preliminary Construction Budget – A budget will then be produced based on the schematic design and engineering assessment. This budget will be based off of comparable spaces, with estimates, and isn’t necessarily a bid. Depending on the agreement, a bid document will be prepared later based on the construction documents, and final designs. This step will also help in financing activities with lenders and banks.
- Responsibility Matrix – A responsibility matrix can then be developed to help identify deliverable by all parties when the project moves to construction. In most cases, it determines who is providing the items, and who is installing it. For some projects, the contractor, Client, and building owner are the three parties with dependent moving parts. A clear picture ensures a smooth construction project with constant communication.
- Preliminary Construction Schedule – After most of the scope is laid out, a schedule can be produced, but it will be dependent on final decisions getting made. The preliminary schedule is more of a guide to identify lead times and the sequence of construction. It can estimate days to complete each construction task and help provide a rough idea of when the project could be completed.
Construction Guidance, Knowledge, and Leadership
Along with the valuable documentation and a comprehensive report, preconstruction services gives clients a representative to guide and educate them every step of the way. A trusted contractor can help talk through options and provide recommendations for a successful project. The consultation will help you feel more comfortable with one of the most expensive pieces of opening/running a business. It will also save time over the course of the construction phase, and has proven to save money at times through value engineering, and/or prevention of issues.
Finding the right location, negotiating a good lease, and setting up a plan for construction is a make or break process for most businesses starting out. Let’t chat about your project and get started planning!
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