The Importance of Pre-construction Planning in Commercial Projects

The proper planning and preparation is necessary for the success of any type of project. This is especially true in the commercial construction sector, as the increased focus on energy efficient buildings amid labor shortages and rising material prices has created a number of challenges for designers and contractors that weren’t necessarily present a decade ago. Failure to plan for these factors can result in costly rework, missed deadlines, and even litigation that throws a budget completely out of whack. The good news is that these challenges are definitely surmountable with the correct attention to detail. With this in mind, keep reading for a breakdown of the importance of pre-construction planning in commercial projects. 

Helps Identify the Most Cost Effective Materials

It is no secret that the cost of building materials has skyrocketed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. And while upward price pressure is starting to slow some, the best that most industry insiders can say is that prices won’t go up “as fast” in 2023 as they have in recent years.

Therefore, shopping for the most economical material sources is one of the most important aspects of pre-construction planning. Even a few cents per square foot can add up on sprawling commercial projects. Explore every option for wholesale flooring, roofing, and siding to ensure economies of scale without sacrificing material quality. Also explore innovative just-in-time delivery platforms to ensure that no materials are left sitting around the construction site and lost due to theft or weather damage. 

Better Allocation of Resources

The key to any successful commercial construction project is to secure a high-quality output via the most economical deployment of inputs possible. While affordable materials is obviously a great place to start toward this end, it is far from the only consideration. It involves everything from communication to transportation, deployment of skilled tradespeople to machinery.

As such, it is a great idea to invest in the highest quality BIM software so that all stakeholders are on the same page and have instant access to important project documents. It is also important to build a strong access road infrastructure to ensure that all delivery and waste removal vehicles can most effectively do their jobs. It is also critical to guarantee that the right contractors have the right machinery to do their jobs at the right times. For example, there is no use in having the best insulation for exterior walls if there isn’t a crane available to hang it on multi-story structures. Likewise, there is no point in having an expert in terrazzo flooring if they are tied up doing other types of menial tasks. Through proper pre-construction planning, you can better allocate precious resources and guarantee that none of these inefficiencies ever occur.

Guarantees Adequate Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is another critical component of pre-construction planning.

What is risk assessment?

It is basically taking a big-picture view of anything that could go wrong on a construction site and having a contingency plan in place in case it does. 

For example, a commercial roofing project without adequate risk assessment may look at labor, machinery, insulation, railing, paver, and metal deck cost to come up with a quote.

However, what happens if workers get sick? What about if machinery breaks down and you have to rent a replacement on short order? What are the chances of bad weather delaying construction and/or damaging a partially completed project?

Clearly, risk assessment is a vital component of pre-construction planning and can help contractors come up with more accurate budgets to promise more realistic expectations to clients. 

Enhances the Safety of the Project

Arguably the most important aspect of pre-construction planning is to guarantee the safety of the job site. 

Even the most ambitious and profitable ideas will be immediately shut down in the event of a disaster, with costly litigation threatening the ongoing solvency of the firm.

Some safety considerations to take during the pre-construction phase include:

  • Adequate fencing and signage to keep pedestrians out of the work zone
  • Mobile storage units to make PPE easily accessible to workers
  • Removal of all debris and timber to reduce fire hazard
  • Implementing adequate drainage to lower the risk of flood damage

It can be difficult for the untrained eye to recognize all potential safety concerns at a proposed job site. Therefore, it is a great idea to partner with a trained commercial safety inspector throughout the pre-construction planning process to ensure that you have all bases covered. 

Take the Proper Steps in Pre-Construction Planning Today

Pre-construction planning is arguably more important than ever in 2023. Labor shortages, rising prices, and effective implementation of technology are just a few of the factors architects and contractors have to balance. For more information on how to properly plan any type of commercial construction project, explore the resources at Poli Construction for ideas and inspiration today!

Written by Brian Jeffries

Brian Jeffries is a freelance writer that loves sharing his knowledge and expertise on construction projects and materials. He lives in Winter Park, Florida where he enjoys spending time with his wife and working on projects in his spare time. Brian’s work as a freelance writer can be found on Building Product Advisor, a construction industry resource site.

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