What does preconstruction mean? Stages and activities

What does pre construction mean? Here’s what you need to know about what preconstruction is, what it involves, and its benefits.

What does preconstruction mean? Stages and activities

Preconstruction is arguably the most important phase of the construction process, determining a project’s timeline and resulting profit margins. With so much weight placed on the proper execution of this phase and with how much it can contribute to a project’s success (or failure), it’s crucial to get a handle on what exactly it encompasses.

So what does pre construction mean? Here’s what you need to know about what preconstruction is, what it involves, and its benefits.

What is preconstruction?

Preconstruction is the phase prior to construction in which preparatory planning is conducted and a project is assessed in terms of feasibility. A strategic plan is developed during this phase that maps out how the construction project will be built.

In terms of a definitive preconstruction meaning, this phase is defined by these elements:

  • First contact between owners and contractors
  • Clarification about the project as a whole and its scope
  • The acknowledgement of potential problems
  • Timeline development and scheduling
  • Cost and expense estimations

Why preconstruction is important

The preconstruction phase is crucial because it determines whether a construction project is feasible. In some cases, the work that clients and prospective owners envision isn’t physically possible or would exceed expected costs.

It’s during this phase that the client is informed on what’s needed to make the project a concrete possibility, whether that’s changing elements of the project or securing more funding. In other words, preconstruction helps clients decide whether they want to continue with the project with reasonable adjustments. The client gets a more realistic picture of the project before any actual work is carried out.

A more comprehensive outline of the project is developed for construction teams to then follow.

What is determined during preconstruction?

Now that we’ve gone over the definition of preconstruction, you may be wondering, “What are preconstruction services, and what do they encompass?”.

Scope of work

The first thing preconstruction services help with determining is the project’s overall scope of work—i.e., what the construction project will consist of. In terms of the project’s scope, it’s best to investigate what the client wants to accomplish, with objectives clearly stated.


A budget should then be discussed. How much does the client have available to have the project completed? Is it realistic given the amount of time and resources needed to build the structure? It’s crucial to factor in design elements, as this can significantly impact expenses.

At this stage, it makes sense to also devise a way to keep track of costs and come up with a way to cut back on expenses wherever possible without compromising quality.

The project’s designated team

Preconstruction meanings often focus on the activities and costs involved, but it’s during this phase that the project’s team is also decided. The selected team members designated to work on the construction project can be the difference between its eventual success or failure and will impact how it’s completed.

The project’s scope should help with deciding who will be put on a given project, as it will determine the amount of people required to complete a certain number of required tasks.

It’s likely that you’ll need a variety of different skill sets on board (as construction projects often require). Establishing base design and construction teams should be the first priority. Afterwards, you can think more about what subcontractors will be needed to accomplish project objectives.

Methods of communication and information exchange

This factor of preconstruction is often overlooked, but it’s arguably one of the most important in ensuring that a project is properly executed. The large scale and complexity of construction projects mean sufficient communication is a must. Effective communication makes it more likely that issues will be addressed in a timely manner and ensures that client expectations are met.

A communication plan should be created discussing what methods for information exchange will be used, with channels for correspondence specified.

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What are the stages of preconstruction?

When thinking about the answer to the question “What is the pre construction phase?”, it’s important to look at the various stages of preconstruction. Here are the stages as follows.

Client consultation

Preconstruction first starts with client consultation. Contractors during this initial stage develop a greater understanding of what the client is looking for in terms of their project’s end result. Requests for Information (RFIs) are therefore issued, and relevant parties look over documents provided by owners.

In some cases, there may also be job site inspections, especially if there’s an already-existing structure that needs to be torn down or reworked.

Defining project scope

After a better idea of the project has been established, the project’s scope then needs to be defined. There may be cases where a client’s expectations need to be reconfigured, as the project’s requirements may not line up with what’s feasible.

The contractor during this phase will have to work to get the project’s scope as close as possible to what the client wants while still ensuring that it’s realistic and able to be executed.

Cost estimation

In terms of defining “What is pre construction?”, one of the most crucial aspects involves dealing with a project’s expenses. This stage involves estimating the project’s total cost to cement whether the project is financially-viable and worth pursuing.

Cost estimation may be carried out by gathering quotes from suppliers, looking at historical data and information from previous similar projects, and taking into consideration the expected amount of profit earned from the project.

Problem assessment

A key factor in determining feasibility is assessing possible issues. This stage involves identifying challenges that may crop up before and during the project, whether it’s due to practical issues or problems outside of anyone’s control (e.g., industry-wide labor shortages or economic conditions). Complications may be due to local or environmental regulations, for example.

By bringing forth these possible issues, solutions and adjustments can then be proposed to make a project fit a more achievable mold. Once an agreement has been reached, the project can then proceed.

Permit acquisition

The last stage of the preconstruction process involves the acquisition of any required permits to allow the project to begin. Oftentimes, though, this occurs in tandem with the other stages, as any delays in obtaining permits can result in setbacks that prevent the project from happening or force it to be stopped mid-way.

The benefits of preconstruction

Thinking about “What does pre construction mean?” means considering the various benefits that the proper execution of preconstruction offers. Investing time and resources in ensuring that preconstruction is sufficiently carried out results in the following benefits:

  • Getting a clearer vision of the project in terms of its end result and the process of delivery
  • Locking in a timeline for the project and its expected date of completion
  • Addressing client worries and clarifying factors that would previously be unknown
  • The potential to save on expenses and increase profit margins by optimizing resources

Preconstruction is, in essence, the foundation of a construction project, as it sets expectations so issues can be anticipated and avoided beforehand.

Use Bridgit Bench to better manage your precon team

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What does pre construction mean?”, you might then be asking yourself, “What is the best way to carry out preconstruction?”. Many make use of technological solutions to assist with cost estimation, communication, and labor management.

For planning preconstruction people, Bridgit Bench is definitely a tool worth considering.

Bridgit Bench is an all-in-one workforce management solution that allows you to more efficiently oversee construction personnel and workers, which also includes preconstruction teams. With Bench, you can map out your precon teams more strategically and make more informed decisions to maintain a strong utilization rate across all teams while avoiding spreading anyone too thin.
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Michel Richer

Michel Richer is the Manager of Content and Communications at Bridgit. He got his start in the construction industry at an early age with a local restoration company. Michel is driven to propel the construction industry forward by helping to eliminate outdated, ineffective processes.

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