Talking to non-construction folks about preconstruction always comes with the question “What is preconstruction?” First, preconstruction is the foundation of the building process. Nothing gets built without due diligence and preconstruction is a general contractor’s due diligence. Second, preconstruction is not one thing. So answering this question may be easier to state what preconstruction is not.
If anyone says “preconstruction is estimating” you have our permission to thump them on the nose. Preconstruction includes estimating. It also includes scheduling, data mining, cost history, determining scope, sourcing building materials, subcontractor coordination, budget conversations, bidding … it is essentially planning to build a project.
Linear and Singular
The preconstruction profession is an adventure for the adrenaline junkie construction professional. The preconstruction professionals that Beck Technology works with on a daily basis have their hands in multiple projects at the same time and all are under tight deadlines. The projects all have various requirements, due dates, and nuances. Preconstruction is organized chaos moving at light speed.
Oodles of data does not mean oodles of data entry. Preconstruction has so much meaty data to use during decision-making processes that you’d think preconstruction professionals spend their time only entering the data. On the contrary! DESTINI Estimator users are mining data, picking up on cost trends, and analyzing information at record speed so their companies are making the best project decisions.
A Necessary Evil
Preconstruction is essential! Imagine you are going to build a dog house for the first time. Do you run to the hardware store and start buying tools and supplies right away? No. You create a plan, a drawing, and maybe do some research to figure out how much it will cost. Now, amplify that dog house project to a 1.5 million-square-foot healthcare campus that is being funded by city budget and private industry money. Plus, there will be design revisions, subcontractors, suppliers, clearing of land, etc. Preconstruction is there to make everyone aware of the resources needed to make the project become reality.
Preconstruction has a lot riding on its shoulders to win work and ensure a construction project will be profitable for the company. However, there are an incredible amount of variables in winning work as well as in construction company profit. Preconstruction is not a scapegoat for these variables. Preconstruction is making the best decisions with the information given to them and sometimes their hands are tied because of inadequate tools to get the job done.
Preconstruction is a lot of things but it is not the items mentioned above. If you are a preconstruction professional and you get asked what you do it may feel like a big lift to explain it all. You could simply state “I create the foundations of the built world” and you’d be right on the money.