This article seeks to help anyone interested in planning commercial construction by outlining the basic phases the project will entail.
Each construction project, whether it be a new-build, extension or alteration, must meet a set of specific commercial demands and be tailored to suit a specific location. Nevertheless, there is a standard sequence of phases used in almost all commercial construction. An awareness of the four phases a typical commercial construction project will follow enables clients and interested parties to plan the project more effectively. Moreover, it will help them understand the progression of the project and to anticipate and avoid any possible pitfalls.
Edmonton, December 7, 2019
Planning and design
The planning and design phase involves a large number of different steps and commonly requires assessing multiple options and making numerous revisions. This stage will involve the client working closely with engineers and/or architects.
The primary objective of the planning phase is to clearly establish the main function of the construction and how this can most effectively be fulfilled. The process of design involves ensuring that external requirements, such as the surrounding environment and zoning restrictions are met while not compromising the capacity of the project to effectively fulfill its main function.
At this stage, input from the client, architects and engineers is used to determine the general nature of the construction – its footprint, dimensions and materials. From this core design concept, decisions can then be made on structural, mechanical, electrical and service aspects of the design.
Architectural plans are then prepared for the project to show the relationship between spaces and built forms. These plans should also demonstrate how the construction will enable key activities to be completed effectively. At this stage it is important that all interested parties have a chance to review the plans and suggest revisions if necessary.
Once the planning phase is completed, the client needs to present potential builders with a set of standardised working drawings for the proposed construction. In order for contractors to fully understand the details of the project, these drawings must clearly communicate the dimensions, appearance, layout and materials required for the project.
Based on the supplied project documents and specifications, potential contractors estimate the cost of material and labor costs to provide detailed bids. The competing bids need to be assessed in order to judge which contractor can supply the best route for the project. At this stage contracts need to be drawn up and signed.
Scheduling also requires documentation with a careful schedule of work drawn up to ensure the phases of construction occur in a correct and timely manner and to avoid unnecessary delays. This will also involve the organisation and management of subcontractors.
The final set of documents required are building permits. Permission for construction needs to be approved by the relevant authorities. The project cannot move on site until construction has been legally approved.
With the paperwork in place and contractors hired it is time for ‘fieldwork’. As shown below, correct scheduling is essential for successful work on-site. This is when a project manager can play a huge role in determining whether a project runs efficiently by ensuring steps are performed in a safe and timely
At times completion of the project may seem a distant prospect, however, it is important to plan for this stage as it is when payments to subcontractors will need to be dealt with. Furthermore, paperwork, such as safety or use permits need to be approved.
As can be seen from this brief overview, for the project-owner the emphasis is on getting the preparatory work done early in the life of the project. Thorough preparation can lessen involvement in the construction phases.