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What should my contractor do during the Preconstruction Phase?

Feb 7

What should my contractor do during the Preconstruction Phase?

You've finished the architectural design phase for your custom-built home. Now it's time to get into the preconstruction phase.

A well-organized custom builder will ensure that your pre-construction phase is full of progress. Some of this you will see and take part in, while others will be completed behind closed doors. The list of things your builder must do is extensive during this time. There are HOA and city permits needed, utility orders to be placed, possible constructability concerns to solve. Builders risk insurance is required to quote. The project schedule will be developed, the budget to refine, subcontractor arrangements to execute, and key trades that must be lined out.

Let's discuss some important items that your custom builder should complete during this time.

Create (and Keep) a Pre Construction Timeline

You should have a preconstruction timeline created by your custom builder. It really comes down to builder accountability. It is important that your builder has a system in place to make sure each phase of their project succeeds. You have a high chance that they already have a schedule with targets deadlines to help their team complete their pre-construction tasks. If your builder is not already using internal processes, you need to make sure that you have a clear expectation about the organization of your project. Asking for a preconstruction schedule will help.

One of the almost 60 line items in our Pre Construction Checklist is creating a pre-construction schedule. This checklist is used for all our projects. Each home and every location is different so each pre-construction timeline may differ. However, most include deadlines.

  • Completion of structural engineering (and possibly civil if required in HOA/city).
  • A comprehensive construction budget must be created. There are multiple deadlines to accomplish this multi-step task.
  • Completion of various surveys, drainage, and MEP plans are completed. Required by HOA or the city
  • Submission to HOAs for approval (and an expected approval date).
  • Submission to the city regarding building permit (and expected permit dates)
  • Homeowners can create a comprehensive selections plan
  • Guideline for homeowners regarding key items
  • The creation of a detailed construction plan
  • Execution de sub-accords
  • Kick-off meeting with key subs
  • Preliminary site work (tree and temporary fencing removals, etc.

Pre-construction timeline dates will often be TARGET deadlines. The most important aspect of this step is how the builder organizes his team and assigns responsibilities to make your home ready for construction.

Provide clear selections

This is an important decision. Making sure you make all the right choices is key to smooth construction. If you are able to give your builder a detailed list, they should be able and willing to help you make the right choices before starting construction. It will make the selections process easier and less overwhelming for both you and your interior designer.

It is essential that your custom-builder has a process in place for gathering selections from and procuring materials. This will ensure that construction does not stall. Many builders depend too heavily on the expertise of interior designers in order to complete the selections process. The builder only provides plans at the beginning and then asks for specific options from the homeowner and designer. This makes the process more chaotic, frustrating, and stressful than it has to be. If the builder provides a complete selections list during the pre-construction phase, homeowners and designers will know well in advance what selections will be necessary throughout construction. Better yet, the builder can send regular updates to highlight which selections will be important next.

The following are the essential selections you must make BEFORE you dig into your home:

  • Exterior doors and windows
  • Exterior materials/colors/details
  • Roof
  • Appliances
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Interior beams
  • Fireplace details
  • Types of interior designs
  • Floor plug locations
  • Mechanized shades locations, if desired

These selections should be made quickly as they can have an impact on both the architectural design and on the plumbing groundwork, electric plan, or foundation of your home. All this is done very early in the building process. For example, the height of the foundation can be affected by the type of interior flooring. This is why it is so important to know where carpet/wood/tile will be installed in order to properly prepare the foundation. You should also make these choices early as some products can take a while to arrive.

Make a Project Schedule

Before you begin construction, it is vital that your custom builders create a unique schedule. It is a blueprint that both the builder and their subcontractors can follow and which they will be accountable for. You can miss material ordering deadlines, skip steps, make it more difficult to coordinate on-site, and sub-stacking can become more difficult. All these mistakes can lead to construction delays.

Discussing the project schedule with your custom-builder can help ensure they are organized, accountable, and on track for your project. You can also see how construction will proceed through each phase.

The speed with which your builder goes through this phase, as well as how many selections you make before breaking ground, will greatly impact the flow of your home-building adventure. Best of luck!


Cedar Park Home Remodelers

Cedar Park, Tx

(737) 307 8281