The 5 Phases of Construction
If you’re planning to build, it’s helpful to be familiar with the main phases of construction. Understanding the process enables you to keep up with the timeline of the project and understand the financial and legal implications of each step.
Depending on the type of construction, the phases may differ slightly. However, the basic process of every building project should be somewhat similar to each other.
To help you gain an understanding of the process, we’re going to discuss the core phases of a construction project.
- Initiation and planning
In this first phase, the project is evaluated for feasibility. The building designers look at what the owner wants from the project in terms of space, building size and rooms. This stage will determine whether the project is practical from a legal, financial or a business perspective.
Once the objectives and specifications of the building have been understood and accepted, a rough sketch is created to reflect the client’s preferences. This includes the layout, materials and design. These early planning documents will have the preliminary specifications of the building. This will allow the designers to get a sense of how much labour, material and equipment they will be needing for the project. Of course, this will also give them an estimate of how much the project will cost.
Any changes should be made as early in the process as possible. At this stage of the project, there is comparatively little cost in making alterations.
- Acquiring permits
Once the builders have decided that the project is feasible, all the necessary building permits from local, state and federal governments will need to be acquired. During this process, the council will need to evaluate whether your property adheres to city planning and zoning regulations.
Most building designers should be able to get all the necessary permits on your behalf. If you’re not sure about this, be sure to talk to your builder about the extent of their services. Acquiring permits is an incredibly complex and time-consuming process. It could cause delays if you don’t know what you’re going into.
The pre-construction phase is when the planning is finalised. This will give the builders a much more accurate sense of the materials and labour that are needed. Consequently, the builders will also be able to provide the clients with a cost estimation and a rough timeline of when the project will be completed.
This is the stage where the project is subdivided into smaller, more manageable parts. Each of these parts will be handled by a separate team. The builder might even have different contractors for certain aspects of the construction. If this is the case, it’s important that there is clear communication between the different contractors and the client. A breakdown in communication could lead to many issues later down the road.
When choosing a builder, it’s a good idea to ask if they do every aspect of the job or if they require a third party. Knowing this will help you understand how you should communicate and who you will need to communicate with.
Before any construction begins the builders must also evaluate the work site and see if the conditions are suitable for the project. Legal boundaries, soil stability and the other physical characteristics of the site must be noted. This is important as the state of the work site could have major implications on the timeline of the project. Of course, the health and safety of the workers must also be prioritised when choosing and evaluating a work site.
Once the contractors and the client agree on the finalised specifications of the project, they both enter into a legally binding agreement.
Finally, the construction phase is when the practical work begins. Labour, equipment and materials are procured, and the separate teams begin their respective projects.
It is in this phase that the planning becomes important. Indeed, in order to save time, money and resources, the construction phase must be done with efficiency and accuracy. This could only be done through thorough planning.
As the client, this is why it’s important that you make changes as early in the process as possible. Making changes at this stage (though not impossible) is a minor inconvenience at the very least. At worst, the change could end up being a major rework that could cost you more money and delay the completion of the project. In some cases, you may not even be able to make the changes due to safety or legal reasons.
Once the building is complete, the project manager inspects the site and conducts a final check. They will let the contractors know if there are any errors that need to be fixed or if there’s anything that’s missing from the property.
If the site passes the inspection, the client will need to be provided with all the necessary information about the property. This includes manuals, insurance information, revised drawings and so on.
There you have it, the five main steps of a construction project. Of course, the actual process will be much more comprehensive than this. However, this basic guide should give you a general idea of how the process works and what you can expect. Understanding the phases will hopefully help you avoid any pitfalls in the future.