The stages of the construction process vary from project to project but whether you are a property owner, manager, project manager or just a stakeholder wanting to know more about what goes on behind the scenes of a construction project, here is your opportunity to dig deeper.
Every project has objectives. The goal of building a single-family home is to not only build to specification while remaining on-time and on-budget but to do so in a way that adheres to local and state regulations. For larger projects, establishing and meeting objectives can be very complex. Modern infrastructure projects, for example, can have objectives that number in the dozens, even hundreds, with numerous stakeholders emphasizing different, sometimes competing, aspects of a project.
The first stage of a construction project, called the conceptual phase, deals with the broad strokes of a construction project and begins to identify how objectives can be most efficiently met. This is often done through a series of construction project stages, each with its own specific budgetary, design and construction requirements.
Planning and Design Stage
The planning and design phase contains four sub-phases. They are:
- Scope and Budget
- Schematic Design
- Design Development
- Construction Documents
The first step taken after the conceptual phase is the planning and design phase. More specifically, the scope and budget sub-phase. Project scope, sometimes called a statement of work, often deals with what work will be done on a project, how the job should be completed and who on the team is responsible for completing jobs. It is also at this stage that an order of magnitude budget should be prepared.
In sub-phases two through four, schematics are developed and budgets are further refined. For larger projects, construction and architectural teams are brought together to reconcile large estimates and further define scopes of work. Drawings for plans, equipment details and schedules as well as other key construction documents are also generated at this stage. Several different types of designs can be developed depending on projects needs and can include a bid-design, a build-design and a construction management-design for large projects.
Next is the construction phase. In the construction phase:
- Permits are applied for and received.
- The project and its sub-projects are bid-out.
- Materials purchases are made from vendors (Procurement).
- Administrative systems are put in place (i.e. payroll, timesheets and project tracking software).
It should be noted that sometimes procurement and pre-construction are considered separate stages. It is not uncommon for procurement to take on added complexity, particularly for long-term products or those that use a variety of hard-to-find materials. Procurement becomes its own phase when the financing and timing of material purchases become difficult to manage and end up involving a negotiations process and the establishing of backup plans for when vendors are unable to meet materials requirements.
In this phase, actual construction begins. However, this stage includes more than erecting the structure. Also part of the construction phase:
- Executing Project Design
- Logistics and Storage
- Quality Control
- Records and Monitoring
- Commissioning and Turnover Stage
This phase refers to the transitioning of responsibility for the property and its facilities over to its owners. To this point, the construction process would be thoroughly documented. Any long-term concerns are recorded and eventually passed on to the owner or occupants. For something more standard, like a small office building or retail space, this would likely be more straightforward but the owners may want to consult any construction and architectural firms involved with the project to ensure routine upkeep such as the replacing of hot water heaters or regular HVAC system maintenance is carried out properly.
For more complex industrial projects, specialized construction and design firms work closely with owners to plan more involved maintenance strategies. Highly complex and regulated manufacturing industries may view the condition of their facilities as a key part of their business processes, requiring planning to maintain sterile, safe or adaptable environments.
When those overseeing the construction process turnover the finished product to the owners or occupants, they do so with the following questions in mind.
- What sort of qualifications does a training person need to successfully train occupants on operating the facility?
- Have occupants been trained on relevant systems and equipment?
- Are turnover and related processes documented?