But what is a pre-construction meeting you may ask?
The pre-construction meeting is normally undertaken just before the start of the build. It can happen earlier and may even progress over the course of numerous meetings.
The preconstruction meeting provides an opportunity for the professional team of the main contractor, quantity surveyor, architects, structural engineers, and the homeowner to get together to discuss the project. Both large and small projects benefit from a formal pre-construction meeting.
This meeting is vital to the success of the project.
It gives everyone involved in the project, from the principal-agent through to the sub-contractors, an opportunity to ask questions, understand the build timeline and clear up any queries or inconsistencies in the plan.
The meeting also ensures that the non-professionals (homeowners) know what to expect. It gives them an opportunity to ask questions and receive clarification on issues that may concern them.
Technical aspects of the build will be discussed and coordination of everyone’s schedules will be synchronized so that the build progresses according to plan.
Why Is the Preconstruction Meeting So Important?
The main contractor or builder will usually call for the preconstruction meeting just before the build commences or very shortly after breaking ground.
The team will go over the scope of the project and confirm that all the required permissions and plans are in place.
Final instructions are given regarding plumbing and electrical points and disagreements or improvements to the existing schedule are ironed out.
A record must be made of everything that is discussed with an agenda drawn up prior to the meeting so everyone can come prepared.
The minutes of this meeting and all subsequent meetings must be available for all to see and should be agreed upon and signed off at each meeting before moving on to new business. Should there be a dispute or litigation at some future point in time, then these minutes will be used in evidence to support your case.
It is at this time that you should consider making use of a pre-construction video service.
Pre-Construction Video and Photo Services
It is easy to forget what a site looked like before the builders moved in.
Even on smaller sites, the condition of the site and surrounding area will change quite drastically from month to month.
Creating a video and photographic record of the building site before anything is done will not only give you a great way to look back on your project but it will also give you an accurate view of what was in place at the start.
High-definition photographic evidence ensures that every detail is captured and available for inspection at a later date.
Preconstruction Meeting Agenda
Circulating a preconstruction meeting agenda goes a long way to keeping the meeting on track.
It helps the participants to gather all the necessary documentation and information so that the meeting can progress smoothly.
The agenda will highlight the key components of the building process and who is responsible for each part.
Not everyone will have met before, so the meeting is also an opportunity for you to put names to faces. With quality contractors and professionals who have been in the industry for many years, they will usually have either worked together before or know of each other.
The preconstruction meeting provides them all with an opportunity to reconnect and understand whom they are dealing with.
While the preconstruction meeting is normally held on-site, you may occasionally meet at the contractor or architect’s offices. It’s preferable to meet on-site so that a walk-about can take place to familiarize the team with the physical conditions.
You can expect the agenda to resemble the following:
- A Plan Review — this is an opportunity for the architect and structural engineers to confirm the latest drawings and address any last-minute issues that they have picked up based on site conditions. This is a good time to make sure that the plans match the site, and that dimensions and orientations are not obviously incorrect.
- A Review of Site Conditions and Boundaries – In conjunction with the plans, the team can assess whether the plans and blueprints are in agreement with any legal requirements or guidelines.
- Utility Review – This is a great opportunity to check that water, sewerage, electrical, and communication infrastructure is taken care of and available. Not all of these services will be needed initially, but the timeline needs to account for when they will be needed.
- Site Storage – Building materials are expensive, as are the tools used to work them. Adequate arrangements need to be made to ensure that losses are kept to a minimum. Permission may also be required to store certain equipment and fuel on-site and neighbors may object to certain material obstructing their access or view.
- Contracts – A review of building contracts is normally conducted at the meeting to confirm responsibilities and timelines. The AIA and other associations and professional bodies provide standardized contracts for this purpose.
- Quality Control – For obvious reasons, you want to make sure that the quality of your building is top-notch. The use of a standard quality control process will help to ensure that any sub-standard work is identified and rectified sooner rather than later. The quality control process must go beyond just seeing that the materials are supplied as per the contracts but also that the level of workmanship is adequate and fit for purpose. It is usual for a local government inspector to check that construction meets their approval, but this is only a minimum requirement. It’s a good idea to have an independent third party inspect the site to keep a tight grip on quality control.
- Safety Plan and Review – The health and safety of the workforce on-site should be addressed and monitored regularly. Building sites are inherently dangerous, so everything that is mandated should be adhered to and a health and safety officer should be on-site to keep a record of safety issues.
- Schedule Reviews – To ensure that the project progresses as per the building plan, a review calendar is set up together with a resource schedule. Regular site meetings will take place to measure performance and see that the resources match the build stage and that everything is happening on time. Specific dates will be identified by which time certain levels of progress must be achieved. This is usually linked to contract payment and is vital for the smooth running of the project. It’s a sure sign that the main contractor is losing control when progress lags or resources and materials are not arriving on site and on time.
The preconstruction meeting is the perfect time to review the construction critical path. With all the main players sitting at one table, they can identify potential problems and present solutions.
The preconstruction meeting marks the beginning of the construction phase.
By ensuring that the meeting is held timeously and covers the main points above, you can be confident that the project will be off to a great start.