Congratulations! You’ve just won the job. Pop the champagne tonight because tomorrow, the most crucial phase of your project begins—Preconstruction.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Almost every project manager, estimator, and VDC (virtual design and construction) manager probably agrees with Ben. They know how important it is to spend quality time preparing the project for construction before an excavator’s scoop touches soil. Yes, preconstruction tasks are primarily administrative and involve intense analyzing, but short-changing planning time can significantly cost you not only time and money but company reputation as well.
All Stakeholders Are Literally On The Same Page
Benjamin Franklin also famously said, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Franklin could have also included the certainty of building owners, architects, engineers, and contractors getting along like cats and dogs during preconstruction. Each key stakeholder has strong opinions and differing viewpoints/priorities in how the project can come out of the ground…and by when.
During preconstruction meetings, the building’s design is still evolving with stakeholder interactions and identifying potential obstacles. These design modifications have cost impacts and should be translated into documentation.
Employing a cloud-based document management system (DMS) with intelligent document search capabilities will go a long way to ensuring, quite literally, these stakeholders collaborate on the same page in real-time. Think of outdated construction documents like “raining cats and dogs,” it muddies everything up and slows the project down. Conversely, a DMS with intelligent document search is constant sunshine; everyone can see clearly…and the “cats and dogs” are at least more cordial.
Preconstruction Document Control
The preconstruction phase is all about a collaboration among stakeholders. A DMS with an intelligent search function allows everyone to see the project more holistically. Having accurate, real-time data allows for workflows and timelines to be established with far greater certainty. Additionally, document archiving capabilities enables project planners to see the evolution of the project in case they need to revisit certain decisions. After ground-breaking, unplanned obstacles will undoubtedly arise. But having secure access to archived preconstruction documents only enhances project managers and VDC’s decision-making capabilities in the field.
A Sharper Pencil for Value Engineering during Preconstruction
Want to make an architect mad during preconstruction? Have a GC “we need to value engineer that,” and you will see an architect transform into a feral cat during a rainstorm for mudding up his or her project vision.
Construction technology and the products and materials associated with it change rapidly. As you may already know, value engineering substitutes materials and processes for less expensive alternatives. In other words, “match the design, but cut the cost.”
Value engineering is a necessity. However, using a DMS with document search during the preconstruction phase meetings (not after construction begins) allows for better collaboration amongst project stakeholders…and, possibly, agreed to value alternatives.
Employing a DMS at the beginning of the Preconstruction Phase will go a long way to keeping a project on time and budget. All project stakeholders will know which document revision is the most current, plus see why certain decisions were made through document history. Suppose a DMS is properly leveraged by the end of preconstruction. In that case, project managers and VDC will have a rock-solid understanding of timelines, site plans, design specifications, risks, and equipment options.
Does this mean the “cats and dogs” will stop talking bad about each other and hang out after the project is built? DMS with intelligent document search is a tool, not a miracle worker.
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