The most breathtaking architectural marvels you see around were once a concept in someone’s mind. The concept evolved into a design from where a masterpiece started taking shape. Every construction project, from the most basic to the most intricate, has to go through several phases before jutting into the skies above.
Every construction project requires careful planning and execution. Proper communication among the various people involved in a construction project could translate into completing a project on time or getting seriously behind schedule. These require a perfectly laid out strategy detailing the phases and what’s involved in every stage.
Here are the six phases of construction projects:
1. Conception Phase
Conception is the first phase of construction projects. Every building you see around started in the recesses of someone’s brain. A client has a dream of a construction project etched in their mind. He or she then scouts for the perfect location for that project. Or, perhaps, one may have a specific location, and then a concept evolves in their mind as to the most suitable construction project for that area.
Once they settle on a location, they seek to understand the construction requirements and standards for the area. The conception stage of a project could take a few days to a couple of months, sometimes even longer. Experienced construction management companies like Baycrest will operate efficiently with more experience under their belt. It all boils down to how soon you want to break ground.
2. Design Phase
At the design stage, the concept starts taking visible shape. While it’s still on paper, it’s no longer in the mind of the project initiator. In this phase of the construction project, other people come on board. While nothing is a guarantee at this stage, the building process proper begins here.
An engineer or an architect heads the design team. Their work is to ensure all the local and regional codes, regulations and standards are adhered to. They also have to respect the integrity of the project initiator’s vision. In doing this, they must ensure the end product is practical and functional and that it respects what the initiator had in mind.
The design stage involves four phases. First is the feasibility and programming stage in which the project’s goals and objectives are clearly outlined. Decisions as to the building’s size, usable space, and the number of rooms, are made at this stage.
Second is the schematic design, which shows the space, colours, materials, and textures to be used.
In the third stage, design development, the sketch from the schematic design stage is used to research the type of materials and equipment needed for the project. How much these will cost is also established at this stage.
Finally, the fourth stage involves drawing up contract documents. Here, everything is almost set to go as the building specifications and drawings are ready. The papers are critical for people and companies placing bids for the actual construction work.
3. Pre-construction Phase
Once the bidding is over and the assigned contractor signed on, this phase kicks in. Immediately after a contractor is settled on, a project team is assembled. The project team prepares the construction site before the commencement of the work. A properly constituted project team includes a superintendent, contract administrator, project manager, safety and health manager, and a field engineer.
Working with the contractor, the team does a reconnaissance of the site. They conduct a site examination to establish the environmental challenges, if any, that could derail the construction process. Soil testing is a critical activity during this stage. Arising issues, including contestations, are heard.
The next phase of the project starts upon verification and approval of the plans by the relevant government authorities. These issues usually take quite some time. Every contention must be heard and amicably resolved.
4. Procurement Phase
Phew! The more tedious work is over, almost. It’s time for the project team to start sourcing and ordering the equipment and materials needed for the construction to commence. They also have to assemble a qualified workforce for the project.
Depending on the set start date, the available resources, and the size of the project, this phase could be quite a challenge. For projects by large construction companies that work on multiple projects simultaneously, this phase could be even more complex.
The personnel in charge of this phase is known as a general contractor, but subcontractors could be hired to oversee specific parts of the project. The subcontractor may be required to source materials and employ their staff. They understand better than anyone else what they need to complete the parts of the project assigned to them.
5. Construction Phase
Well, there’s one more detail to take care of before the construction proper begins. You need to call for a pre-construction meeting to make sure everybody is on board at the commencement of construction. Among topics covered by this meeting include project quality, individual work hours, access to the construction site, and where and how to store materials.
Every worker receives a schedule, which may vary depending on one’s role. This step is critical, especially for subcontractors who can’t start their part of the project before some other sections are complete. This stage requires precise planning to avoid budget overruns and disabling delays.
After the pre-construction meeting, and if all issues are resolved, the construction proper begins as per the timetable. If the planning is precise and accurate, everything will be perfect—like an orchestra where everyone knows what, when and how to play their part in the lead-up to the perfect crescendo. Unfortunately, things often don’t go according to plan. The key is to plan for such eventualities. Assume whatever could go wrong will go wrong, then plan for it!
6. Post-construction Phase
After the work is over and the construction site is cleared, it’s time to bring the project to a close. But not before taking care of a couple of last-minute matters.
Before handing over the building, a couple of things have to happen. One, the entire building must be inspected and, if all is well, commissioned. The project team guides the client on how to run the new structure. This step is essential as it ensures the building is used correctly, hence maximizing its lifespan.
Second, the owner takes possession of the new building. Once this happens, the warranty kicks in. The third and last step is the closure of the project. The project team ensures all contractual agreements are adhered to and that the project is free from potential legal implications. A post-project review can be conducted to make sure tasks were completed as per the agreements. The review could also form the foundation for a detailed project completion report.