All construction projects are unique. Each progresses from start to finish in a one-of-a-kind way. That said, there are 5 stages of construction that apply to every project, whether it’s a single family home or 50-story condo development. If you’re involved in construction, knowing these stages can help you see the big picture, yet also understand how a project evolves from someone’s vision to the Certificate of Occupancy.
This stage begins well before the various disciplines get to work at their drawing tables. It starts with the client who must determine what they can afford and understand their needs. The client should establish an unswerving budget, and work on a list of functions and features that their building must have. These can include floor areas, aesthetics, energy efficiency goals, community impact, and everything in between. Ascertaining these variables before the architect gets to work can reduce the number of design revisions and make the design phase smoother.
With a firm budget and a detailed list of design intentions, the client takes their project to the architect who will consider all these factors and issue a fee proposal. Next, the architect will work out a conceptual design based on the client’s earlier inputs and allow the client to review it and provide feedback. As the design evolves, the client will continue to collaborate with the architect to ensure that their vision is making its way onto paper.
When the architectural drawings start to take shape, it’s a good idea to engage a civil or structural engineer. These professionals will help assess the site, draft grading plans and earthquake estimates, and design the building’s structure to fit the architectural design. At this stage, the engineer may begin to coordinate the structural design with the architect, to make sure that the disciplines interface seamlessly.
The architect will base the building’s energy model on the Building Energy Efficiency Standards, the California Green Building Standards Code, and the client’s preference, should it surpass these mandatory regulations. The building’s energy performance will be greatly affected by the architectural features and the systems that will operate inside it. These considerations will play a role in steering the project’s architectural, mechanical, and electrical designs.
At this stage, other disciplines will join the collaboration too - mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineers will have to coordinate the layouts of their services with the architect and structural engineer. Together, the design team will work on finalizing a bid set - a package of drawings used to solicit bids from general contractors (GCs).
The pre-construction phase begins once the bidding process is complete and the contract is awarded to a GC. Now, the project team will be assembled and tasked with preparing the site for construction. Typically, project teams include the following individuals:
During the pre-construction stage, the project team will apply for permits and approval, and coordinate the tasks involved in securing these documents. At times, approval can crisscross from one committee to another, until all relevant parties are satisfied. Permits can also undergo several revision cycles, during which the design team will have to make changes ordered by building officials. The approved version of the drawings will then be issued for construction.
At this time, the GC will finalize a construction schedule that incorporates any last-minute design and/or time changes that arise during permitting. The GC will also coordinate submittal procedures with the rest of the project team and establish the following:
After the permits and approval are given, the site is prepared, and the construction drawings are issued, the project can move onto the procurement stage.
At this stage of the project, the GC will award contracts to their subcontractors. The process may begin with a new quantity takeoff based on the construction drawings. With the new quantities established, the GC and their subcontractors will obtain materials, labor, and equipment for their respective scopes of work. This breakdown differs between projects, as some GCs may self-perform some parts of the project while leaving the more specialized scopes to their subcontractors.
The procurement stage presents an opportunity to find savings in the project. Contractors who have a robust network of suppliers, or are working on several projects at the same time, may save thanks to their relationships and economies of scale. Depending on the type of contract, the client may or may not reap the benefits of these savings.
Before shovels hit the dirt, it’s essential to hold a pre-construction meeting. The GC’s project manager, superintendent, and field engineers, representatives of the architect and engineer, owner or the owner’s representative, as well as certain major subcontractors should be in attendance. On occasion, an official from the local jurisdiction may have to attend too. The meeting should address at least the following topics:
During construction, members of the project team continue to serve their respective functions. The GC retains control over the process, manages resources, and monitors, documents, and communicates the progress of the project. The design team will monitor the work for conformance with approved plans, review change orders, substitution requests, submittals, and respond to Requests for Information (RFIs).
When the final construction activity is complete, the project moves to its final phase - closeout, followed by owner occupancy.
Closing out a construction project consists of several tasks. The building must be inspected by the building officials. The client or the client’s representative must also verify that the work conforms to the approved drawings and specifications. Any deficiencies must be identified and remedied, systems must be tested, and in the end, the architect will certify the final payment.
Next, the GC will show the owner how the building and its systems operate. On complex projects such as hospitals, the task of training the client’s staff may take a while. Finally, the GC will hand over the building to the owner and their responsibility for the project will come to an end.
Whether you’re a homeowner, contractor, developer, or a design professional, Design Everest can help your project with a full suite of civil and structural engineering services. Call us at (877) 704-5727 or email us at email@example.com to discuss your project and receive a quote today.
Design Everest is OPEN! We work remotely and are fully committed to taking on and delivering projects.
Design Everest’s remote working model can safely take-up and deliver your projects within the current government guidelines on COVID-19 (a.k.a Coronavirus). This applies to many of our project scopes, including architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, and construction administration across California.
Design Everest is set up to remotely leverage digital platforms (virtual meetings, calls, emails etc.) in client-facing and internal operations. Over the years, we have advanced this ability to the extent that we can continue supporting new and existing clients across many of our projects. Even projects that need an on-site visit can be fulfilled safely via video calls or in-person visits, where permitted.
Note that the present government guidelines permit the delivery of essential services, including those related to construction.
YES, Design Everest's remote working model enables us to work safely with all clients, suppliers, industry partners, and internal staff as per government guidelines.
Design Everest can still support many of our types of projects (new or ongoing) safely. For example, new custom homes, accessory dwelling units, civil plans etc. We are committed to delivering these remotely and safely as per the current government guidelines. In case of any external dependency that is unavoidable/unavailable, your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager will keep you posted on it and try their best to keep your plans in-progress.
YES, our remote working model enables us to be fully committed to ongoing projects. In case of any external dependency that is unavoidable, unavailable or unsafe, your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager will keep you updated and try their best to keep your plans in-progress. If an on-site visit is not feasible via a video call, we will try our best to fulfill the visit safely, where permitted.
Some of our clients are already going ahead with their projects with us via video calls or virtual meetings. Your assigned Customer Success Manager or Project Manager is happy to help you with this, where needed.
There are multiple reasons for this. It's typical to plan the construction step in the summer. So, clients get started on the pre-construction steps (architecture, engineering, and construction admin) in winter or spring to stick to planned timelines.
Projects such as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Additions/Remodels enable clients to rent/resale and generate revenue. Meanwhile, many clients are concerned about protecting their families and businesses against earthquakes by retrofitting their homes and buildings. These are just a few of the various reasons why it’s still reasonable for clients to stick to their construction plans.
Feel free to phone us at (888) 311-3015 Alternatively, you may contact your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager directly via phone, email or virtual meetings.
To summarize, Design Everest is OPEN and able to serve new and existing clients, affiliates, suppliers, and industry partners.
Stay safe and rest assured that Design Everest can help you go ahead with your plans as per the recommended safety guidelines!