Starting a construction project can be a daunting ordeal. There’s a lot to consider and sometimes very little time to do it. The key thing to remember when spending starting up your project is to prioritize based on importance. Today we’ll be walking through some of the key things to consider when starting up your construction project.
Step One – Understand Your Project and Get Your Contract In Line
Before starting any project you should understand what you are building. Spend time with the drawings (even it if means a few extra hours after 5pm) and read the specification through and through. Highlighting drawings sometimes helps to define scope (more on that later).
Once you have a firm handle on the scope, make sure you have your contract execution under way with your owner or partner. Unless you are the owner, under no circumstance should you start a project without some form of agreement or contract in place.
Step Two – Verify Your Contract Amount and Budget and Trade Scopes
Understanding the project budget is equally as important as the scope. If you already have the budget set (by your estimating department) you’ll need to play some catchup, otherwise you may need to tender out the various scopes of work to different trades.
Finalizing the trade scopes of work and contracts will involve finalizing pricing (through quotations or formal subtrade tendering). Verifying what is in each scope of work and making allowances to cover off any risks or scope gaps is important. Try not to rush this stage as a proper project buy in can save you alot of time and money in the long run.
Step Three – Safety
Getting your safety plan in line early will help you to start the project off right. The project safety plan should cover all of the different legal and regional HSE requirements that will be outlined by different safety associations. You can normally find this on one of their websites.
Make sure you take out your notice of project (or whatever the equivelant is in your area), complete your safety plan, assess and measure the safety risks and implement appropriate safety plans, take out insurance and any other certifications you need, understand your emergency response plan, and put all workers through proper safety training.
Step Four – Project Execution and Project Construction Plans
The project execution and construction plans are really just documents which outline the different processes you’ll be following on the project. Below is a list of subjects that should be included within the two documents
- Team Summary and Organizational Chart
- Submittal and RFI management and procedures
- Change management and procedures
- Schedule management and procedures for updating and notification requirements
- Billing management and procedures
- Materials handling plan (how will major and minor deliveries be handled and what are the details behind each)
- Vertical access plan (how is material getting to and from the various elevations)
- Major work plans (ie crane lifts and high risk activities)
- Quality Control Plan
- Risk management plan
- Human Resources and Training Requirements
The project execution and construction plans are really just documents which outline the different processes you’ll be following on the project.
Step Five – Verify Your Schedule
By this time you’ve already put together your schedule and understand the work break down structure. Now you need to verify it with your awarded trades. Consider implementing pull planning or regular scheduling exercises with your foremen. Have regular meetings to check status and verify that the durations you have in your schedule are correct.
Step Six – Get Copies of Your Construction Permit
Unless you want to end up in a situation where your construction project comes to a halt when the building inspector shows up make sure you have taken out all of the appropriate permits. For your building permit, make sure you’re aware who is responsible for it, on some projects the architect is, on some the owner, and on some projects the general contractor is responsible. No matter who is ultimately responsible no work should start until the appropriate permit is in hand.
In addition to the main permit there are many other small permits that you may need to get, permits such as an HVAC permit, Electrical Permit, Lane Closures, Elevator Permit, and the list goes on and on. Before starting activities research it to understand what permits apply to your work.
Step Seven – Start The Work
The fear of starting or not knowing sometimes causes people to hesitate in pulling the trigger on a project. Nothing can delay a project more than a slow start so make sure you show urgency and push the schedule and project from the beginning. No matter how well you plan a project, problems will arise. By starting a project you’re forcing those problems to come out sooner rather than later.
Nothing can delay a project more than a slow start so make sure you show urgency and push the schedule and project from the beginning.
Starting a project can be a daunting task but by following our steps above you should be prepared and working on your project in no time. Have you started up a project recently? What were some of the lessons learned that you had? Share them with us in our forum or comments.