Construction Planning and Design

In any construction project planning is critical to the successful outcome of the design.  Over the years we have seen many construction projects that, due to lack of proper planning, fail, thus causing the owner to be unhappy with the design and have cost overruns and delays that might have been prevented.

Architectural design and construction requires that a process be in place listing the tasks which need to be completed in order to get the finished product that the client anticipates.  As in any process, each task builds on the preceding one, the details being worked through before moving on to the next task.  Therefore, as you can imagine, if during the design process a change is made to the final product, than previous tasks might need to altered.  For example, if you are redoing your bathroom, you would not want to wait until after completing the construction drawings to decide to switch from a tile shower to a marble shower.  Additional support may be required to handle the extra weight of the marble, which would need to be noted on the construction documents.

Often contractors will use the Construction Specifications Institute division of construction materials and components to create their bid.  This format divides the jobs based on 16 (expanded now to 50) components of work.  Each division is then sub-divided into sections to cover the materials that will be used in the job.  The first division of the CSI is for general requirements, which includes; time the contractor, foreman, job site captain and other employees of the contractor expect to be working on the job.  It will also include permits and fees, electricity, phones, trash removal and all other miscellaneous building related cost.  Hourly rates for the contractor’s employees being charged to the project should be listed on contracts.  Your contract should also list how changes to the work are to be submitted and approved before those changes can be implemented.   Understand your budget and your priorities.  If this is a major renovation, make sure there are additional funds available for changes to hidden structural issues.

Early planning can save your budget.  It is critical to determine as many details as possible before construction begins.  Consultation with your architect or designer early and often will dramatically improve the planning and outcome of your project.  Architect/Designer documents reflecting the client’s project and material choices provide the information that will enable the builder to accurately determine the cost of each area, thus avoiding additional costs associated with re-work or additional construction changes to implement the new request.  Just a bit of forward thinking can give you an understanding of the real cost of your project and help you get the project you expect.

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