How Pre-Construction Kick-Off Meeting Can Set the Tone of Your Project to Success
How Pre-Construction Kick-Off Meeting Can Set the Tone of Your Project to Success

How Pre-Construction Kick-Off Meeting Can Set the Tone of Your Project to Success


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“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Developers and contractors know this saying is especially true in managing construction projects. Precautionary preparations must be taken before any work begins for a project to succeed. The pre-construction phase plays an important role in achieving this goal.

In the pre-construction phase, the project foundation is solidified through extensive stakeholder collaboration. The project owner, general contractor, and designers all work simultaneously to determine how best to utilize the resources and budget of a specific construction project. This allows everyone to discuss potential issues before the real work begins.

Let’s discuss all the necessary preparations before you schedule your first pre-construction kick-off meeting. 

What is a Pre-Construction Meeting?


A pre-construction meeting is a team meeting in which the project owner and whole team, including construction management, design consultants, and general and subcontractors, collaborate to establish authority and set communication outlets, solidify responsibilities, identify potential risks, and plan extensively for a successful project before breaking ground.

A pre-construction meeting for small-scale projects is generally the same meeting conducted for major construction projects, regardless of the industry. Usually, the only difference is who is invited to join. The owner’s representative would be present for a small project pre-construction meeting. The project owner and their legal and technical team are present for bigger projects.


Who Leads a Pre-Construction Meeting?


The assigned construction manager usually runs the pre-construction meeting. On the other hand, the project manager is tasked with gathering all of the key stakeholders and setting the agenda for the meeting.


What are the Necessary Preparations for a Pre-Construction Meeting?

The stakeholders involved in a pre-construction meeting must all be ready to discuss the agenda and come prepared to discuss their responsibilities. The more prepared the attendees are, the more effective and efficient the meeting will be. Moreover, everyone should be as transparent as possible during the meeting so that everyone’s needs are met.

1. List Your Questions Before the Meeting

By preparing questions early, you can relax since you do not forget to ask critical questions before they end. Whether you have questions about the construction worker schedule, resource management, or design drawings, gather your questions before you set foot in the meeting.

While every project is unique, specific pre-construction questions apply to every new construction or renovation. Here are a few of the questions our pre-construction team discusses to understand in the early phases of a project: 

           a. What is the overall scope of the construction project?

The main objective of a pre-construction meeting is to identify the overall scope of a project. This will help the pre-construction team understand your overall goals and vision for the project. Defining the general scope can be accomplished by answering questions such as the following:

  • Where is the site location?
  • What are the size requirements of your project?
  • What are you trying to accomplish with your construction?
  • Is there any potential for future additions or expansions?
  • • When does the project need to be completed?
  • Who will manage the construction crew, and what software will be used?
  • What do you want as a project owner to feel when they come to your building?
  • Questions like these give the designers and the general contractor a clear understanding of what you envision accomplishing with your project.

           b. Are there any complex technical issues that could derail the construction project?

In addition to finding ways to bring value to a project, the pre-construction team also works to ensure that there are no potential issues that could add time or complications to the project. This could involve anything from job site challenges to current building code restrictions. This could involve assessing the building’s structural integrity and utility systems for renovation projects to assess if any updates are required.

           c. What are your budgetary requirements?

It’s crucial to ensure that the project stays within the budget set by the project owner. However, it can be difficult early on to guess the total price of a project without necessary input from the design team and general contractors. Budgeting is an important component of pre-construction planning since it can provide accurate cost estimates that can better optimize the budget. During the pre-construction phase, the team often works with the project owners to find smart ways to navigate rising construction costs and meet client expectations without overspending.  

           d. What are the preferred construction materials, and how will they be procured? 

In the last few years, material shortages and supply chain issues have created considerable challenges for the construction industry. Pre-construction can mitigate these potential roadblocks by establishing a resource management plan to procure building materials and avoid delays.  

The pre-construction team must be aware of the global material shortage that could impact a project. They also note the long-lead items that may cause delays in a construction project schedule. These insights help owners acquire the most cost-effective construction materials for a project. 

           e. What are your expectations and preferences around communication?

The relationship between project owners and construction is one of the most vital factors in managing construction projects. Communication plays a big role in that relationship. One of the most helpful tools your team can do during pre-construction is to ensure you’re all working as an extended team. This means taking time to establish a communication plan that works best for everyone involved.

The project owner should also be provided with necessary reporting, such as meeting minutes, cash flow projections, revision logs, monthly project status reports, and variance reports. These must be finalized before any work begins.

2. Consolidate All Important Documents, Plans, and Contracts

It is essential to have all the necessary project documents during a pre-construction meeting. Depending on their preference, the design team, contractor, or client can send these documents digitally beforehand. However, they should still be brought to the meeting for a quick reference.

Here are a few documents you might consider getting ready for the meeting:

  • Project schedule
  • Drawings and blueprints
  • Building material cost estimates
  • Site-specific safety plan
  • Worker payment schedules
  • Building permits

Each construction project and site location are different. Check local laws and state ordinances as well as OSHA safety requirements, and ensure you bring all the necessary documentation to the meeting so you can pull them out when needed.

3. Finalize All Presentations and Visual Aids

A construction manager should bring diagrams, presentations, videos, photos, and other visual aids to the pre-construction meeting. These will serve as great supplements to the information in your project documents and help the team develop more detailed questions. The visual aids depend entirely on the project. 

For instance, if you are constructing a new building, include a video walkthrough of the rendered output so everyone on the team can better visualize the construction project upon completion.

4. Send an Advance Copy of the Agenda Prior to the Meeting

It is important to send an advance copy of the agenda to the team invited to the meeting before you the day it is set. This helps them prepare for the meeting, such as listing necessary questions or being prepared to discuss their role when the moderator calls upon them briefly. You should also send it to team members who will not be at the meeting but are invested in the project’s success.

5. Walk the Project Site Location as a Group

It’s always highly suggested to do an on-site walkthrough with the project’s key stakeholders before the construction begins. It’s one thing to take a look at the project on paper and quite another to visit the site in person to see it firsthand. This also allows the team to develop questions and look for potential issues that must be visible within project documentation.

 6. Entertain Questions that Might Pop Up

Chances are, someone in the meeting will have questions, so include some time in the agenda for team members or the project owner to ask questions. These questions may be prepared beforehand or spontaneously based on the conversation flow during the meeting. Either way, it’s important to carve out time so your team can inform you about issues you still need to consider.

Can the Team Make Changes After a Pre-Construction Meeting?

Make minor changes promptly if any changes are flagged during the pre-construction meeting. You should not submit any major change orders after a pre-construction meeting because it can slow the project timeline, inflate the budget, or even require hiring more workers.

In a nutshell, you will need to think over the conclusion of the meeting and carefully decide on what change orders should be implemented and which should not. Even if verbal changes may speed up the process, any changes should be made in writing for documentation and may require re-routing of new signatures.

Key Takeaway

Managing construction projects starts as early as the planning phase, and a pre-construction meeting sets the tone for the whole project. This is why your team must implement the necessary tools to prepare you for what’s to come.

Pro Crew Schedule can help you set timelines, delegate tasks, manage inventory, store documents, and more. Make planning easier with construction scheduling software that makes construction management a breeze from day one.

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