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Planning is Key to Your Construction Project 

06-02-2015 01:13

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In today’s construction industry, time is money. As a result, fast track construction has become the norm. The time taken to conceptualize a design and develop the project (including detailed engineering phases) is becoming increasingly compressed over the past few years. Cost and schedule concerns are the main reasons why almost all constriction projects are on the fast track.

Constructors therefore are embracing new and innovative project delivery systems like Design-Build method to ensure cost-effective and timely delivery and at the same time mitigating potential problems, usually arising from contract documents. Although these time-compressed construction methods are being justified by many as they facilitate a faster project completion, proper up-front planning is paramount to ensuring the successful completion of the construction phase.

The following are some of the crucial steps you need to follow for a successful construction project:

Consult with a Design Professional

First thing first, you will need a proper plan that details the scope of work. You can consult either an interior designer or architect or both. But remember that design licensing varies from state to state and your design professional should therefore be aware of the prevailing rules of your particular state. While some designers may help you in selecting material and color for your building, others especially architects work only on permits and floor plans.

Schedule in-person meetings with a few design professionals before hiring one and understand the kind of services they are offering. Though it is no-brainer that you should hire a design professional who matches up the kid of services you are expecting, it is essential to keep your budget in mind. Also, communicate the same to the designer or architect so that he/she can align the services accordingly.

Craft a Detailed Plan

Once you have zeroed on a design professional, focus on the creating a plan for your building project. Ask your designer to show you as many options as possible; there are generally more than 2-3 ways to achieve your design goals.

These are basically schematic designs that include a rough layout of your floor plan along with some simple views of your exterior. Your design professional is likely to take a couple of weeks or months to work these out. Once you approve the plan, it’s time to find an experienced contractor for your project.

However, it is important to consider that this initial planning phase can take up to several months, depending on the size of the project or if you want additional changes in your schematic designs.

Find an Experienced Contractor

As mentioned, you need to bring contractors into the process after finalizing your schematic design. At this point of stage, you at least have a brief idea of how the construction project will look, its dimensioned floor plan and preliminary material selections. This much information is enough to start hunting for a skilled and experienced contractor.

Finding a contractor is easier these days. An online search will help you to find numerous options within or nearby your locality. For example, a simple Google search with a term like “Anchorage construction contractors” will help you find some of the top contractors within the locality.  Search with similar terms mentioning your city/state and select the top 10 companies and start interviewing them.

The first thing you should ask them is to provide preliminary estimates of cost based on your schematic design. Also, verify if they have required equipment, resources and experience to handle your particular project. This is especially important if it is a larger project you are discussing.

Keep two-three weeks’ time in hand to schedule the interviews and another two to three weeks to receive the estimates after the interviews. Once you have the estimates from all potential candidates, it’s time to make some call references and additional research about thee contractor you want to hire.

Get Your Materials Ready

It is better to enlist your designer’s help when shopping for your construction project. You are likely to be overwhelmed with the number of options given. And professional insights and advice can help you save a lot. There are a lot of things you need to purchase ranging from construction materials, doorknobs and windows to light fixtures and countertops.

Selecting everything ahead of construction will allow your contractor to give you a proper estimate and also schedule material purchases properly based on lead times. It will take at least a month or two to select and finalize everything. In order to fast track your construction, you can start shopping for tile, hardwood floors and countertops as your design professional finalizes construction drawings.

Also, start working with your structural engineer about how you want to build the project and prepare the details required for permitting. This will help you to save a lot of time and by the time your architecture or designer is ready with the final construction drawings, you are all set to start with the construction process.

Get Permits & Start Constructing

Your permitting can take a day, a couple of weeks, months or even years depending on how big your construction project is and its locality. It is therefore crucial to file for permits as early as possible and have a rough idea about how long it will take to select a possible start date for your construction project.

The same theory applies to permit fees, which can range between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars, based on the scope and locality of your project.

But once you have submitted the plan for permits and made your material selections, your contractor can finish up pricing and prepare a contract for construction. Make sure the cost of your selected materials are well within the budget, otherwise you need to change the scope of work popularly known as “value engineering.”


In general, it will take you 4-6 months to complete these steps. But planning ahead of the start of your construction project will help you to identify the possible obstructions and create a backup plan for each of them. Although the initial planning phrase is usually lengthy, this investment of time ensure that your entire construction team is on the same page and has a clearly articulated plan to start the project immediately, once you get the permitting.

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