man in hardhat and reflective vest sitting at desk looking at laptop and planning papers
Operational Excellence

What You Need to Know About Construction Pre-Planning

Written By: Joe Demski
April 27, 2022
6 min read

Regardless of the size or extent of a construction project, construction pre-planning is a crucial part of the process. It helps clients decide whether they can follow through with a project based on price, available space, and other factors.

Construction pre-planning can save time, money, and frustration, which makes it incredibly beneficial to the construction company. It’s also the key to a successful construction project and ensuring that it goes as smoothly as possible.

What is Construction Pre-Planning?

As the name would imply, construction pre-planning takes place before the project begins. This service involves defining the project, identifying potential problems, planning, scheduling, the scope of the project, cost estimates, and analyzing what is needed for the job.

Pre-construction services allow the client to get a clear picture of what the job will look like, how it will be done, and when each part of it will be completed. This will make issues and delays less likely to arise.

Components of Construction Pre-Planning

While a quality construction safety plan lessens the risk of injury, the pre-construction phase lowers a company’s risk of starting a project they won’t be able to finish. There are several components to this phase, including:

Initial meeting

The process begins with a kickoff meeting in which the contractor and the client decide what degree of planning is necessary for the project. An initial budget and a projected completion date will also likely be discussed during this time.

The main purpose of this meeting is so that the contractor can learn more about the client’s vision for the construction project. The contractor will compile all of the information they are given and begin putting together the remainder of the pre-construction process.

After the meeting, the contractor will continue to remain in close contact with the client throughout the project. They will also attend follow-up meetings so both parties are on the same page regarding any changes or complications. Clear communication is key to successful construction projects.

Defining the objectives of the project

The pre-construction planning stage is when you will outline the project. This initial phase includes looking at architectural designs and blueprints as well as discussing the big picture and ultimate goals of the client.

During this time, the client should submit any questions they have regarding the project to the contractor. This may include any issues with the planning, placement, or design that they are concerned about.

This step will lay the foundation for the rest of the construction pre-planning process. Knowledgeable contractors will be able to answer the client’s questions and determine whether their vision is possible for the intended location.

Once the objectives of the project have been defined, the contractor will move on to determining the scope of work, setting a budget, and creating a construction schedule.

Project scope

The overall scope of a construction project is a description of what work will be performed. The general contractor will outline the scope from start to finish. Additionally, the contractor will need to determine what materials and equipment are necessary to complete the job.

Project schedule

Every successful construction project will start with a budget that the client wants to stay within to complete the work. This number often doesn’t consider how much a construction project costs, so it may just end up being the initial amount that the client has to spend.

The cost of pre-construction planning will vary depending on factors like the type of job, where it’s located, and the scope of the project. The general contractor may see if the project can fit within this budget, recommend changes, or stretch the budget if possible.

Project budget

Setting a schedule for the project is another vital component of the pre-construction phase. The projected completion date is high on the pre-construction process checklist. Some clients have strict completion dates, while others are more flexible.

Knowing how long you have to finish the project ahead of time can help you stay on task. This will also make it easier to hold the parties involved accountable for their share of the work.

Choosing the construction team

The contractor will also need to figure out what kinds of workers will be needed for each phase. It’s important to choose people who are competent and have the necessary skills to complete the project. Aside from construction workers, other people who will likely be part of the construction team include a project manager and a team of architects.

Analyzing the construction site

Before breaking ground, the proposed site will need to be analyzed. The contractor will visit the site to determine whether it’s suitable. This will be done by evaluating the soil to make sure it can provide a strong foundation as well as keeping things like landscaping, traffic flow, parking, and capacity in mind.

If the site is found to be unsuitable for the client’s needs, alternative locations may be proposed. The general contractor may also recommend changes to the current site to make it fit the client’s needs.

Procurement management

Long lead times in construction procurement are a part of pre-construction planning process that’s often-overlooked. This refers to when a material may take a while to acquire, which can put a project behind schedule. Careful pre-construction planning will ensure that this lead time is built into the schedule. This will prevent time loss while you wait for the materials to arrive, and other aspects of the project can continue in the meantime.

Approval acquisition

The proper approvals and building permits will need to be acquired before you can proceed with construction. The general contractor should acquire these items during the pre-construction phase to make sure that the project can proceed. Once this phase has been completed, your project can finally move to the building stage.


What is construction pre-planning?

This phase includes creating a strategic plan for a construction project. It’s performed before any actual construction is done to ensure that all the necessary measures have been taken and is critical to a project’s success.

What are the pre-planning activities in the construction?

Construction pre-planning starts by meeting with the client to better understand their goals. It also involves designing the project, securing permits, and gathering workers and resources. It provides a formal approach to developing the budget, scope, and schedule for the proposed work.

Why is construction pre-planning necessary?

Having a pre-plan will streamline construction processes and help the work stay on schedule and move along as efficiently as possible. It allows you to avoid surprises that may otherwise lead to costly solutions and other issues.

What are the stages of construction planning?

There are several steps to having a successful pre-construction phase, including:

  • Initial meeting
  • Defining the objectives of the project
  • Project scope, schedule, & budget
  • Analyzing the construction site
  • Choosing the team
  • Procurement management
  • Approval acquisition
Joe Demski
Written By: Joe Demski

Joe Demski is an Associate Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.

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