5 Dec

The Many Phases of a Construction Project

December 5, 2023 /  In News /  by

When you see a building under construction, what is the first thing you ask? Most people would think, “I wonder ‘what’ is going to be there?” But have you ever thought about the process – what goes into that ‘what’ and how it will be turned into a new building? Read on to learn about each stage that goes into a project and how Premier Development Partners handles it all with our internal capabilities.

1. Pre-Construction

First, there are some common steps that need to be completed before starting the detailed design and building processes. It is here where many of our clients rely on our ability to help them define the type of building or project that will be the best solution for their needs, a preliminary schedule, and a project budget. Also, during these first discussions, the client often analyzes the benefits of owning or leasing their facility. Just the same – building new or renovating an existing facility – our ability as both a real estate developer and a real estate owner has grown our network of affiliations and partnerships to help provide our clients with critical information needed for them to complete this analysis.

Some common items that are analyzed during this phase:

  • Establish Site Location
    • For many clients, the target area is already However, many clients use our expertise and knowledge of available properties to assist them in selecting the most appropriate site location.
  • Zoning Review
    • Depending on the client’s business model and intended use of the building, the site is carefully reviewed for compliance with local applicable zoning regulations. If the zoning regulations do not allow the use or building parameters of the project at the client’s preferred location, we can aid them in pursuing a variance from the local government agencies.
  • Site Review (topography and utilities)
    • The site is reviewed for items including utilities, soil conditions, grades, flooding potential, and if there is room for future building expansions.

After managing through the pre-construction process, it is time to start the detailed design that will go into the building.

2. Architectural and Engineering Design

There are typically four steps to having a building design completed sufficiently enough to begin the physical construction process:

  • Programming
    • This first step involves an architect meeting with the client to discuss their building requirements and preferences, especially about spatial and programming aspects (i.e., size of rooms, what the rooms are going to be used for, department separations, what rooms are next to others, parking requirements, building amenities, etc.).
  • Schematic Design
    • This step includes the development of initial floor plans and site plans, the creation of a conceptual rendering, and the performance of a preliminary code review. Being a design/build contractor allows us the advantage of starting on a budget estimate at this point. Normally, this would have to wait until the construction documents are completed. This helps the client know if we are in line with their budget estimate and update the project description or budget accordingly.
  • Design Development
    • The design is then further developed into a set of plans that can be used for defining more of the project specifics and for refining the project budget. This level of drawings includes building sections, interior and exterior finishes, general building systems, structural specifications, and schedules.
  • Construction Documents
    • Once the final design is approved, documents that include the details of how the project is to be constructed are created. Structural connections and foundation details are completed.

3. Estimating and Scheduling

At this point, the construction cost estimate can be completed. The project manager discusses construction and schedule details with the client to properly implement and enable estimating of the final costs. For example: Can construction operations be performed during the day or is it an addition/renovation that requires construction operations to be coordinated with the occupants of the current building? Will weather affect the timing and cost of the construction operations? When does the client want to occupy the new building? All these answers can affect the project cost and schedule.

All these steps happen before construction even starts!

4. Construction

This is where the rubber meets the road.

  • Site Work
    • This is where the site topography and elevation come in. If the site is not “pad ready” or already prepared for the new building, it must be shaped and stabilized to accommodate it. This step includes clearing, grubbing, and grading the land in preparation for building foundations, roads, parking lots, utilities, etc. Our in-house engineering and construction team work together for compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), stormwater pollution prevention program, and local stormwater requirements.
  • Foundations
    • After the land has been prepped, the foundation is set. A stable foundation is crucial to the project’s success. This part of the design and construction sets the course for the building’s structural components both now and looking forward for future expansion possibilities.
  • Structure
    • Our carefully selected crews assemble the steel, wood, or concrete structures that were specified during design by our engineering team specifically for the project to frame the building.
  • Building Systems
    • Roofing, Exterior Glazing, Fire Suppression, HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing, and Life Safety Systems are installed per the specifications and details of specialty A&E designers by skilled tradesmen and mechanics.
  • Interior Finishes
    • During this final phase of building construction, the proper selection of finishes by the designers and the coordination of the installation of these finishes by skilled and qualified tradesmen is essential. The finishing touches include everything from ceiling, wall, and floor finishes, windowsills, lighting fixtures, door hardware, key schedules, and more. This is where the building takes shape to fit the needs of the business that will be using it. This is followed by a walk-through with the owner to ensure the finished product meets their expectations.

5. Post-Construction

Time to move in!

  • Building Occupancy
    • Throughout the entire project, there have been many required code-compliant inspections. After the project is complete, a final inspection by local agencies is scheduled and completed to make sure everything has been followed to code compliance inclusive of a complete and operable Life Safety System proving the building is safe for the new owners’ intended use. The building then receives a Certificate of Occupancy.
  • Facility Operations & Maintenance
    • At the end of the project, we walk the owners through all the exciting details about their new building. This includes complete operations of the building from electrical panels to HVAC controls and programming, server rooms as well as the simpler things such as where to turn the water off and more. OK, maybe these are just exciting details to us. We will also supply an Owner’s Manual that includes plans, maintenance schedules, equipment manuals, contractor contact information and more so that the owner has everything they need to keep and support their new building for decades to come.

Now when you are driving down the road and you see an active construction site, you will not just see the construction phase – you can appreciate that there was much more behind the scenes involved in the process. There are many different designers, engineers, and building trades involved that need to be meticulously coordinated by an experienced contractor to achieve both a cost-effective and prompt completion of a construction project.

About the Author

Jerry Gruszewski has more than 35 years of commercial, industrial, institutional, educational and retail construction experience. Jerry has built more than three million square feet of office and warehouse facilities in Northeast Ohio. Jerry is a nationally recognized leader in OSHA safety compliance.