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The 6 Stages of a Construction Project


Construction projects can vary in size, number of parties involved, budget and delivery date. Whatever the case, however, a construction project is always a long and demanding process.

For every construction project, from the simplest to the most complex, there are a number of steps and processes to follow to ensure a successful outcome.

The good news is that, with the ongoing progress of digital solutions, the management of the various project phases can now be carried out much more easily and with greater precision. On top of this, collecting valuable data in the field can play a decisive role in improving, and ideally, standardizing the construction process for future projects.

In a nutshell, here are the 6 stages of a construction project and what you need to know:

1. Project development

Normally, project development begins with the customer. This is where the dream begins, as does the search for the right location and the specifications/standards to be followed.

Depending on the project, the development stage can vary. It can take anywhere from a few days to several months, or even longer, depending on how close the project is to completion.

It goes without saying that, in general, construction workers are hardly ever involved during this stage, as the ball is always in the project owner’s court.

2. Design phase


Once the project is close to completion, it’s time to sit down and talk design. This is always a preliminary stage, which means that nothing is guaranteed at this stage. Nevertheless, design is the stage at which the tendering process generally begins.

The design team, led by an architect or engineer, must ensure that all government regulations and codes are respected, as well as the project owner’s vision. They must also ensure that the newly-built structure will be usable.

There are normally four different stages within the design phase itself, including programming and feasibility, schematic design, design development, and contract documents.

During the programming and feasibility stage, project objectives and priorities must be defined. Many decisions are made at this stage, including how big the building will be, how the space will be used, and how many rooms it should contain.

Schematic design is a sketch that shows the space, materials, colors and even textures. This sketch will be used during the design process to determine the equipment needed, as well as its cost and the materials used.

Once the contract documents have been drawn up, everything is ready to be finalized, as they contain the final plans and specifications. These documents are used in the construction industry by those bidding to work on the project.

3. Construction phase

This phase begins once the tender phase has been completed and the contractor selected to carry out the work. Once the contractor has been selected, the project team is set up.

The mission of the project team is to prepare the construction site before work begins. As a general rule, the project team is made up of the following members:

– Contract administrator

– Project manager

– Superintendent

– Site engineer

– Health and safety manager

Working closely with the contractor, the project team is responsible for carrying out a site visit to examine the construction site. The site survey will enable the project team to detect or anticipate environmental challenges that may emerge during the construction process. Soil analysis is also an integral part of this stage.

Once all the information has been gathered, the plans and conclusions must be reviewed by the municipal authorities. This is usually a lengthy procedure, as all concerns and opinions must be heard and taken into account.

4. The procurement phase

Now it’s time for the project team to order and receive materials, equipment and labor. This stage of the project can be more or less complex and demanding, depending on the size of the project, the resources available and the agreed start date.

Many large construction companies have their own procurement departments, in which case it’s not uncommon for the construction company to order workers, equipment and materials for several different projects simultaneously. This process can vary greatly for smaller projects.

All this work is generally carried out by the general contractor, although subcontractors are sometimes entrusted with certain parts. Subcontractors may be responsible for hiring their own workers or ordering their own materials, so they know they have exactly what they need to do their part of the job.

5. The construction phase

Before the construction phase begins, a pre-construction meeting is held to ensure that everyone is on the same wavelength when the work begins. This meeting usually covers the following topics:

– Site access

– Project quality control

– How and when to store materials

– Team working hours

Schedules for each worker can be distributed at this time. It’s also important to note that the schedule of each project player may vary according to their role. This is particularly true for subcontractors who need to have certain parts of the work completed before they can start their part. Obviously, poor planning at this stage can lead to serious delays and budget overruns.

Once the meeting is over and all issues have been resolved, the very first stage of the project can begin. The aim at this stage is for things to be meticulously planned so that everything runs smoothly. Of course, this is rarely the case, as there is always a moment when something goes wrong during a construction project.

To avoid the pitfalls, when planning your construction project, you need to make use of some digital solutions.

6. The post-construction phase

Last but not least, the post-construction phase. Now that all the site work has been completed, the project is drawing to a close.

Nevertheless, there are still a few steps that need to be completed before the keys to the building can be handed over.

In general, the final phase of the project is divided into three critical stages:

1. Commissioning a new building

One of the first things to do is inspect the entire building. If everything has been done correctly, these inspections are fairly quick to carry out.

This is because other inspections have normally been carried out during the course of the project. During these preliminary inspections, problems should have been detected and corrected.

Once everything has been checked, the project team must brief the customer on the operation and maintenance of the newly constructed building. This is an extremely important step, as it will help ensure the long-term future of the project.

2. Owner occupancy

Now that the owner’s briefing is complete, he or she can take charge of the building. This is when the warranty period begins. This reassures the project owner that he or she has sufficient time to examine all the different systems, equipment and materials that have been installed.

There are three main types of construction warranty:

– Express warranties: these are normally included in the contract.

– Tacit warranty: imposed by law.

– The legal warranty: this is introduced by state regulations.

3. Closing

This is the final stage in the long process of designing and completing a construction project. The project team must close all contractual agreements and ensure that the project is free of any type of legal burden.

At this stage, a good practice is to carry out a post-project review, which can enable the various stakeholders to detect tasks that were not completed successfully, analyze why this happened, and compile a list of lessons for the future.

A post-project review can also be the basis for creating a detailed project completion report.

A final word

Ultimately, each stage of a construction project is a sequence of different tasks, decisions and tools. Its complexity largely depends on the size and type of project, but there are always certain essential steps that cannot be overlooked.

Impeccable communication between the various stakeholders and fact-based decisions are two essential pillars in efforts to streamline a construction project and ensure that all phases are developed and completed within the agreed schedule and budget.

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