Any commercial construction or renovation project entails more than just arriving on site and commencing construction. The complexities involved with regard to the financial, geographical, legal, administrative, and scheduling factors extend far beyond the mere concept of getting permits and starting construction. Evidently, proper foresight is of utmost importance when anticipating or undertaking any commercial construction project.

Leaders with impeccable knowledge about success against adversity are often heard saying, “he who fails to plan is planning to fail”. There could have been no better manifestation of this saying than in the realm of commercial construction.

Owing to the intricacy and vastness of commercial construction projects, seasoned general contractors segment the tasks and procedures involved into clearly defined steps or phases as part of their planning and foresight. In the world of construction, these various aspects of planning form part of the pre-construction phase. Accordingly, the design activities are arguably the most crucial elements of the planning and pre-construction phase.

This is because everything that follows, including procurement, budgeting, scheduling, subcontracting, and ultimately construction, directly depend on the design. If the contractor and their design team omit, misinterpret, or misallocate a certain element during the design phase, the whole process will be affected, leading to unforeseen and undesired budget and schedule changes.

In return, these changes translate into many unpleasantries, such as delays and customer dissatisfaction. But with the help of a reliable general contractor and pre-construction partner like BelVan Construction, you can seamlessly position your project for success.

Read Also: Traits You Should Look For In A Pre-Construction Partner

To help you, as the project owner, avoid the aforementioned costly problems, we have compiled a list to help you comprehend the components of the design stage that make it an integral and crucial element during the pre-construction phase.

Design As Part Of Pre-Construction

The pre-construction phase plays a similar role in a commercial construction project as a foundation does for a building. The structure is as strong as the foundation on which it stands. Likewise, the design serves the same purpose for the preconstruction phase as footings do for a foundation.

In simple words, pre-construction involves everything that is done before the project is executed and the construction activities commence on the site. From the scope and objective determination to strategic planning, project briefs, project design, budgeting, scheduling, feasibility analysis, constructability review, securing permits, and procurement, most off-site activities fall under this umbrella term.

General contractors offer pre-construction consulting services to help project owners make more informed decisions based on factual and accurate information rather than assumptions.

Now, for improved coordination, coherence, and accuracy, the same design that is initially created during the concept design phase is used to build upon during all the other preconstruction and construction activities. This is the reason design is so crucial to not only pre-construction activities but, ultimately, the success of the whole project.

Now let us understand how the same design moves across various stages in the commercial construction process:

Conceptual Design

When a project owner brings their commercial construction needs to the table, the general contractor and their team start by acquiring a thorough understanding of exactly what the owner needs and wants. This is not done just verbally, but recorded into a document referred to as a statement of needs.

The design team then uses the statement of needs to create an initial design of what will best accomplish the project owner’s needs and wants. This first collaborative visualization of the project is known as the conceptual design.

Schematic Design

Conceptual design and schematic design basically coincide as every stakeholder provides detailed input into the design. Primarily, a schematic design is just a better version of the conceptual design as it contains more details and allows the team to develop the following items:

  • Specifications
  • Budget costs
  • Preliminary project schedule
  • Constructability reviews
  • Procurement options and much more

Detailed Design (Design Development)

Despite the details, the conceptual design is still considered a rough sketch or a skeleton to which details must still be added. The approved conceptual design only has the main elements of the project. For enhanced accuracy, the design is further developed as the designer builds on the design by adding details such as doors, windows, material types, colours, and other details that will be required in order to build the project.

In the end, this stage results in a full detailed design of the project, including even the tiniest details. The owner now attains a clear view of how their project will look once completed and can make any last minute tweaks to the design before construction commences.

These steps of the design process help the contractors get a precise estimate of the needed resources (labour, material, equipment, etc), the required timeline, and ultimately the costs.

Design For Administrative And Construction Activities

While the general contractor applies and waits for the necessary approvals and permits, the same design is handed over to a general contractors’ construction management team to sequence all the other activities, including procurement, mobilization and construction.

This crucial aspect requires diligence, technical knowledge, teamwork, and a lot of attention. Thus, instead of hiring different contractors for design and construction activities, hire BelVan as your design-build contractor to enjoy peace of mind with a team of architects, designers, engineers, suppliers, and subcontractors operating under a single contract.

About BelVan Construction

We are the most reputed general contractors in Edmonton, offering a vast range of commercial construction services under a single contract to ensure that the project owner attains the best value for their investment. Learn more about BelVan Construction.

Need high-end commercial construction services? Contact us now.


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