How To Run Preconstruction Meeting: The Ultimate Guide

Written by Bridget Cooper

DateFeb 29, 2024
Reading time10 min read
preconstruction meeting

Rushing headfirst into a construction project without the necessary groundwork can spell trouble. It's a recipe for setbacks, frustrations, and, ultimately, unnecessary costs.

Before even the first shovel hits the dirt, everyone involved in your construction project needs to be on the same page — and a preconstruction meeting can help you achieve this. It provides a chance for every team member to understand what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and what challenges may lie ahead.

In this article, we’ll guide you on what a preconstruction meeting is and how to run one effectively.

What Is A Pre-Construction Meeting?

A pre-construction or pre-con meeting is an on-site discussion of the project's main team and the subcontractors about to begin work. This session aims to:

  • Review The Subcontractor’s Scope of Work: Provide a clear understanding of the subcontractor's responsibilities and how they fit into the overall project.
  • Review Both Parties' Organizational Structures: Understanding the communication channels to streamline coordination and decision-making.
  • Review The Project Schedule: Aligning on timelines and critical milestones for the project’s different phases and tasks.
  • Review Safety Orientation Requirements: Setting out the safety protocols and training necessary for a safe work environment.
  • Review the Request for Information (RFI) and Submittal procedures: Establishing the process for queries and document submissions to avoid any delays.
  • Review the Submittal Schedule: Aligning on timelines for submissions of plans, samples, and other required documents for review and approval.
  • Review the Change Order Request (COR) procedure: Outlining the process for requesting changes, including approvals, documentation, and adjustments to scope or budget.
  • Review The Logistics Plan: Discussing site access, material storage, and coordination of activities for smooth operations on-site.

This meeting is for shedding light on the project scope, deadlines, and quality standards, so everyone is on the same page for achieving project milestones.

Pre-con meetings are performed between the project team onsite and the subcontractor team that is slated to start work. But the more voices, the better. Different perspectives bring fresh ideas and insights into the planning process. That's why other participants might include:

GC Side:

  • Superintendent
  • Project Engineer

Sub Side:

  • Superintendent
  • General Foreman
  • Safety Manager
  • Project Manager/Engineer

How To Run Preconstruction Meeting and Ensure Project Success

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your meeting covers all the bases:

Prepare a Pre-Construction Meeting Checklist

A well-thought-out checklist ensures nothing slips through the cracks before, during, or after the meeting. You can use it to coordinate various elements, from logistical details to project documents, and prevent any last-minute scrambles.

Every project is unique. So you'll often need a customized checklist tailored to fit the project and client's needs. But as a general rule, here's what you'll want to have handy for most meetings:

  • Meeting location and logistics
  • Creating visual aids
  • Attendee list
  • Action items and responsibilities
  • Project plan and construction documents
  • Contracts

Prepare a Pre-construction Meeting Agenda

A pre-construction meeting agenda maps out the meeting and ensures it remains focused, efficient, and results-driven. It outlines:

  • the topics to be discussed
  • the order of presentation
  • the allotted time for each item

While the specifics might change from project to project, a standardized meeting agenda normally covers topics like:

  • Introduction to participants
  • Key project milestones
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • The construction schedule
  • Contracts to be reviewed
  • Document reviews
  • Payment terms

Here are a list of the top preconstruction meeting questions to ask for a successful project.

If possible, send the pre-construction meeting agenda to participants ahead of time. It gives them the opportunity to review it, understand the meeting's expectations, and make any necessary preparations. Stakeholders can prepare questions in advance and be more engaged in discussions related to their responsibilities.

Ensure Everyone Understands Their Role in the Project

Every member of the project team — from the engineers creating blueprints to the subcontractors bringing those plans to life — needs to know their roles, responsibilities, and how they fit into the broader project framework.

Your pre-construction meeting provides the answers to:

  • Who they report to
  • Who holds the power to make key decisions
  • How information moves through the project hierarchy

By convening the team, you provide an opportunity for project members to understand not only their own responsibilities but also how their contributions integrate with others to realize project objectives.

To start off, recognize crucial roles within the project team and spell out the tasks linked to each role. Once everyone knows who's doing what, lay out exactly what's expected from them. This means listing out deliverables, expected outcomes, and the standards they need to meet. Also, remember to establish channels for sharing information, resolving conflicts, and coordinating activities.

This clarity prevents confusion, minimizes overlaps, and promotes accountability throughout the project lifecycle.

Review Payment Terms and Procedure

Discussing finances upfront might not be the most comfortable part of a preconstruction meeting. It's natural to worry about coming across as overly focused on money rather than the quality of the project.

But tackling payment terms from the get-go can actually help establish clarity, transparency, and mutual understanding throughout the project lifecycle.

You want to stay on top of your finances and ensure that there are no unexpected financial constraints that could disrupt workflow or delay payments to subcontractors and suppliers — and payment conversations play a big part in achieving this goal.

First, you need to establish a clear and detailed payment schedule. Take the time to discuss when payments are due and identify the specific deliverables or milestones that trigger each payment.

Address any retention or holdback amounts in the contract and review the conditions under which these funds will be released. If change orders are part of the equation, make sure to clarify how they may impact payment terms.

Another important aspect to cover is the invoicing process. Delve into submission deadlines, required documentation, and authorized billing contacts to streamline the payment workflow. Also, establish a designated point of contact and communication channels for any payment-related queries.

Manage Change Orders and Set Quality Expectations

Construction projects often evolve, and changes become necessary along the way.

Client preferences can shift, unforeseen discoveries during site work can pop up, or regulations can change — so it pays to be prepared to adapt and respond effectively. You need to consider how any potential change orders might impact the project's timeline, budget, and available resources from the outset.

Invest time in discussing strategies for accommodating change orders and ensuring that they are managed efficiently. Clarify who needs to give the green light for changes. If possible, set up an approval process involving relevant stakeholders to speed up decision-making.

Clearly define communication channels for submitting and reviewing change order requests, and make sure that all stakeholders are kept in the loop throughout the process.

Discuss how to organize and retain all change order documentation effectively. This includes maintaining a clean record of approved changes, associated costs, and their impact on project milestones.

Review Project Documents

Dedicate enough time to go over all documents and contracts thoroughly. This includes not only reviewing the main construction contract but also discussing any:

  • Subcontractor contracts
  • Insurance policies
  • Permits
  • Regulatory approvals

Take the time to identify any inconsistencies between contractual agreements that need to be addressed before proceeding. Discuss procedures for documenting project progress, issues, and changes to ensure transparency and accountability throughout the project lifecycle.

If anyone has questions, or concerns, or wants to make changes to the contracts and documents, the preconstruction meeting is the perfect place to discuss it. Team members can bring up any problems, get clarifications on confusing bits, or suggest changes to better match what they need and want.

Review the Project Schedule to Identify Potential Bottlenecks

Before actual project execution, everyone involved needs to understand all the phases, milestones, and critical deadlines of the construction project.

Discuss the sequence of tasks outlined in the schedule and identify any dependencies between them. Clarify which activities are interlinked and how delays in one might cascade to others. 

Take the time to discuss the frequency of milestone reviews and how to identify and address any deviations promptly for the benefit of both the contractor and the owner.

Why are Pre-Construction Meetings Important?

Below are some of the benefits of holding a meeting before construction begins:

Allows Stakeholders To Raise Questions, Express Concerns, and Propose Changes

All parties involved get a chance to voice their thoughts and contribute to the decision-making process. They can openly discuss and resolve questions, concerns, and proposed changes. This open dialogue makes it easier to tweak plans, tackle challenges head-on, and ensure everyone is in sync.

Helps Identify Potential Risks

Construction projects rarely go exactly as planned. Even before the first brick is laid, potential issues can start creeping in. These might include discrepancies in the project plans, unclear specifications, or conflicts in schedules. Pre-construction meetings serve as the ideal opportunity to iron out these details.

Streamlines Planning And Coordination

Preconstruction meetings let contractors plan and coordinate every detail of their projects carefully. This includes sorting out procurement, scheduling, resource allocation, and coordinating with subcontractors. Taking this proactive approach helps you keep disruptions to a minimum, make the most of your resources, and ensure your project runs smoothly from its initiation to completion.

Prevents Potential Conflicts And Miscommunication

Stakeholders can resolve issues promptly and amicably. Whether it's conflicting design preferences, scheduling conflicts, or scope ambiguities, dealing with these concerns early helps prevent disputes from escalating into costly conflicts or legal battles.

Saves Costs

By addressing discrepancies in plans, specifications, and requirements upfront, you can prevent future delays, rework, and change orders.

But this proactive approach doesn't just prevent potential headaches. It also helps optimize your resources, ensuring that every dollar counts towards the project's profitability.

Streamline the Pre-construction Process with Downtobid

Pre-construction meetings lead to effective planning, coordination, and collaboration among stakeholders. But it's just one piece of the puzzle in the larger pre-construction process.

To ensure your project's success, you also need the right subcontractors on board. Downtobid simplifies this task by allowing you to send automated, personalized ITBs to subcontractors with just a few clicks. The outcome? Accurate quotes and bids from the most suitable subcontractors for your project.

You also need to make sure your project documents are accurate to minimize change orders or costly reworks. Our platform uses advanced AI to detect the project scope in your construction plans, allowing you to catch contradictions in design documents and construction drawings. You don't have to sift through a 500-page set of plans; you can free up more time for more important project matters.

Ready to take the first step toward a successful construction project? Try Downtobid for free today.

Written by Bridget CooperUpdated on Mar 8, 2024

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