The eight stages of every construction project

Construction projects, whether building a new home or a commercial building, are complex tasks involving many moving parts.

And suppose this is your first time handling a construction project. In that case, you may want to know the crucial stages so you can better manage your expectations, allocate resources efficiently, meet milestones, and work within budget.

If that’s your aim, then this blog is for you. We’ll review the eight stages your construction project will require to succeed. If you’re ready, then let’s start with the first stage!

1) Project launch

Every construction project starts with an idea. Before breaking ground, thoroughly consider what you want to build, how it will be used, what features are necessary, and which are just for aesthetics.

In the planning and conception stage, you’ll nail down the scope, purpose, size, layout, and high-level budget for the project. Be sure to consider how the building will serve your needs now and into the future. This vision will drive decision-making through every subsequent step of the process.

I suggest you spend some time visiting similar buildings to the one you’re hoping to build to gather inspiration.

And please, don’t skip the step of finding the correct location. Site selection impacts permitting processes, costs, and how well the space ultimately functions. So, invest some effort upfront in getting the perfect location to build your building.

2) Project planning and designing phase

With a clear vision in place, the next stage is setting out a plan and creating a design for your construction project. This is when you’ll have to select qualified architects and engineers to produce technical drawings and plans that will transform your vision into buildable specifications.

The planning phase involves a back-and-forth discussion between you, the client, and the design team.

The designing team will provide the architectural plans, which will indicate the positioning of walls, entries and exits, windows, and layout of rooms. They will also offer engineering drawings showing the building’s structural, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing plans.

However, be prepared to make many incremental decisions during this collaborative planning process as the designs are refined and optimized.

3) Preliminary phase

The preliminary or preconstruction phase is when a general contractor or construction manager provides critical budgeting, scheduling, constructability review, and preparatory services.

It’s always better to get quotes from multiple trusted contractors or companies so you can go with the best fit in terms of budget, experience, responsiveness, and understanding of your project goals.

Take time to check references and evaluate their insurance certificates. The right general contractor becomes your main point of contact through the construction process, so choose wisely!

They’ll go through the plans earlier sketched out by the architects and engineers thoroughly to identify pain points in the design, reason through the approaches, consider alternative materials and construction techniques, and provide budget reality checks.

4) Procurement phase

Once you’ve received the necessary approvals and permits, your contractor will kick off the purchasing and procurement phases. This step involves securing bids, awarding trade contracts, ordering long-lead-time building materials, and staging equipment rentals or subcontractor services needed to complete your construction work.

Your general contractor will likely handle most supply and equipment sourcing. So, ensure your contract holds them accountable for quality control, order accuracy, and site security.

Setting clear expectations upfront prevents problems down the road, and you definitely want to avoid problems when your project is halfway through.

5) Construction phase

As soon as the site has been prepared, construction will kick off. If all has gone smoothly in previous phases, construction should proceed according to the agreed-upon schedule from your general contractor.

For complex projects, always ask for a detailed construction timeline complete with milestones that allow you to track progress.

During construction, questions or issues that require decisions from you will inevitably come up. To prevent delays, establish efficient communication channels and be responsive to contractor requests. While you don’t need to be on-site daily, regular check-ins are necessary.

6) The closeout phase

As the physical construction nears completion, there are a few loose ends to tie up in the closeout phase. This includes any last inspections from local building authorities and an intensive final walkthrough to check that your contractor’s work meets the agreed-upon quality standards in your contract.

Only sign off on the final payment to your general contractor after you are delighted with the finished product. This also marks when you’ll receive any releases of liens, warranty information, maintenance recommendations, as-built drawings, etc.

7) Cleaning phase

For commercial buildings, professional cleaning services should be secured prior to tenants or customers entering the space. This is because construction dust, debris, and equipment can leave behind a significant mess that can only be handled by a professional construction cleaning service.

These people will thoroughly detail all surfaces and flooring so your tenants have little to no work on their hands when packing in and setting up their space. They can also perform HVAC duct cleaning if needed. For convenience, many general contractors provide these sorts of cleaning packages. So, check in with your contractor.

8) Post-construction phase

A short post-construction stage remains even after your building is complete and occupied. During this phase, ask your tenants (if it’s a commercial building) to monitor systems and finishes for proper performance.

Issues like leaks, improper ventilation, or wiring problems sometimes crop up after the building has been completed, and funny enough, they often go undetected until someone occupies the space.

So, it’s a good idea to keep a running issue list for the first year of use. Work collaboratively with your general contractor if warranty-based defects arise within this window. They should find a solution as soon as possible.

And that’s it! The eight stages of every construction project.