A Short Guide to Preconstruction

Know what is preconstruction and its role in construction projects.

What is Preconstruction?

Preconstruction, also sometimes spelled pre-construction, is the first step of any construction project. It’s the step where clients and contractors first meet to discuss their plans for the project before moving forward with the actual construction phase.


There are three steps to any construction project, and these are the preconstruction phase, the construction phase, and the post-construction phase. The preconstruction phase holds the least amount of actual construction work done as most of this is done in an office setting. Among the three, however, the preconstruction phase is considered the most important.

Without a proper preconstruction phase or preconstruction meeting, the construction phase will be affected, which will also affect the post-construction phase after. Similarly, if things were to go wrong in the middle of construction or post-construction, the people involved in them will always refer back to the preconstruction phase.

What Happens During Preconstruction?

preconstruction phases

What Happens During Preconstruction

The preconstruction phase is when preconstruction meetings happen, and preconstruction meetings are the foundation of a construction project. These meetings can span multiple days or hours, depending on the needs of the client and the needs of the project.

Usually, the first preconstruction meeting is when the project manager and the client first meet. This can be very casual or very formal depending on those involved, but it would often not be very in-depth just yet. During this first meeting, the client will explain their vision and their wants, and the project manager will give their initial thoughts on it and how feasible they think the project could be.

In the succeeding meetings, the client will then meet the general contractor, the construction manager, and the design head for further discussions. They will form the core team of the project. Together, they will settle on the project scope and develop visualizations of the project, schedules, and budget plans and finalize them before proceeding with the construction phase. They will also visit the site where construction will take place and inspect it.

There is no set number of preconstruction meetings to be held before things are finalized. Some clients may only need a few meetings, while others may request multiple meetings that can span months. What’s important is that the client, project manager, and contractors should always have open and consistent communication about the project. They should always update each other if there are any changes in the project planning so that different plans can be made immediately and so that everyone is on the same page.

During the preconstruction phase, the core team should also discuss possible risks that they might encounter during the construction phase and devise plans to mitigate them. Additionally, the team also needs to work together to get all the necessary permits, materials, and licenses before proceeding to the construction phase, as everything should be ready before then.

Using Checklists

A checklist is essential to the preconstruction. Each preconstruction meeting can call for multiple checklists, depending on what was discussed.

The project manager, along with the core team of the preconstruction phase, often uses preconstruction meeting checklists to keep track of topics that need to be discussed and the tasks that need to be done. A checklist also helps set the flow of things to be done and keep them in order, acting as the framework for the whole process.

Checklists can also serve as official documents for the construction process. Later in the construction and post-construction phases, these checklists can be referred to in order to ensure that the right materials were used, the permits were obtained on time, and the budget was followed as much as possible. Additionally, these checklists can serve as a reminder to stick to the schedule set and serve as a basis for what the ideal timeline should look like in case changes need to be made. Preconstruction checklists and other construction checklists can also help manage risks and safety concerns, allowing the core team to prepare for them, should they happen.

Create Your Own Preconstruction Checklist

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SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) for Preconstruction

For your future preconstruction meetings, consider using a digital checklist app such as SafetyCulture instead. SafetyCulture (iAuditor) is an app that allows you to create and use digital checklists from any desktop or mobile device and share them with your team. Using SafetyCulture for your preconstruction phase can help make your workflow smoother and faster, as you can store everything in the cloud and refer to them later during the other phases.

With SafetyCulture, you can:

  • Use pre-made templates from the Public Library and edit as needed
  • Use your existing Word, Excel, and PDF checklists by uploading them to the app
  • Schedule one-off and recurring inspections and assign them to personnel
  • Notify people of problems through Issues, Actions or Heads Up
  • Store previously accomplished forms for later viewing

Try SafetyCulture for free today.

Roselin Manawis
Article by

Roselin Manawis

SafetyCulture Content Specialist
Roselin Manawis is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. She has experience in news writing and content marketing across different fields of discipline. Her background in Communication Arts enables her to leverage multimedia and improve the quality of her work. She also contributed as a research assistant for an international study and as a co-author for two books in 2020. With her informative articles, she aims to ignite digital transformation in workplaces around the world.