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Pre-Construction Planning Checklist For Property Owners

The road ahead may appear long and daunting if you are a property owner looking to dive into a construction project.

Typically, a building project may take months or years, and you can expect to encounter several challenges along the way. A lack of planning can land you in a bigger fix because things may go wrong in more than one way.

Deadlines and budgets may go haywire, and errors and wastage are likely to abound in unplanned projects. Conversely, a well-planned one is likely to complete smoothly and successfully.

But you must know the basics of construction planning to get the expected outcomes. In fact, planning is super important and should begin in the pre-construction phase even before you begin the project.

It gives you a head start because you have everything on paper and in your mind before time. But the idea of preparing lists, plans, designs, and specifications this early sounds overwhelming.

However, it is easier than you imagine because a simple checklist can show the way. Here is a pre-construction planning checklist property owners can rely on.

1. Understand your needs

The first step is to understand your needs, and the sooner you do it, the better. These may differ depending on whether you wish to build from scratch or renovate the property.

You must also consider key factors like your budget, timelines, aesthetic expectations, and lifestyle vision at this stage.

Deciding your requirements and expectations during the pre-construction phase enables you to share clear specifications with the builder.

It keeps everyone on the same page and prevents wastage and mistakes down the line. You have better chances of completing the building on time and within the budget.

2. Assess feasibility

As a property owner, you will probably want to understand the feasibility of a construction project before diving in. A feasible project is one with good chances of completion within the constraints of expectations, specifications, and budget.

In fact, feasibility assessment is the most sensible thing to do, as you can switch plans if things do not seem to go well during the pre-planning stage.

A contractor can decode the project’s feasibility by analyzing the scope and estimated cost. You can also seek adjustments to requirements and scope to bring the project within the realm of feasibility.

3. Consider alternatives

A construction project is a long-term and expensive commitment. You must not dive right in, but carefully consider each of your alternatives.

For example, you may build from scratch, buy and renovate, or buy and demolish to build new. Each model has its costs and benefits, so you must weigh them thoroughly before going ahead with the ideal one.

Experts recommend seeking advice from a financial advisor with good qualities to understand the ROI for each alternative.

You can also consider your long-term needs, such as planning to grow a family or expecting kids to leave, while reflecting on the options.

4. Define the scope of the project

Besides listing your needs, you must also define the scope as a part of pre-construction planning. It is crucial to ensure a sensible scope instead of following your whim, so let experts show you the way.

At times, you may chase unrealistic goals because of a lack of understanding and knowledge of the industry.

Be flexible and receptive because seasoned contractors and designers are in a good place to realign and determine a reasonable scope that matches your vision for the project.

You will be in a far better place at the end of the job.

5. Skip the last-minute changes

When you prepare a pre-construction checklist, commit to avoiding last-minute changes in the project. Remember that change orders can lead to cost overruns, so be sure to close things before getting the project underway.

Once it begins, ditch the temptation of changes, no matter how much you want to implement a trending design element or alter the layout due to a sudden idea.

Consider working with a cohesive design-build firm as it lets you avoid changes because of the absence of collaboration and shared vision.

Having the same team from start to end minimizes change orders and saves you a fortune down the line. Moreover, the design outcomes are likely better when everyone works toward a shared vision and goal.

6. Estimate the cost

Money is the cornerstone of a building project because the industry is resource-intensive. Typically, a construction job can cost thousands.

Even a renovation project can cost far more than you imagine. Budget estimates are an integral element of planning for pre-construction, so you must get them in place sooner than later. Once you have clear expectations and scope, it is easy to estimate a realistic cost.

Contractors estimate the budgets by referencing past projects with comparable specifications. They also dig deep by asking for quotes from subcontractors and suppliers. A little math and some forecasting are enough to get a close-to-accurate figure.

7. Flag potential issues

Another factor in the pre-construction checklist is finding and flagging potential issues and challenges. While some challenges are unexpected, you can foresee most of them with the right approach.

You may encounter project delays, cost overruns, and site mishaps during the construction phase. Mistakes and rework are others that may happen after the completion stage.

Foreseeing these issues and ideating solutions to prevent them puts you in a good place. You may even think of a disaster management plan if things go haywire after the construction begins.

Likewise, it is the right time to get the necessary permits to prevent legal and regulatory issues down the line.


Following this pre-planning checklist can save you from a lot of trouble once you get started with the construction project.

The best part is that you can collaborate with experts to do the hard work for you. Moreover, handling the requirements and scope early gives you a good start and minimizes the chances of errors and delays.

You will likely get what you want without spending more than you plan for. Pre-construction planning is, therefore, the best way to start, and you should not miss out on this phase.

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Post Author: Abimbola Joseph

Abimbola Joseph is a creative content developer who derives pleasure in encouraging individuals to be the best they can be in all relevant facets of life. She believes that we all have a better version of ourselves which can be leveraged to impact others and make the world a better place. Connect with me on Instagram @abimbolajoe.

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