6 Signs You Might Be Ready for a Career in Preconstruction


Not every construction professional wants to be in the field or in project management. Working in the world of preconstruction services allows construction fanatics with different skillsets and interests to thrive. Preconstruction services may include budgeting, forecasting, and planning, but it requires much more than an analytical mind. We’ve identified six attributes found in a successful preconstruction services professional at Hourigan:

1. You’re a planner

In preconstruction, you’re always looking ahead and assessing long-term impacts. You understand the flow of design and construction, and the more you dig into a project during the preconstruction phase, the more issues you can work to resolve. The small items that take little time to work through during the preconstruction phase can seem insurmountable during the construction phase. By addressing these items early on, you can prevent future headaches from the associated cost, time, and resources required to correct these issues.

2. You’re relationship focused

In preconstruction, you’re meeting, working, and communicating with owners, architects, subcontractors, and vendors on a daily basis. Fostering collaborative relationships and open communication with all parties not only ensures a successful transition from the conceptual phase to actual construction, but ultimately leads to positive long-term working relationships.

3. You seek out variety

Very few projects are alike. Every now and then a building may look familiar, but rarely does a project repeat itself. Every project comes with its own set of characteristics and challenges that are rarely matched – you can be working on a hospital one month, an office building the next, and a condo after that. The preconstruction efforts on a project typically take much less time than the actual construction of a building. In the span of a year, a preconstruction services professional can work on numerous projects while someone physically building a structure may only work on one.

4. You like the details

Preconstruction requires you to learn each project from the inside-out. This means a project can take you from the geotechnical phase to the selection of carpet material and art on the wall. In preconstruction, you need to understand the full scope of work that will be involved in a building so that you can properly assign work to the corresponding trades to minimize change orders and mishaps during construction. You’re also tending to conceptual budgets, quantity surveys, unit prices, and proposals, as well as reviewing contracts and purchase orders.

5. You enjoy continuous learning

A project will generally come in over budget early in the design process. The preconstruction team is tasked with bringing costs back in line with the budget. An interest in staying up to date on the latest trends can help a preconstruction services professional guide the designers and owners to more cost-effective solutions. In the same vein, an awareness of current events and how they affect the construction world is key – for example, the USA’s policies with other countries are leading to uncertainty in commodity prices. Events of this nature can directly impact the construction industry.

6. You’re always asking questions

How much would it cost if we change this office from a four- to a five-story building with the same square footage?  What’s the cost and scheduling difference between a cast-in-place concrete structure and a steel building?  A lot of time is spent comparing ideas and “what if…” scenarios. In preconstruction, you’re questioning the status-quo to ensure the success of a project and the satisfaction of the client.

Preconstruction is one piece of the impactful industry that is construction. If you find yourself relating to the key points of this article, there may be a place in preconstruction waiting for you.

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