A new commercial construction project may be the largest expenditure a person or company ever makes. As a result, even for seasoned professionals, the process is exciting, but perhaps daunting at the same time.
This is a four-part series on taking a project from concept to completion. So far we’ve walked through the design, permitting, and contracting processes. In part three, I’ll review the actual construction process.
Your general contractor will work with the entire project team to provide an accurate project schedule. The schedule should track the critical path of the project by analyzing sequence of activities, lead times, and key milestones. A more detailed three-week look-ahead schedule will be provided on a weekly basis.
The groundbreaking ceremony is a great opportunity to generate publicity about your project as well as introduce your company’s employees to the new project.
If you are seizing the moment to generate interest and publicity for your project, you and your company leadership along with the developer, architect, and general contractor can gather with local officials, such as the mayor or city council members and state representatives to speak with PR and media professionals about the project and economic impact it will have on the local community. Large projects can even garner some big names. Our project with GM Financial in San Antonio was attended by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Likewise, a Bob Moore project in Arlington was attended by US Senator Ted Cruz.
Regardless of the size of the project, many owners have groundbreaking ceremonies. Even if it’s a private ceremony limited to your company’s employees, groundbreaking ceremonies are a great way to celebrate the realization of the investment you’ve made.
The Houston Chronicle has a good article on planning your groundbreaking ceremony.
The project manager is in charge of the overall project. Specific responsibilities include; planning and scheduling, resource allocation, project accounting, and control, while providing technical direction, ensuring compliance with all safety and quality standards that exceed customer expectations. Once construction begins, the project manager will be your primary point of contact throughout the duration of the project. In this role, communication is key to successful project completion.
After the project manager develops the project strategy and plan, it is the superintendent’s responsibility to see this plan set in action on a day-to-day basis. Responsibilities specific to the superintendent include: direction of tradesmen and subcontractors, providing quality control and assurance, maintaining sequences to meet schedule, and conducting weekly jobsite coordination and safety meetings. The superintendent must maintain communication with the project team and keep a professional working relationship with owners, architects, project managers, engineers and subcontractors. Like the project manager, the superintendent must maintain good communication with the project team to ensure a successful project.
Safety is one of the most important aspects of the construction process. There are many facets to construction safety, as can be seen in this article by OSHA. Many organizations, like the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA), and many others strive to go beyond the standards set by OSHA and constantly innovate new methods to ensure jobsite safety.
Quality Control is a very complicated and comprehensive part of the construction process. While the project manager and superintendent are responsible for day-to-day quality assurance, it is the general contractor’s initial selection of subcontractors that leads to superior project quality. Selecting subcontractors goes far beyond cost. Things to consider in the selection process include: past project history, experience of personnel, safety history, safety plan, responsiveness, and available resources to name a few. Again, communication with everyone on the project team is key.
Check out our final installment for next steps.
At this stage, you’ve reached substantial completion of the project. Next steps include final inspections with the city, punch list, final clean, close out, and warranty.