A Million Dollars' Worth of Experience
How do you add a million dollars of value to your construction project? Meld your general contractor's knowledge with your architect's design using a process called constructability review.
Constructability review aims to bring construction knowledge into project design by having the general contractor review the project plans to make sure they are sufficiently clear and complete to construct from. Identifying potential conflicts between the proposed locations of various systems in the building, making sure what is drawn can be built efficiently, and providing feedback based on the experience of the contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers is paramount to successful constructability review.
Constructability review is not a one-time review. It is a continuous, collaborative, process that provides the best value when started early on in the design phase and continues through the construction phase.
Specific to our multi-family apartment projects, we use our Constructability Checklist and our Multi-Family Best Practices List as we review the drawings to ensure that they are coordinated.
We compare architectural with structural drawings. Is the architect's clear height at the garage entrance accommodated by the structure and exterior finishes?
We compare the architectural drawings with the civil drawings. Do the floor elevations at grade match sidewalk or street elevations?
We compare architectural and structural drawings with the MEP design. How are the electrical primaries routed, are they coordinated with shoring, are they 3-hour protected within the building, and do they meet the maximum allowable degrees of bends?
We review to ensure that the details allow the building to perform. Are the air barrier details coordinated with structural elements? Do the details allow the air barrier to pass through the parapet wall from the roof to the exterior wall properly? Is it buildable?
We also help review for ADA compliance. Are sidewalk slopes and cross slopes adequate? Are wheelchair clearances within units met? Are electrical outlets accessible?
We then review the drawings for dimensions and construction tolerances. Are all needed dimensions shown? Are dimensions shown from a useable location? Do dimensions allow for constructible tolerances? Do they take into account variations in the physical characteristics of the material specified?
Finally, we review to ensure that requirements are clear. Do the drawings adequately show siding types? Do the specifications reflect the contract documents? Do the UL assemblies or GA file numbers match those to be used by our subcontractors?
Means & Methods
Means and methods are the processes of putting the work in place. As the general contractor, we determine the appropriate techniques and equipment required to efficiently and SAFELY achieve the end result of the contract documents.
This of course includes how we build and in what order (sequencing), but it also includes site logistics, crane location, handling of stormwater during construction, and MEP drilling and routing. We also consider the temporary measures required to support construction including temporary shoring and temporary power set up and routing.
Safety is always at the forefront of our minds, not only while building but also while planning, with appropriate means and methods setting the stage for a safe job site. A safe plan is site-specific, has thoughtful sequencing, utilizes the correct equipment, provides ample staging area, and considers the neighboring properties and the public around the site.
Impacts to the Project
As the general contractor, we are the project owner's advocate; looking out for the owner's best interest and working with the project team to ensure that the building meets their needs, budget, and schedule, while also respecting the architect's design intent. The owner expects that we have enough knowledge to build the building. But we need to go a step further to make sure that the project achieves the owner's design and program, and aligns with their priorities. Without a thorough constructability review process during the preconstruction phase, the project could suffer adverse effects in quality, schedule, and/or cost during construction.
Quality: Constructability review reduces impacts to quality by determining how the building will be constructed ahead of time, thereby eliminating mistakes in the field and avoiding re-work.
Schedule: Constructability review reduces impacts to schedule developing an efficient, realistic schedule for the project from the start. Pre-planning and preparation give subcontractors confidence that our project will be organized and they can rely on us to be ready for them when the time comes.
Cost: Constructability review reduces impacts to cost by making adjustments to the project on paper during preconstruction instead of during construction. It is much less expensive to revise drawings than revise work in the field. RFI's are reduced, submittals are streamlined, and more time is spent focused on the construction of the building. Subcontractor pricing is more dependable and value-oriented if the construction documents are clear and coordinated.
Taking the time to engage in constructability review during preconstruction allows for the owner's goals and the architect's design to be achieved in a safe, efficient, manner that is reflected in a quality building we can all be proud of.