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Preconstruction Meetings: What You Need To Know


Posted on April 9th, 2024

Preconstruction Meetings: What You Need To Know.

Construction is a complex process involving many different stakeholders. Before starting a new project, most contractors hold a preconstruction meeting to set expectations and ensure everyone’s goals are aligned. 

What is a preconstruction meeting?

During a preconstruction meeting, stakeholders set milestones, define roles and responsibilities, and create a plan of action for a construction project. They’ll review budgets and schedules, establish guidelines for communication, and assess risks. 

Most projects start with at least one preconstruction meeting before any physical labor begins on the jobsite. Larger projects may require several meetings to work through all the necessary details. 

Why are preconstruction meetings important?

Preconstruction meetings are essential, because they greatly decrease the likelihood of disputes and litigation. The general contractor, project owner, subcontractors, and other parties can collaborate directly to define the project’s value and coordinate the project management process. 

While preconstruction meetings can't completely eliminate the risk of disputes, they provide contractors with an opportunity to clearly communicate how and when the project will be delivered.

How to prepare for a preconstruction meeting

To hold an effective preconstruction meeting, prepare in advance—you can't just show up and expect all the moving pieces of a project to fall into place. So, how do you prepare for a preconstruction meeting? 

Remember these key steps:

  1. Set an agenda

  2. Create a list of questions

  3. Gather important documents 

We’ll explain each step in detail.

Preconstruction meeting agenda

Draft an agenda for your preconstruction meeting and share it with all attendees as soon as possible, before the meeting is scheduled. In general, it’s best practice to formalize an agenda for any meeting, and it’s especially important for preconstruction meetings, which cover substantial amounts of information. 

Listing them out will help you make sure you’re not missing any necessary agenda items, and sharing the list in advance will give the other stakeholders a chance to add feedback.  

A preconstruction meeting agenda should include:

  1. Contact information - Provide a list of names and contact information for key members of the project team, such as the foreman, superintendent, project manager, and architect

  2. Project contract - Review the project’s contract, terms, and obligations

  3. Schedule - Review the proposed schedule for the project, including the final delivery date and any milestones

  4. Payments - Discuss payment terms and conditions

  5. Site conditions - Review the specifications of the jobsite in detail, including storage, security, and potential concerns

  6. Permits - Provide a list of all the legal permits and documentation required for the project

  7. Quality - Determine a plan for quality control and assurance

  8. Safety - Determine a plan to minimize the risk of safety incidents

  9. Communication - Establish methods and frequency of communication

  10. Documentation - Establish a plan for maintaining project forms and documents

Questions to ask at a preconstruction meeting

This is the perfect time to ask the project owner or collaborators for more information or clarification. Come prepared with a list of prewritten questions for the preconstruction meeting to make the most efficient use of time.

The type of questions you’ll have will vary depending on your role, the type of project, and what information you’ve already received. They can be broad questions about the scope of the project, specific questions about small design details, or anything in between.

Here’s some examples of questions that may be asked during a preconstruction meeting:

  • Who has the authority to make decisions about project budget or schedule?

  • Who should be contacted in the event of an emergency onsite?

  • What are the project milestones and expected dates to reach them?

  • How will the jobsite be kept secure?

  • Does the project owner expect weekly updates?

  • What will be done with any leftover materials once the project is completed?

  • What dates is the electrical contractor expected onsite?

  • What type of fire alarm/suppression system will be installed to meet requirements? 

  • Do the windows on every floor need locks?

  • Where are the measurements that are missing from this section of the blueprint?

  • Will we need to dig drainage routes to prevent flooding?

  • Is time built into the schedule for finishing?

Documents to review during preconstruction meetings

Bring a copy of any documentation you plan to review or reference during the preconstruction meeting. Whether you use paper or a digital copy, having the actual document on hand is a good way to prevent miscommunication.

Typically, you should review the following documents: 

  • Project contract 

  • Designs/blueprints

  • Project schedule

  • Site plan

  • Permits

  • Safety policy

  • Contact information/directory

Preconstruction meeting best practices

Once you’re prepared for your preconstruction meeting, there are a few more best practices to keep in mind.

Connect with stakeholders

You might be meeting the project owner or some of your collaborators for the first time, and you’ll likely be working with them for the next few weeks, months, or even years. Take the time to introduce yourself.

Establishing a personal connection can improve your working relationship and foster better cooperation. 

Stick to the agenda 

There’s plenty of ground to cover during a preconstruction meeting. Stick to the agenda to avoid going over time or overloading your audience with too much information.

If an agenda item leads to unrelated topics or takes too long to address, consider tabling it and scheduling additional time with only the necessary parties for a future discussion.

Assign action items

If an issue comes up during the meeting that will require further action, assign that action item immediately. Determine the best person to take ownership of the task and set a date for when it must be completed. 

Document everything

Take thorough notes and provide a summary of the meeting—plus the outcome of all the decisions that were made—to all attendees once the meeting is over.

It helps to designate an individual who will not be leading a majority of the discussion as the official note-taker.

Follow up

Don’t let all the hard work it took preparing for the preconstruction meeting go to waste. Follow up frequently with stakeholders as the project progresses.

Keep the line of communication you establish open to show you’re committed to the project’s success.

How Raken helps with preconstruction meetings

Successful preconstruction meetings depend on clarity. You need to communicate vast amounts of information clearly and concisely, or you’ll risk miscommunication and misinterpretation.

Raken makes it easy to collect and organize all the assets you need. Our construction document management software is simple to use, but super effective. Keep all your important forms, documents, and project data in one place, easily accessible from the field or office and ready to share with stakeholders.

Once the preconstruction meeting is over, your work’s just starting. Raken has you covered when it comes to daily construction reports too. We make daily reporting a quick and painless process, with mobile data capture, photo and video attachments, and automated workflows. Plus, our safety management tools help you make sure you’re delivering on safety obligations.Smarter tools, better documentation

Smarter tools, better documentation

Our easy-to-use web and mobile app simplifies project documentation, so you can keep stakeholders informed and tasks on track.

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