By Jeff Eriks, Cambridge Companies

October 1, 2018


What are the individual phases? Who should be involved in the project and phases? What type of timeline and budget do you need for even a small design and construction project?

Project planning is difficult, to say the least. Many factors play into the overall success and completion of a project. There are permitting authorities, internal teams and departments, governmental agencies, sometimes competition (who may cause additional obstacles/challenges), neighbors causing issues and many other factors.

All the Phases

Construction projects typically involve various phases in their lifecycle. Those phases include project need identification, feasibility phase, design phase, permitting and procurement phase, construction phase and occupancy phase. Following are outlines of what is included in each of these phases.

Step 1: Project Need Identification

Identifying a project need is usually an internal process within a company where someone who is involved in the overall management of the company or management of a specific facility identifies a need. During this phase, a rough scope is identified, a rough budget is developed and (depending on the company) a proforma is developed to help determine the overall project metrics, ROI, etc. Once this is completed, the project is either approved or denied or put on hold for a future year. If the project is approved, the Feasibility Phase begins.

Step 2: Feasibility Phase

During this phase, the team identifies a firm (either an architect or a design/build firm) to review the determined project need, develop preliminary designs, preliminary budgets, estimated schedules, and identify the potential permit process and other obstacles as well as any potential issues. Upon completion of the Feasibility Phase, a solid business case will be able to be put together to back-up or modify the one prepared in Step 1. If all obstacles are cleared and the feasibility report provides efficient data, it is time to begin the Design Phase.

Historically, I have felt that bringing in a design/build firm at the Feasibility Phase is crucial because they can help to think through construction means and methods as well as put together budgets based on their current sense of the market. The firm brought in to assist should also be knowledgeable of the industry as well as familiar with the operations of the facility you are looking to build or repair.

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