The Story Behind Construction Planning: Preparing a Construction Project for Launch

Chances are great you’ve seen a ceremonial photograph from a ribbon cutting ceremony. Smiling people don hard hats, cut the ceremonial ribbon, or overturn a symbolic shovelful of dirt in front of key stakeholders to mark the beginning of a project. In reality, this ceremony is far from the beginning. Interested parties have been working hard behind the scenes for months prior to the official project kickoff. The development’s stakeholders have been highly engaged in the construction planning process where the project’s plan and scope were defined, baselines were developed, and the entire plan was fine-tuned right up to the moment the ribbon is cut.



Developing the Project Plan

When beginning a trip, you usually consult a road map. The map is an important tool to keep you heading in the right direction. Think of the project plan as that same type of road map. The plan is not solely a project timeline. It incorporates scope, schedule, and cost baselines with a plan to review and manage each baseline component. The plan provides direction for planning, design, and construction teams and is a critically important plan that stakeholders can use to guide future decisions. As the project plan develops, adjustments may be made to reflect changes in the development’s design, schedules, and cost that are approved by the relevant stakeholders.

Developing Project Scope and Baseline

Once a preliminary plan is in place, the project team provides input on scheduling and pricing. The scope statement clearly describes the purpose and outcome of the project. It may include the following information:

  • Project Objectives
  • Project Benefits
  • Project Scope
  • Key Development Milestones

It is important to realize that the project’s scope is not etched in stone. It is subject to change, with approval, at any time during the project to better reflect the needs and purpose of the project.




The development’s schedule and cost baselines is a breakdown of all activities and tasks necessary to complete the project on time and within the stated budget. In defining baselines, project managers will

  • Identify resources
  • Estimate cost and time commitment for each task
  • Develop a schedule taking into account resource constraints
  • Develop a cost baseline which lays out the cost of the project

Again, this is hardly a one-time effort. These baselines will be revisited and fine-tuned throughout the pre-construction process to reflect information gleaned from value added workshops, revisions to the project scope, and changes in design.


Pre-Construction Services at South Bay Construction

Take another look at the faces in the same ceremonial snapshot. While the participants are excited to start the actual building of the development, the ribbon-cutting represents thousands of hours of planning, development, and design work by many individuals rather than the starting point of a the construction journey.

At South Bay Construction, our pre-construction services ensure that our clients have the most accurate information available during the design and inception phases of their projects to reduce the need for later revisions once the project is underway. Our estimating, value analysis, scheduling and procurement services can provide critical information to create more accurate plans, scopes, and baselines from day one.



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