Pre-Con: The Critical Conference

Later this month, we will begin the holiday season with Thanksgiving, a great time of year to reflect and be thankful for the many gifts in our lives. Many will cook, eat, watch parades, eat, watch football, eat, visit with family and did I mention eat. How will you fit all of these activities into one short day? Much like Thanksgiving, construction takes careful planning to pull of successfully. This month, as part of a look into the "Construction Alliance" and the "Construction Guidelines", we will explore what a "Preconstruction Conference" is, why it is important to the success of the project, and why you should be thankful to attend one.

What is a preconstruction conference? 

As the name implies, it is a meeting held at the project site, before construction, to focus on the complicated task of planning and coordinating the Work to come. The Architect on behalf of the Owner or the General Contractor / Construction Manager typically schedules the Preconstruction conference.

The meeting is typically required by the Project Manual, specifically, Division 01, Section 013100 - Project Management and Coordination. An agenda containing minimum meeting requirements is included and may contain one or more of the following discussion points:

  • Execution of the Owner-Contractor Agreement.
  • Submission of executed bonds and insurance certificates.Precon Conf1
  • Distribution of Contract Documents.
  • Submission of list of Subcontractors, list of products, schedule of values, and progress schedule.
  • Designation of personnel representing parties in the Contract, Architect/Engineer, and consultants.
  • Procedures for processing of field decisions, submittals, substitutions, applications for payments, proposal requests, requests for information, Change Orders, and Contract closeout procedures.
  • Scheduling special activities, such as geotechnical engineer, code required special inspections, etc.
  • Sustainable design requirements.
  • Use of the site.
  • Project record documents and other closeout requirements specified.
  • Other items pertinent to successfully coordinating and completing the project.

Why is a preconstruction conference important?

As you can see from the list above, the preconstruction conference goes over many items which affect the overall success of the project. These meetings go over bigger picture items and do not typically get into the minutia of specific Work related tasks. Those items are typically held for a pre-installation meeting which occurs before starting that particular scope of work.

Precon Conf2

Who attends a preconstruction conference?

 Typically, the Owner, Architect/Engineer, and Contractor/Construction Manager are mandatory attendees. However, on larger and more complicated projects, the attendees may also include major sub-contractors and suppliers. Really, any party to the project who has a financial stake in the successful outcome should attend the meeting. Speaking as a specifier, I would love to attend preconstruction conferences, or even better, pre-bid conferences (more on that later), to discuss and answer any questions or ambiguities. After all, specifiers have an intimate knowledge of what is in the Project Manual. 

Please make certain to read the guideline "Preconstruction Conference", and if you have any comments, please let me know. Next month join me as we discuss the "Progress Meetings".


Till next month…


Senior Specifier - Conspectus, Inc.

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