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Last edited 03 Jan 2022
Construction projects are typically divided up into stages, at the end of which the client assesses the state of development of the project and considers; whether it satisfies their strategic objectives, that it is affordable, that value is being delivered, and that risks are acceptable. They can then decide whether to progress to the next stage.
A typical project might follow stages such as:
- Stage 1: Business justification.
- Stage 2: Feasibility studies.
- Stage 3: Project brief.
- Stage 4: Concept design.
- Stage 5: Detailed design.
- Stage 6: Production information.
- Stage 7: Tender.
- Stage 8: Mobilisation.
- Stage 9: Construction.
- Stage 10: Occupation and defects liability period.
- Stage 11: Post occupancy evaluation.
The pre-construction works, in their broadest sense, might include any activities before the construction phase commences, such as; business planning, appointing consultants, the preparation of feasibility studies and options appraisals, preparing the project brief, designing the project, obtaining permissions, appointing a contractor, preparing for construction to commence and so on.
However, a specific legal meaning of “pre-construction phase” exists in relation to health and safety. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM Regulations) are intended to ensure that health and safety issues are properly considered during a project’s development so that the risk of harm to those who have to build, use and maintain structures is reduced. They were introduced in 1994 following publication of European Directive 92/57/EEC on minimum safety and health standards for temporary or mobile construction sites.
The CDM Regulations 2015 suggests that the construction phase means the period of time beginning when construction work in a project starts and ending when construction work in that project is completed. The pre-construction phase refers to any period of time during which design or preparatory work is carried out for a project and may continue during the construction phase.
This might include:
- Appointing duty holders.
- Ensuring risks are eliminated or controlled through design work.
- Passing information to the principal contractor.
- Ensuring cooperation and coordination.
- Ensuring designers comply with their duties.
- Preparing pre-construction information.
NB Using Two Stage Open Book and Supply Chain Collaboration, published by HMSO in 2014, defines the preconstruction phase as: ‘…the phase of a project or programme of work before the Client authorises commencement of all works and related activities on and off site.’ It defines a preconstruction phase timetable as: ‘…a contractually binding timetable governing deadlines and interfaces for Preconstruction Phase activities by Integrated Team members under a Conditional Contract.’
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