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The Stages of a Capital Project: Pre-Construction

Capital projects can be complex endeavors. They require an immense amount of planning, strategizing, and coordinating from conception to closeout. (And take note: Capital projects are NOT the same as Capital Campaigns. More on that in future blog posts.)

The first stage of a capital project is referred to as pre-construction and this is where the foundation of a successful project is laid. At the beginning of the pre-construction stage, the Owner assembles a team of project managers, architects, engineers, and in some cases a construction manager. This is the team that will work together to bring your project from concept to completion. As Project Managers we may be a little biased, but we believe the Owner’s Project Manager should be engaged as early as possible in the process.

In short, the role of the Project Manager is to advance your capital project while allowing your staff to focus on your organization’s core mission. In the very early stages your Project Manager can help your organization build a preliminary project schedule and help you assemble a design team that is a good match for your project. Then, as your project team develops they can help you determine the best Project Delivery Method (PDM) for your project. (PDMs will be the subject of an upcoming blog post.)

Other activities that take place during pre-construction can include (but not limited to):

  • Design charrettes with stakeholders

  • Determining permitting requirements and submitting permit applications

  • Establishing a project schedule

  • Design, including Conceptual, Schematic, Design Development, and Construction Documents

  • Producing detailed budget estimates at strategic points along the design path

  • Providing continuous updates to stakeholders

Depending on the scope and scale of your capital project, the pre-construction stage can take months, and, in some cases, years. That may sound daunting, but the time, effort, and focus that is applied during the pre-construction stage will go a long way to ensuring your project is successful.

Follow along with our “Stages of a Capital Project” blog series on our website at

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