9 Keys to Successful Planning for Civil Construction Projects
By Joey Goscha, BGCI Vice President of Operations
It’s true that no amount of planning can mitigate every risk on a construction project. But planning for the conditions you can control provides more capacity for managing unforeseen obstacles when they arise.
At BGCI, we have developed an intentional, repeatable process for setting our projects up for success. Each step of the planning process ensures we consider every conceivable contingency and provide our teams with the resources they need before they set foot on a jobsite.
Here are the 9 ways we make sure our projects are covered to reduce risk and create more value for our clients:
- Invest in Estimating. Meticulous estimates are key to avoiding cost overruns and other surprises. We build the job internally during estimating to ensure all details are accounted for in our budget. Our estimators have field experience, providing them with deep knowledge about what it takes to build a structure.
- Determine Laydown of Materials. Immediately after receiving project award, we begin devising the material laydown. In many cases, jobsites in our industry have small footprints. By determining how to best schedule material procurement, delivery, and placement on the front end, we make the most efficient use of space throughout our scope of work.
- Establish Access. Are there multiple access points? Who else requires access? What will be the most effective and cost-efficient access for the work we need to perform? Establishing these routes ahead of time are crucial for confirming our sequencing will work as planned — both for our team, and for our project partners.
- Plan for Water Diversion. Figuring out what to do with water is a challenge for every Gulf Coast construction project. Early planning enables our team to devise strategies for removing water as quickly as possible with the least amount of energy — ideally, through gravity.
- Set Up Our Jobs. Real-time tracking of jobsite costs are essential to confirming the budget is on target. We combine a simplified coding system with easy access to digital platforms so our field staff can enter quantities and time as they go. As a result, we can provide our clients with accurate budget overviews at any point during the project.
- Model the Structure. Advanced construction technologies like building information modeling (BIM) reveal details that simply can’t be seen in 2D drawings. Our in-house technology team models all our complex concrete civil structures in BIM. By building virtual projects during preconstruction, we can address discrepancies, potential clashes, and other issues that would bring work to a halt in the field.
- Develop the Schedule. Building an accurate schedule is critical to reducing client risk. As with estimating, we apply resources on the front end to develop realistic schedules with attainable milestones — and then we manage those milestones on a daily basis. It’s how we drive the schedule with efficiency to ensure critical path tasks are delivered as promised.
- Staff the Project. Having the right resources on the job at the right time goes hand-in-hand with maintaining schedule commitments. At BGCI, we have long-tenured senior construction leaders who provide expert oversight and insight. We have also built an extensive portfolio of talented and skilled co-workers to match the right skills with each job’s requirements.
- Build the Tool Room. Some construction firms are comfortable purchasing tools as they go. We stock our tools rooms on day one with every tool our craftworkers will require. And because we have access to the extensive resources and purchasing power of Baker Construction Enterprises, we can procure formwork and other equipment when we need it, providing a cushion against supply chain disruptions.
Building More Value into Our Projects
The objective of intentional planning is not just the on-time, on-budget delivery of our projects. It’s also about creating a better experience, free of hassles and headaches, for our clients. Thinking through project needs, opportunities, and obstacles during preconstruction mitigates surprises, eliminates stumbling blocks, and creates smooth transitions between phases. For our clients and project partners, that means a greater measure of peace of mind that they will meet their own commitments.