MKS delivers innovative project solutions for our clients. How? By utilizing our expertise in planning and design to ensure that once it is time to begin construction, a smooth path has been paved for our contractors. Construction is only 50% of what we do as a company - and we think that the other 50% is arguably even more important than the construction itself.
Sound planning is imperative to the success of the finished project. The key point of planning is to walk through a checklist which includes every possible scenario and contingency that the team may encounter during a project. This plan is formed through a mix of expertise and experience, but the final plan will be completely unique to each specific job.
To take the guesswork out of what is happening behind the scenes during the planning phase, we implement the various stages below when working you on the front end of a project.
The following stages happen simultaneously but are all important cogs in the wheel to make the whole project roll along cohesively.
- Initial Meeting with the Client
- Define the Objectives of the Project
- MKS will meet face-to-face with the client to go over their goals for the project. An initial budget will likely be discussed as well as when the client hopes the job will be completed.
- This is more about learning the client’s vision for the project than discussing any hard details. MKS will take all the information gathered at this meeting and start to put together the rest of the plan. During this time, MKS and the client will stay closely tied at the hip during the entire process and have many follow-up meetings to stay updated and make changes.
- This evaluation will lay the groundwork for the rest of the planning process. MKS and a selected preconstruction team will have all the answers a client needs and should be able to determine if the client’s vision is feasible for construction at the intended location.
- Define the Objectives of the Project
From here, MKS will move on to the main three objectives of the planning process: the scope of work, setting a budget and creating a schedule.
- Detailing the Project Scope
- The “scope” of the project is essentially a description of the work that will be performed during the construction job. MKS will need to outline the scope from start to finish, and determine what types of workers, equipment and materials are needed for each phase.
- This is perhaps the single most important part of the planning process, as it will act as a roadmap for the entire job. The scope will go from a broad outline to a step-by-step definition of each item that needs to be checked to reach the project goal.
- Setting a Budget
- Every project will begin with an initial budget or a price that the client had in mind to spend. However, this number is typically uninformed and with no consideration given to how much a project cost.
- During this budget-setting period, MKS will investigate potential issues that may arise, and come up with contingencies in the budget to cover them. MKS will also search for opportunities to save money in every part of the project.
- Cost Estimating | Early cost estimates will be important to create an accurate budget for the project. Realistic budgeting based on facts instead of feelings will accurately document these cost estimates, which can help the client maximize their budget. MKS always builds in contingencies to prepare for any of those changes that do happen to occur.
- Value Engineering | During this state, MKS will look to not only cut costs, but also improve the overall value of the project. Value optimization is most effective early in the planning of a project when the team can look into the scope of the project and find opportunities for both cost savings and value improvement, whether that be via lifecycle cost analysis or using more sustainable materials.
- Careful evaluation during the planning process can help to avoid the project going over budget. MKS will continue to review the estimates and adjust throughout the project so everyone is aware of any budget changes. With proper planning in place, none of these changes will put costs far beyond the original budget.
- Setting a Schedule
- The schedule of the project will be another vital component of the planning stage. Sometimes the client has a hard end date that they absolutely need the job done, while others may be more flexible. To keep things moving toward the goal, an initial schedule will be created with input from MKS, the client and subcontractors.
By anticipating problems, the scope, budget, and schedule will stay close to its original plan throughout the project.
- Initial Schematic Design
- Sometimes created during the initial evaluation, the schematic design will serve as the first visual to the client and will be what the rest of the project is drawn from. The client will offer feedback and other circumstances will force changes to be made, but it is likely that this initial schematic will help to form the final product.
- Analysis of the Site | Property
- In the planning phase, MKS works hard with the client to determine if the site or property is suitable for the client’s goals. MKS will visit the site and do a feasibility study…inspection of soil, hazardous materials, traffic flow, parking, landscaping, capacity, etc.
- MKS will take this information back to the client to offer suggestions on how to make the site work or if a new site needs to be pursued.
- Procurement of Materials
- An often-overlooked part of the planning phase is long lead times on materials. Careful pre-planning will build this led time into the schedule, so no time is lost waiting for it to arrive.
- Acquiring the Proper Approvals
- Every project requires proper approvals and building permits before it can move forward. MKS works with local and state agencies during the planning phase to ensure that the project can move forward and ultimately move to the building stage.
The better prepared a team is for certain scenarios, the more likely the project is to get done on budget and on time. This is how we uniquely define our company as a plan, design, build firm vs. a general contractor.