Without a successful take off, a safe landing is impossible.
All homebuyers want their new home to turn out just as they envisioned, built on schedule, and for the agreed upon price. As a professional builder, we want exactly the same thing. That’s what makes the preconstruction meeting so important. This is a time for builder and client to ensure all of the new home’s details are clear and agreed upon. Clients who get the most from the preconstruction meeting know what to expect and come prepared to fully participate.
The preconstruction meeting is the first of three important meetings that happen during the building process (the other two are the pre-drywall walkthrough and the job close-out or “punch list” meeting). The meeting is typically scheduled right after completion of deco and change order final has been signed, and shortly before ground breaking. This is a chance for the client to confirm product selections before the project gets underway. Think of it as the construction equivalent of the pilot’s preflight checklist. There are basically two parts to this process. What we call the Purchaser Home Review 1 & 2. The #1 review is verifying where the home fits on the lot and Purchaser Home Review #2 is reviewing the plans and selections.
Depending on the size of the project, the meeting typically lasts 1 or 2 hours. Attendees include the job site superintendent, the company owner or owner’s representative, and the client. Regardless of who will act as the primary decision maker or point of contact during the project, it is important to have husband and wife in attendance. Having both parties at the meeting helps eliminate uncertainty and minimizes surprises once building gets under way. Ideally, we want to do this in person, but we have performed these via Skype successfully.
Topics covered may vary depending on the project, but usually include a review of the floor plan and client selections: structural options like dormers and bonus rooms, mechanical upgrades like a custom air filtration, and any number of other items. The builder will also go over the site plan at the PHR1: how the home will be oriented, where concrete work such as driveways, sidewalks, and air conditioning pads will be located, how rain water will drain from the lot, and what trees, if any, need to be protected. Legal issues such as property lines and easements may be covered as well.
If something isn’t as expected, this is the time to ask questions. Errors and misunderstandings are easier, less costly, and less stressful to correct now than they will be once construction begins.
Clarity on procedures are also important. Who should the clients call with questions once construction starts? Can the clients visit the site during construction? If so, when and what are the rules?
Done well, a good preconstruction meeting eliminates the uncertainty and puts everyone on the same page. It goes a long way toward ensuring a trouble-free project and a smooth landing for everyone.