The Pre-Construction Process and How It Can Benefit You

The pre-construction process sometimes referred to as the PAC (Paid as Consultant) process, is very important. It lays the foundation for a build with minimal disruptions and ensures the build will be as close to budget as possible. At Coy’s Constructions, this phase is a collaboration between us as builders, and the designers of the project whether they be engaged by you or brought on board by us.

So whether you’ve already started working with a designer, or haven’t yet chosen one, talking to us and getting us involved in the pre-construction phase, will be of benefit to you in the long run. You don’t have to sign a building contract with us during this stage, but it’s a great way to learn more about us and how we operate. And of course, we’d love to help you build your dream home following this pre-construction phase.

What happens during the pre-construction phase?

During this part of the home building process, we focus on what you want to build, whether it can be done and what obstacles you might face, and also the cost of your project build.

Designers are experts in home design, but many don’t have the day-to-day experience to be able to advise you on the costs of such a build or even whether the design satisfies all regulatory requirements. That’s where we come in. By engaging us at the start of your project, you get a much clearer picture of where you’re heading and what can be achieved. Too often we see plans created by a designer that when priced, don’t match a client’s budget. Not only is the client left disappointed, they then have to spend more time and money starting all over again.

So, what’s our role in this part of the process?

We work very closely with your designer to take your home from concept to build. We can undertake property inspections, organise design consultations and formulate a project proposal.

At the start, we can provide an initial cost guide based on our experience with previous projects. Then as we go along, we can provide estimates that you can use as a guide to inform your design decisions. Once final drawings are completed and all external consultant documents have been finalised, we can produce a fixed price contract.

Can’t I just rely on my designer to keep my project on budget?

There’s a common misconception that designers will know what your project will cost to build. But the reality is that their costing advice will only be meaningful if:

  • They’re designing a lot of finished projects like yours. Often the difference in cost will be in the materials and finishes chosen. A builder will be more across these prices as they deal with them every day.
  • They’re collecting regular data on what those projects actually cost to complete. Again, there is no substitute for real lived experience and this is where a builder’s knowledge will be of benefit.
  • They’re keeping up to date with industry trends, costs and price increases. In just the past year, the cost of timber has increased by 26.9%. Waste removal has seen a huge increase of 60%. These are things that most designers wouldn’t be aware of, especially in a rapidly moving industry like construction.

I’m not sure what my budget is, so does costing really matter in the pre-construction process?

Everyone has a rough idea of how much they can afford to spend on a build. If you’re unsure of how much money you can borrow, we recommend you speak to your bank or a broker. We can recommend some great locals if you’re wanting to be pointed in the right direction.

An exact budget doesn’t have to be known at the start of the pre-construction process. However, by involving us at the start, we can guide you and provide invaluable advice so you can make the decisions that are best for you. It’s the easiest way to navigate through the design process so that you end up with something you can afford to build (and complete).

Isn’t it too early to commit to a builder in the pre-construction process?

You don’t have to commit to using us in the pre-construction phase. This is a stand-alone service we offer. So you get to pick our brains and have the advantage of our experience and knowledge during the design of your home. But after that, you’re free to go with another builder if you feel someone else is more suited to your project.

By working with us in the design phase, you have the added advantage of seeing how we work and how we communicate. So it can also be a great start to a successful build if you keep us on for the project. Think of it as a mini test run.

What if my designer doesn’t want a builder involved?

In our experience, a good designer will welcome a partnership with a builder in the pre-construction phase. We’re able to fill in gaps about regulation and costs and they’re able to use their expertise to come up with an optimal design that suits your land and budget. It means they aren’t wasting time designing something that can’t be built. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

I already have plans so is it too late to engage a builder in the PAC process?

No, you can still have Coy’s Constructions look over your plans and advise you. The PAC process would be working in reverse here but it’s still valuable. We can look at the design and engineering plans and see if they match up. Designers aren’t engineers and vice versa so it’s important to have someone like a builder be able to look at both sets of plans for inconsistencies. For example, you may have a beautiful staircase on your architectural drawings, but have a giant beam at the head height of the staircase in the engineering plans.

We can go through the plans thoroughly and advise you on cost and other build issues as well. Often we receive amazing designs that people simply can’t afford to build. We’ll be able to provide advice on all these issues through our stand-alone pre-construction service.

Can’t I just get a builder to price the project after I’ve got my design?

You can but it’s not the same as having a builder involved from the start. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, money and stress if you have the input of a builder’s knowledge from the outset. It means you’re more likely to end up with your dream design that can be built on your land and within your budget.

Will involving a builder and revealing our budget from the start be a disadvantage to us?

Some people feel that by disclosing their budget at the outset, there will be a lack of competitiveness with the builder only working to that budget. But the opposite is actually true. The pre-construction process by its very nature is about communication and transparency. A builder is able to tell you how much something will cost to build, you can decide whether you want to pay that and can ask for alternative solutions and a designer can provide options. So it’s really about a team working together to get you the most for your money.

Summary: How the pre-construction process benefits you

  • You’re not signing a contract at this stage, so it gives you a chance to work with us and see if we’re a good fit for your build. So essentially, you can take us for a test run before committing large amounts of money.
  • Everyone gains a greater understanding of your project because everyone has been a part of the discussions around what can and can’t be achieved. From a builder’s perspective, we will understand what changes can be made without compromising your design.
  • Having a cost analysis from the beginning will ensure you end up with a design that you love, can afford to finish building, and won’t send you broke.
  • You save time and money. Without a builder involved in the pre-construction process, you could end up having to redraw plans and you could end up very disappointed with a home that’s not exactly what you were after.
  • It means your build will have fewer bumps. When possible issues are discussed and ironed out in the design phase, it means there’s likely to be issues on-site in the middle of a build. Building a home is complex and there are many people involved, but if most problems can be foreseen at the start and fixed early, it will make for a smoother, happier build for everyone involved.

Would you like Coy’s Constructions to work with you as you design your home? Or do you have a question about the pre-construction process that hasn’t been answered here?

Please drop us a line so we can give your build a dream start.

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Tom Coy

Tom Coy is the founder and director of Coy’s Constructions, Custom New Home and Renovation Specialists.
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