In order to better understand the construction process (i.e., how a building is constructed) the following
discussion provides a general overview of this process, from the conceptual stage through the bidding,
construction, payment, and completion stage of a project. Although there may be certain facts and
circumstances in specific geographic locales that vary from what is presented here, the basic construction
concepts are similar in all locales. For purposes of this discussion, it is assumed that a fee contractor, rather
than an in-house labor force, performs the construction.
STAGES IN THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS
The Construction Process is composed of six distinct stages, which are:
Contracts and Bid Documents
Each of these stages is discussed below in more detail.
All construction projects begin with planning and design; also referred to as "architectural programming."
Numerous overlapping steps occur during this conceptual or design phase, prior to actual construction of the
is the primary designer of a building or project and controls the overall design, specifications,
finished materials (e.g., brick, paint, carpet, wall covering, etc.), and other architectural features of the
building. In addition, the architect supervises the engineers responsible for the structural, mechanical,
electrical, lighting and plumbing design of the building. Engineers must always conform to the design
requirements of the architect. Each member of the design team must also be licensed with the proper state
licensing authorities where the facility is located.
During the initial stages of the design process, the architect(s) and engineer(s) have a number of
client meetings in order to determine the purpose and objective of the proposed construction. The
primary activities, for which the project is being constructed, as well as the relationships between
spaces, are reviewed. Consideration is also given to how well the completed project relates to
adjacent buildings (if any) and its surroundings. The preliminary programming produces a list of
solutions, alternatives, feasibility studies and costs estimates. After a review of the programming
statement, schematic plans are prepared.
Schematic plans are the first plans of a facility and show the interrelationship between spaces and
activities. All of the parties (architects, engineers, and the client) review the schematic plans and
make recommendations, as necessary. Any changes are then incorporated into the final schematic
plans. Revised schematic plans are also known as "preliminary plans," and provide a graphic view
of the project, the refined details of how the project will look, and the relationship of all spaces.
Once the preliminary planning phase is complete, the project then enters a stage involving the preparation of