Preconstruction simulation is the process of experimenting with computer-based systems and strategies. Simulation activities are vital because they enable engineers and architects to plan how a building or structure will be efficiently constructed. In this way, they can reduce risks before investing money into a project.

What is preconstruction in construction?

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Preconstruction is when a building project is still in its early phases, such as the planning stage. At this stage, project owners determine the project’s goals, look for a team to help implement the project, and conduct a feasibility study.

The preconstruction stage is crucial because it helps project owners determine whether a project is viable or not. If the project is feasible, the project owner will work with a contractor, who will act as a consultant for scheduling and costing. Before all this is done, a preconstruction meeting will have to be arranged.

What is a preconstruction meeting?

A preconstruction meeting is held between a general contractor and a client. This meeting is vital because it enables the client and the contractor to meet and become better acquainted and aligned in their project ideas. After the pre-construction meeting, the contractor will be required to simulate the following.

Engineering requirements

After the pre-construction meeting, the engineer will be required to inspect the construction site to identify what will be needed to implement the project successfully. Some components that will be considered include the electrical lines, plumbing, and HVAC systems.

Cost estimates

The project manager will create an initial cost estimate based on the design and engineering needs of the visualized structure. To come up with an accurate cost estimate, the cost estimatorwill have to consider factors like the cost of materials, labor, and duration of the project. The longer the project will last, the greater the price.

Creation of a responsibility matrix

A responsibility matrix is a document that identifies a project’s deliverables and the party responsible for implementing that deliverable. This matrix is important because it enhances collaboration and holds people accountable if they do not perform their duties.

Creation of a schedule

A construction schedule is a timeline of a project’s length and the activities involved. If a construction schedule is inaccurate, you risk suffering from project cost overruns, schedule delays, and destroying your company’s reputation.

One way to create an accurate schedule is to use scheduling and planning solutions like https://www.alicetechnologies.com/product/preconstruction. Using ALICE, you can reduce your project duration time by 17% and achieve equipment savings of around 12%. Contractors can use this technology to simulate several construction strategies in minutes.

When you use this simulation platform, you can create a construction schedule that optimizes key project resources, as well as make 4D plans that include essential information like resource curves and KPIs.

6 benefits of preconstruction simulation

Construction Manager

1. Easy to identify risks

One main benefit of simulation, particularly when using tools like a shear and moment diagram calculator, is that it’s easy for contractors to identify construction risks before a structure has been built. This type of software can significantly aid in understanding the forces affecting a structure, allowing for adjustments in design or construction plans to mitigate potential issues early on. This saves the project money since risks can be very costly to correct, especially for things like design flaws detected late.

Some construction risks that you can identify with simulation include scheduling, cost, and performance risks. Simulation can also help contractors identify bottlenecks in material sourcing, especially if they’re being shipped overseas.

2. Increases brand equity

Contractors who incorporate technology into their business tend to grow their brand equity, increasing the amount of business that comes their way. Using revolutionary technology like 4D models to simulate how a project will look once it’s complete can show a dedication to efficiency—at least compared to a contractor using only blueprint drawings to bid for work.

You’re more likely to get the contract when using modern technology to demonstrate your capability. The more technology you incorporate into your business, the better. You can also incorporate VR technology for a more immersive experience. VR can be used to bid for projects and also sell units in advance.

3. Cost-effectiveness in dealing with uncertainties

In construction projects, there can be a lot of “What if” questions that need to be answered, and if it’s a mega project, then the number of “What if” questions increase. Instead of proceeding with the project blindly, contractors will simulate these scenarios to identify whether they will stall the project.

A good example is when labor challenges affect your project. In this case, simulation software can be used to determine the effects of labor shortages on the entire construction project.

4. Helps with options and alternatives

Large construction projects have hundreds of variables and approaches that you can take. To figure out the best approach, it helps to make use of optioneering for the project. Construction optioneering is the process in which a contractor ranks different options and alternatives based on a weighing scale.

To accurately weigh these options and alternatives, the contractor must simulate them based on their efficiency, affordability, and safety. The simulation will also determine which option is less environmentally disruptive and has the most social impact.

5. Assists with making better bids

Simulation helps with making better bids since you can identify the best construction approach or alternative. When you simulate your projects, your submissions will be more detailed, with better resource-loaded schedules to save money. Therefore, your company will offer more competitive bids.

6. Easy to peer-review designs

Simulation enables you to create different alternatives and options that are cost-effective and more efficient. There may be situations where you think that the structural design created is good, only to realize later that the plan was flawed.

Using simulation, you can peer-review your design with other engineers so that they detect errors early on in the construction stage. These errors can be easily rectified if detected early, saving the project money.