The term “constructability review” gets thrown around a lot. However, construction professionals cannot seem to agree on what it should include or what it looks like.
A generic definition for constructability would be a project management review of the construction drawings and process during the pre-construction phase. It should help identify design issues, logistical conflicts and opportunities for greater building efficiency.
Milestone believes the goal of a constructability study should be to answer three simple questions.
- Can this be built the way it is designed?
- What information are we missing?
- How can we make it better?
We will make a bold assumption that if you are reading this, you agree answering these questions sooner rather than later is good practice. But how do you make that happen? How do you navigate hundreds of pages of design documents, answer those questions and make an impact with the information?
Milestone believes this is done systematically. You put yourself and your team in a quiet room and you break the project into small parts. Start in the ground and work your way up. Look at every drawing and every detail.
Then, start creating your own drawings. You would be amazed what you see when you add a little color. Overlay the site utilities with foundations. Look at how the mechanical systems serve the building and analyze that with your finish sequence. What does all this tell you? What is the impact of that information?
Now you have to organize and communicate those findings. The details, drawings, graphics and information should go to project management, the architect, owner and perhaps key subcontractors. But it has to be in a format that is easy to absorb. If the results of your research are unorganized and unclear they cannot the used. Use small words to say big things and always remember that people like pictures.
We take pride in finding problems before they happen. It is rewarding. It avoids chaos and creates structure. Are you making a constructability review part of your projects? Do you know what to look for and how to communicate what you find?