Notice to Proceed: The First Precon Meeting
The Precon meeting can get your project started on the right foot, but what do you need to prepare for this meeting?
February 2, 2021
You just got word from your estimating department that you’ve won the bid! Congratulations! They’ve sent over the Notice to Proceed—a simple, one page document officially confirming the project. If you’re just entering the field, you might be wondering what exactly happens when you win a bid and are assigned to a project, and have one question on your mind:“Now what?”
The few days immediately following winning the project is when the owner is looking for feedback on their decision to sign with your organization. “Did I choose a competent firm that’s on top of things, or am I going to be spending the next few years cleaning up the sub-par work they left behind?” How they answer this will set the stage for your working relationship for the rest of the project lifecycle.
The first step in making sure your team starts off on the right foot is the Precon meeting. This is when your team sits down with the design team and owners for the first time to review all expectations for the project. The majority of these expectations will be found in the contract, but this meeting will bring clarity to those terms and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Your team should come to this meeting with a plan to tackle the project as well as clarifying questions about the contract and the design intent.
Want to save your team a lot of headaches down the road? Impress stakeholders by going into that meeting with submittals at the forefront of your mind. Investing some time beforehand in creating a draft log of requirements—either by hand or using automated software like AutoSpecs—can show stakeholders that you’re proactive about their project, and help build trust in you and your team.
You’ll be on site every day watching the subcontractors work, checking their progress, and literally seeing the building go up piece by piece. Owners and architects, though, are not. They could swing by for a topping out ceremony or to review a mockup, but your submittals are their only window into what is happening on their multi-million (or billion!) dollar investment. When you understand that, you can better understand where the designers and owners are coming from. To demonstrate that understanding and to make sure your team works well with them, you need to bring a clear plan to the table surrounding your submittal process:
- Build out your submittal schedule to review with all stakeholders.
- Move through the contract and determine the terms for submittal review turnaround – discuss anything that could potentially affect that in the long and near term such as holidays or local government inspection schedules.
- Outline how you will collect and review submittals from your trade partners and what method you’ll be using to send them onto the architect and engineering team.
- Review how you will provide progress updates to your client and confirm if there are any particular metrics they will need regularly that isn’t in your current reporting structure.
Open a dialogue, get clarification up front, and map out workflows if you want the rest of the project to flow smoothly. Ideally, your team would have created a submittal log during estimating or bidding based on the specs available at the time. Even though those are probably only about 20% of the total scope, use those as examples in your precon meeting.
This precon meeting usually is scheduled for one or two days after receiving the Notice to Proceed. That means, depending on when you’re reading this, you may only have a couple days or a few hours to prepare for this meeting. Stay focused, stay calm, and keep these suggestions in mind.
Looking for other resources and strategies for success?
- Strong Foundations eBook – Perfecting Project Kickoff
- Mishaps and Misses: What a Missed Requirement Can Cost You
- 9 Things the Best Project Engineers Look For
- Strong Foundations eBook – Building a Better Submittal Log
- How to Overcome Challenges to Creating Submittal Schedules
- How to Create a Roadmap for Contract Compliance
- Strong Foundations eBook – Conquering Project Closeout