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Knowledge is Power

The Preliminary Design step has provided you with a general direction for your project. This small investment has allowed you to see what is possible and given you a vision of the project size and physical appearance.

The next step in moving forward with your project depends upon the method that is taken. The outcome can vary drastically. Either:

  1. Skip the Preconstruction phase and move directly into a Detailed Design phase (not recommended). At this stage, you choose to move forward into Detailed Design by putting the future of your project solely in the hands of an A/E firm. Design decisions are made using only the firm’s limited knowledge of construction costs. Fees will run 6 to 12 percent of the construction costs to determine if the project is within budget. If the project comes in over budget then it gets complicated. Your project is delayed and will either cost you more, or you get less.
  2. The preferred method offered by Tomorrow’s Builder moves into a Preconstruction phase. This approach brings design and construction parties together to develop the project using a cost-benefit approach called Preconstruction. Design is taken to a developmental stage, and construction costs are budgeted utilizing input from local suppliers and trade contractors. Value engineering ideas are incorporated. Upon completion you have a reliable budget, defined schedule and a more efficient design.

What do Preconstruction Services do for the Owner?

Preconstruction services remove uncertainties and put you in control. You have the ability to make good financial decisions armed with additional knowledge. The right combination of Preconstruction services is project specific and may include:

  • Value engineering
  • Budget development
  • Construction planning
  • Scheduling

What is value engineering?

Value engineering is the utilization of knowledge and resources to explore options that can either reduce the overall cost of the project or improve its functionality. In this process, the strength of each party is utilized. A team could include trade contractors, material suppliers, engineering consultants and the design/construction staff of Tomorrows Builder. We seek out companies and individuals that are willing to think “outside the box” and use their knowledge to improve the project. With our in-house design and construction abilities, design options are priced and compared. The end result is a well-thought-out, cost-effective project.

Value engineering focuses on maximizing your ROI. It isn’t about looking for the cheapest solutions; instead we look to get the most “bang for your buck”.

Budget development

This may be the most important step as the feasibility of your project depends on the preconstruction budget. David Johnson provides leadership and oversight of budget development. He has established himself as an expert in the field of construction estimating through his project experience and as a Lecturer at the University of Tennessee. Owners can depend on Tomorrow’s Builder and our expertise in this area.

Similar to the value engineering step, the entire team participates in the development of construction budgets. All project participants “buy into” the budget and are held accountable. No one can predict cost for a specific item better than the people that specialize in that field.

Cost contingency is an important area of consideration for a budget estimate. We carefully identify areas of strength and areas of weakness in our estimate. Areas of strength include work items that are well established through design or experience from past projects. Weakness comes from unknowns in the project. Through consideration of these factors, we can establish the proper contingency to include and better predict the cost ceiling for your project. You can move forward with your project in confidence.

Construction planning

Good construction planning begins with the end in mind. Your project and its goals must be clearly fleshed out in order to create a good construction plan. With this in mind, we assemble a project team that is customized and best suited to the specific problem at hand. This team works to establish the required steps of construction.

Our approach is customized to fit your project. We must understand your needs and this starts by spending time at your facility with you, and your management and maintenance staff. Through our time together, we work to understand:

  • The needs of the Owner. What are the important dates and goals of the project?
  • Facility production cycles and processes
  • The necessary phases of construction
  • Tough construction issues and challenges that require extra consideration
  • Limitations of the team and how to address short comings
  • Resources available to the team such as as-built information or insight from maintenance staff
  • Company rules, regulations and safety requirements that must be followed
  • Your quality control procedures and expectations

Tomorrow’s Builder will help establish a solid construction plan for your project.


During the Preconstruction phase, scheduling is a useful tool. For the Owner, it is useful to understand the project duration; for the construction team, it helps them visualize in what steps the work should progress. With this clearer picture, trade contractors add less contingency to their cost estimates.

Developing a schedule during the Preconstruction phase is more of an art than a science. Limited knowledge of the project is available and a meaningful schedule can be developed only by someone with a high level of construction and scheduling experience. Tomorrow’s Builder is well suited to this task.

With our academic training, teaching background and years of design-build experience, we understand scheduling. The heart of our approach lies in the team approach we take. We use input from trade contractors and field personnel to create a realistic and mutually accepted schedule. Everyone is on the same page even before the project begins.

Time is money! Schedules help us maximize your ROI.