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Today’s construction projects look much different than they did just a few decades ago—the industry has become increasingly complex, and folks are dealing with new and exacerbated challenges such as accelerated project schedules, supply chain issues and an ongoing skilled labor shortage, just to name a few. To mitigate the risks that come with these challenges, the industry has been placing significant investments in the preconstruction process to help drive better planning and predictability in projects—ultimately giving the organizations that do so a competitive advantage.

Similar to construction projects, the preconstruction process has evolved over the years. It has gone from a design, bid, build linear process where folks are primarily focused on low bids and minimizing risk, while hopefully making a profit, to a much more agile, iterative and collaborative process, requiring a tremendous amount of trust and transparency across project stakeholders.

These conclusions and other insights are part of a new report, The State of Global Preconstruction, recently published by FMI Corp and sponsored by Procore. The report explores the current state of preconstruction and the characteristics of those who do it well—ultimately, in an effort to uncover the key benefits, challenges and opportunities of preconstruction. It surveyed nearly 1,000 construction industry professionals from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and asked them to describe the preconstruction practices in their organizations, project experiences, outcomes and the tools and technologies they use.

One of the key questions participants were asked was: Does your organization have a formal preconstruction process?

The report found that regardless of company type, size or location, most survey respondents said their organizations have developed a formal preconstruction process. In fact, 82% of project owners said they have a formal process in their organizations, and over 70% of specialty contractors said they do. One interesting callout is that although 77% of general contractors report having a formal preconstruction process, owners believe that only 49% actually have a well-defined preconstruction process. It’s an intriguing discrepancy—one that could be due to a lack of collaboration and visibility into the preconstruction process across stakeholders.

Most importantly, the report identified key challenges (and areas of opportunity) the industry faces today with preconstruction, and it uncovered some commonalities across all survey cohorts.

The report found that the number-one challenge the industry faces is collaboration between internal and external stakeholders. Next, leveraging one’s data came in at number two. And lastly, the number three challenge was the handoff from preconstruction to the course of construction. All three of these challenges are often the result of using disconnected solutions for various processes. This means that information is siloed and doesn’t flow seamlessly across the entire project life cycle, making it nearly impossible to view the full picture of a project and harness the power of one's data. With many folks still relying on disparate point solutions, it’s no wonder that the report found that only 38% of respondents were satisfied with their preconstruction technology.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story. The report also found that respondents ranked the ability to leverage technology as their least challenging aspect of preconstruction. This tells us that technology is clearly providing some benefits, but teams still aren't satisfied—leading us to believe that these teams are still relying on point solutions focused on preconstruction, which only provide limited benefits. Ultimately, to reap all the benefits of a preconstruction solution, teams need to use an all-in-one platform that connects the entire construction process.

In other words, it’s not that construction is slow to adopt technology, as is often perceived; rather, it’s that folks are waiting for the right technology solution that works for their businesses. The data in this report confirms that organizations know technology can solve many of the pain points around preconstruction and they recognize the ROI—and, more importantly, are willing to commit to and invest in preconstruction technology—as long as that technology delivers. The good news is there are some great innovative technology solutions currently in-market for preconstruction. Moreover, the leaders in this space deliver solutions that are part of a true, all-in-one construction platform that allows teams to manage all aspects of a construction project from start to finish.

While the industry has come a long way in its approach to preconstruction, it’s still in the early days of its journey. Construction is at the forefront of a digital transformation that is driving more predictability and performance in projects. And as more businesses invest in preconstruction technology that is part of an all-in-one platform, it will ultimately help drive more connected, collaborative and efficient construction processes across the entire project life cycle.


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