What should be covered in a Pre-Design Conference?

10 July 2018 / By John Manning

One of the most important meetings on any project is the Pre-Design Conference. It is critical that this meeting takes place to reinforce anything that is in writing in the Request for Proposal (RFP) to ensure that the Design Team understands the Owner’s goals on the project. This is also a meeting where the Design Team can ask key questions that allows them to effectively develop their design.

Pre-Design Kickoff Meeting

The leadership by the Owner’s Representative should start with this key kickoff meeting. This meeting should have a detailed agenda and be developed in a format where questions can be asked and answered for the Design Team to gain a strong understanding of the goals of the Owner. At this stage, the Architect/Engineer has been brought aboard as well as any other key consultants (Civil Engineer, Environmental, Geotech, etc.) with the goal to develop a complete constructible design that meets the needs of the Owner and allows the project to be built in the most cost-effective manner (even if the goal is the most architecturally significant facility of its kind, Owners will still want it to be the most cost-effective). At this point we are in the “honeymoon phase” so to speak of the Design Phase and it is a great time bring everyone together – Owner, all key design professionals, due diligence professionals and the Owner’s Representative Team – to layout the processes and communication processes to achieve the goals of the project at a Pre-Design Kickoff meeting. At this point all parties are usually extremely excited about the project and A/E is already envisioning an award-winning project and has the Owner pumped that they can design “the best facility in the world.” This is a good time to bring everyone down to earth on the mundane, but critical processes, of developing a complete design.

Read more by the author John R. Manning on his blog here.

About The Author

John Manning

John Manning is the Principal and CEO of KMI International with more than 30 years of global experience in project management of the design and construction processes on resort hotels, parking structures, infrastructure, area development and mixed use. He is a CCM (Certified Construction Manager), PE (Professional Engineer) and a LEED Accredited Professional while serving on the national board of CMAA. He has worked as a project manager for large Owners and Construction Management Firms on projects ranging up to $3 Billion. Mr. Manning also testifies as a forensic expert in state and federal courts.

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