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Preliminary Works in Construction

Preliminary works refer to all the activities that are involved in a construction site before the actual work commences, such as demolition, site clearance, site survey, soil survey, planning, designing, and cost estimation.

In this article, we briefly discuss all the preliminary works involved in the construction of a project.

1. Demolition

The demolition of the building is the process of dismantling or destroying a structure after its life of serviceability by pre-planned and controlled methods. The demolition can also be initiated before a structure is still healthy to serve.

The demolition process is undertaken when a structure is objecting or intervening or lies in the boundaries of a new proposed building. The method of demolition involves four steps, namely:

  1. Surveying of buildings for demolition
  2. Removal of hazardous materials
  3. Method of demolition
  4. Safety measures.

2. Site Clearance

The site clearance is the necessary procedure to remove any obstructing elements such as vegetation found at the site to prepare for excavation. The process of site clearance involves the following steps:

  1. Grubbing of bushes or trees
  2. Removal of topsoil to form the reduced levels.

3. Site and Soil Survey

This is an essential preliminary step of the design and construction of a project as the superstructure depends on the substructure. Through this survey, key elements such as the soil condition, surrounding buildings, and accessibility can be defined, and this will allow adequate amount and type of resource and cost of construction to be decided.

As the stability and integrity of a building depends on the soil strength under loading and pressure of the building, soil survey should definitely be carried out before any construction work as the structure is built upon an unknown ground.

The importance of carrying out soil survey is listed below-

  1. To determine the suitability of the site for the proposed project.
  2. To determine the suitable and economic foundation design.
  3. To determine the occurrence and case of changes in subsoil conditions.

4. Planning

Planning is the process of selecting a particular method and the order of work to be adopted for a project from all the possible ways and sequences in which it could be done. It primarily covers the aspects of ‘What to do’ and ‘How to do it.’

The importance of planning the construction of a structure is as follows:

  1. Planning helps to minimize the cost by optimum utilization of available resources.
  2. Planning reduces irrational approaches, duplication of works, and inter-departmental conflicts.
  3. Planning encourages innovation and creativity among the construction managers.
  4. Planning imparts competitive strength to the enterprise.

5. Detailed Designing

detailed design is the complete and precise physical description of all parts of the structure (blueprints) and how they are fit together, which serves as the basis for the construction phase. It also involves the investigation of the stability, strength, and rigidity of the structure to be built, based upon the physical requirements of the building and an understanding of the structural performance, materials, and geometries used.

The detailed design shall provide the drawings and the report to permit reasonably accurate estimates of construction, operating cost, and construction scheduling.

6. Cost Estimation

The cost estimation of a project is the process of forecasting the probable cost for the due fulfillment of the project objectives to the prescribed workmanship covered by specifications for various items of works and to the stipulated schedule. The cost estimation can be carried in different methods by using different tools and techniques of estimation.

The detailed cost estimation of a project comprises of:

  1. The direct cost of various items of work
  2. Provision for contingencies
  3. Direct supervision charges
  4. Miscellaneous expenses such as service charges for water supply connection, sanitary arrangements, and electric supply
  5. Labour hutments and camps, field office, etc.

Once all the above preliminary works are carried out, the actual process of construction, which involves setting outexcavation, and further activities are executed.

1. What are the preliminary works in the construction of a building?

The preliminary works refer to all the activities that are involved in a construction site before the actual work commences, such as demolition, site clearance, site survey, soil survey, planning, designing, and cost estimation.2. What is the importance of preliminary works in construction?

The preliminary works play an essential role in the successful execution and completion of a project. The preliminary work includes planning, scheduling, budgeting, value engineering, and quality decisions are made that will have a significant impact on construction and the final cost of the project.


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