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You Ask | We Answer: What is Pre-Construction and What Activities are Involved?

Updated: Sep 26

Pre-construction is one of the most important steps in the construction process. Let's take a deeper look at what is involved during pre-construction.


What is Pre-Construction?

Pre-construction is the initial planning stages of a project where the franchisee will work closely with our team to develop detailed drawings, schedules, budgets and manpower projections before construction starts. Our team works to define the project, prepare cost estimates to meet the budget, identify potential construction issues and solutions, and ultimately determine the most efficient use of money and resources. This may seem like a thorough process, and that's because it is. It's important to ensure your project goes according to plan and all of your potential needs are identified and addressed.


Where Does Pre-Construction Start?

Normally, pre-construction starts with a site survey, but in some cases, a site survey may not be needed. An important question to ask your landlord is if they have base building plans (plans used to build the building) or as-is drawings from the previous tenant. If your landlord has these, you will not need a site survey, but that is a big if. In our experience, it is rare that landlords have these drawings readily available or even at all. If the landlord has no construction drawings, a design professional will need to visit the site to get all the information that is required to create your construction drawings.


NOTE – A lease outline drawing is the minimum requirement to prepare a space plan layout drawing.


Site Survey: Complete. What's Next?

Once a site survey has been performed (if needed), we'll move into space planning and test fit. The space layout drawing is a conceptual floor plan drawing of your new store where our architect creates a scaled conceptual floor plan that meets local building codes. From there, the space layout drawing is approved by the franchisor and we present the drawing to you, the franchisee, for final approval.


After you have approved the space layout drawing, we take those drawings into the construction drawings phase. Construction drawings are a set of drawings that includes architectural, elevations, finish schedule, plumbing, electrical and mechanical for your space. These drawings are required for construction because local building codes require this type of detail. Without all these drawings, the local building department will not review the plans. This portion of the project usually takes about 2 weeks for our architect to complete. Our team will then review the drawings and make any necessary corrections so we can move onto next step - permitting!


The Building Permit Process

Your space layout drawing was approved by all parties so now we move into the building permitting process. Building permits are a type of approval that must be granted by a local government or other regulatory body before the construction of a new or existing building can legally occur. Our architect will then apply for the building permit, typically by electronic submission, but in some cases a local resource may be utilized to walk in the plans. Each municipality is different, but most have electronic submittal. Once submitted, the building department will review the drawings. Every building department is different and have specific time-frames on reviewing and approving drawings for permits. The time-frame is dependent on projects to review, and available staff. If you're located in a hot market such as Austin, TX, Los Angeles, CA, or other cities with high growth, your permit review timeline may be longer.


With some cities having longer timelines, you may wonder if there is a way to speed this process up. These three points should provide more clarity:

  • The benefit of working with Rollout Connection is that we know the process for most cities in the United States. In most cases, we have worked in the city/county you are building in and know the procedure to submit and expedite permits.

  • It is also important to know the local codes. Our team is familiar with the required building codes and will assure the construction drawings meet or exceed these codes.

  • You may also want to consider engaging a permit expediter. In some cases, hiring an expediter can significantly cut down the time-frame for a permit review

There may be times where your plans do not get approved on the first review. Why is that?

  • Code interpretation – on some occasions, the plan reviewer reads a code different than our design professionals.

  • Wanting more information that the code requires – Some reviewers require information that is not typically required by code.

  • How plans and code information are presented – some reviewers have specific ways they want a construction document submitted.

We'll do everything we can to prevent this from happening on your project, but there is no guarantee. If it does happen, our team will manage the process and update you along the way.


Once the drawings are approved, you will receive permits for building, electrical plumbing, mechanical, sprinkler, and fire. Your general contractor will then pick up the permit. We require the contractor to start your project within 7 days after the permit has been issued. While your project is in permitting we will also competitively bid out your project to a minimum of three general contractors and up to five.


Click here to learn more about the competitive general contractor bid process and how we save you thousands of dollars!


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