How to Estimate Realistic Construction Timelines

Your project’s timeline can feel like a huge unknown variable in any commercial construction buildout. Timelines have a reputation for being delayed or extended. They’re this fluid idea that somehow frames your construction schedule, yet they never seem to be achievable.

But they should be – and they absolutely can be. A licensed professional contractor should be able to offer a realistic and accurate estimate of your project’s timeline once the details of your project are in place. Not only that, but they should also be able to meet that timeline – no delays or extensions necessary.

How Pre-Construction Informs Your Timeline

Much like budget estimates, timeline predictions are based on the facts of the project. As more information about the project becomes known, fine-tuned details of the timeline can also be solidified. This all happens during pre-construction.

In general, pre-construction often takes 3-6 months for commercial buildouts. During this time drawings are completed, potential obstacles are identified (and solutions provided), material selections are made, and permits are secured. Thoroughness is a must if you want to obtain an accurate timeline.

To save time on permitting and inspections during pre-construction, we often recommend that our clients use a third-party provider to significantly speed up the process. Every day saved is one day closer to your business being operational.

How Experience Lends Itself to Better Timeline Predictions

Obtaining a realistic timeline for your commercial project is a skill and is one that experienced contractors are more likely to have perfected. Look for general contractors who have completed projects like yours, as similar projects often carry similar timelines.

Experienced contractors also have a strong understanding of the current labor and materials market and can explain how any impact shortages or delays could impact your timeline. They’ll be able to advise you on what you can and cannot easily source for your project in case you’d like to choose alternative materials. They also have established relationships with local vendors that can be trusted to accommodate a project’s timeline.

Timelines shouldn’t feel ambiguous. You should have a clear understanding of how long your buildout will take and its expected costs before any work begins. At Seacoast Construction, we know we can’t predict everything, but we do everything we can to control the variables that may impact your project’s timeline through smart planning and frequent communication. If you have questions, please give us a call at 786-433-8740.



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