Are you a construction industry professional looking for new opportunities? While there are plenty of jobs to go around on the construction phase of the many housing projects sprouting all over Canada, you have probably not considered the rich opportunities in the pre-construction stages of these projects.
This article will discuss the exciting work opportunities in the pre-construction phase of housing development projects in case you are looking to expand your horizons.
Canada’s Booming Housing Market A Boon For Construction Trades
Canada is facing a big housing crisis in major cities like Toronto. Burgeoning demand for housing, soaring home prices, and a very low stock of new houses all make for a red hot real estate market.
Lowering interest rates has been suggested among a raft of measures to cool the housing market and save cities like Toronto from the unwanted tag of being one of the most unaffordable cities in the world.
Fixing the supply side is, however, the only sustainable fix for Canada’s housing shortage and unaffordability crisis. This entails constructing new homes. And a critical stage of any construction project that determines whether it succeeds and finishes on budget is what’s known as the pre-construction phase.
What is Pre-construction?
Pre-construction encompasses all the activities that happen on a construction project before the actual construction work starts. This includes the necessary planning work, design, materials estimation and ordering, and the work involved in preparing the construction site, including excavating access roads and erecting a fence that secures the site.
Some of the pre-construction work will continue into the construction phase, principally to coordinate contractors and monitor progress, which ensures that the project proceeds according to design guidelines and overall project timeline.
The pre-construction phase isn’t just important for the success of the building project, but also for the health and safety of the workers on the project and the general public. For this reason, there are important roles that project owners must hire for even before there is an actual construction site to show. These are the opportunities we will discuss below:
Work Opportunities in The Pre-Construction Phase Of Building Projects
1. Structural Engineer For Existing Condition Analysis
Structural engineers analyze building designs against available construction materials and techniques to ensure the structural integrity of the completed structure. For this reason, they are important hires on large building projects.
That said, they also have an important role to play on remodeling projects, even if the building being renovated is a small family-sized home. The engineer must determine the safest ways to proceed with the remodel before any demolition work starts.
By carrying out existing condition analysis, the structural engineer will determine what scope the remodel will take or if it’s even safe to attempt it in the proposed scope. Sometimes a complete replacement of the structure is needed.
Material strength analysis and load calculations will need to be carried out and important considerations made to plumbing, roofing, HVAC, and other building systems to ensure they integrate seamlessly. So where a property investor is renovating or adding onto an existing structure there should be an existing condition analysis engineer among the very first hires.
2. 3D modeling specialist
While architects are responsible for the actual technical design of the building, a 3D model developer converts the drawings into a 3D picture that brings the structure to a form non-architects can visualize. There is now advanced Building Information Modeling software that building designers can use to create vivid 3D pictures of how a building will look like it’s completed.
A 3D model of the building will also help in the planning and building phases as well as in the landscape design. It also informs key decisions on structural design and construction scheduling. This helps to forestall issues that may derail the project.
3. Cost Estimator
This role is at the intersection of the quantity surveyor and cost accountant jobs. So on some projects the roles could be split into their more traditional forms. That said, the goal of the roles are the same - to have a solid idea of what materials are needed for the entire project and how much it will all cost.
In simple terms, an estimator determines the budget for the entire project. When coming up with a reliable cost estimate, they have to itemize such costs as materials, labor, permits, and equipment. As underbudgeting can have severe implications on the success of the project, a cost estimator needs to be a highly knowledgeable construction sector veteran.
4. Procurement Manager
Failure to source materials on time can stall the entire building project. Most construction material manufacturers have lead times that procurement managers have to factor in when placing orders.
For example, your project may require triple glazed windows for which there are only a few manufacturers. Place your order late and you may be forced to put the build on hold while the supplier processes your order.
Materials that you are shipping in from outside the country can often be delayed at ports so it's critical to allow enough time between placing the order and receiving it. This is work that has to be done before you break ground on a project.
To succeed in this job, you will need to leverage a specialized supply chain. So you may be at an advantage if you already have contacts at major building construction material suppliers. As well as understanding the dynamics of the market you will also have to demonstrate an understanding of current prices to ensure the project achieves its cost budgets.
5. Phasing and Logistics Manager
A procurement officer will have to work hand in hand with another important pre-construction hire - the phasing and logistics manager. It is the job of the phasing and logistics manager to work out timelines for specific phases of the build. In this regard, they must work in consultation with the procurement manager to ensure materials arrive on time.
Importantly, there may not be enough suitable storage for the materials and equipment required for the entire project. So it's critical that the timetable and logistics of bringing the materials to the site are worked out in advance.
Logistics management is an especially essential part of a construction project. Permit applications, inspections, deliveries, subcontractors, and different site services have to be well-coordinated for an orderly flow of work on the site.
6. Risk Control Officer
Major construction projects are a fertile ground for lawsuits and all manner of risks. From jobsite accidents and associated project delays to fines, poor workmanship disputes, and costly mistakes, construction projects are pre-exposed to many risks that will need to be mitigated against by hiring a properly skilled risk control officer as early as the pre-construction phase.
Contracts are another major sinkhole for construction projects. It is the job of the risk control officer to study all contracts entered into with subcontractors to ensure the language used isn’t vague that it may expose the project owner to lawsuits in the event of conflicts.
Beyond contracts, the risk officer will make sure that all construction site and general building regulations are adhered to and that all materials and construction methods meet expectations. If it is the project owners’ idea to protect their investment by buying insurance cover, it is the job of the risk control officer to shop for and decide on the best insurance policy.
7. Pre-construction Manager
Some project owners may find it best to bundle most of the above roles by hiring a pre-construction manager. You will have a good chance of landing and succeeding in this role if you have experience and skills in the roles we have discussed above. Here's a similar job advertised on Indeed for a construction project in Mississauga, Ontario.
Where To Look For Pre-Construction Work Opportunities In Canada
Jobseeker sites like Indeed are good places to look for pre-construction work opportunities. But you will need to actively search these job boards for openings. With Souqh, a Canadian real estate and home services marketplace, homebuilders and property investors come looking for you.
How Souqh works is contractors and service providers in the real estate market get a storefront where they will advertise their services. Homebuyers, homeowners, and property investors who are renovating, remodeling, or repairing their properties come to Souqh to look for people with the right skills and local experience. They are drawn by the many tools and features that make it easy to compare and connect with contractors and service providers.
Sign up on Souqh and get your own storefront and online property where prospects can find you by your service area and specialization. We have people searching for local talent right from the pre-construction, through actual construction to post-construction, home including maintenance and repair.