The value of a Pre-Construction Services Agreement

Engaging with a contractor before tender can lead to a collaborative approach around cost certainty, buildability and programme as the project develops   

Engaging with a contractor during a PCSA can be helpful around costings and resolving issues with design

Engagement with a contractor while the design is being developed can seem premature, however it is in everyone’s interest to have early engagement into this process.   

A contractor will bring a fresh pair of eyes and expertise from a technical and delivery perspective.  

This will inevitably influence the design to some degree and encourage an open, collaborative approach which should, in turn, lead to a far more thought-out, considered and better designed building.   

A contractor should bring many years of experience in delivering similar projects and should have seen the successes and failures of specific strategies, design, sequencing and detailing.   

The PCSA can trigger a two-stage tendering period, a method of procurement where the employer seeks to appoint a contractor at an initial stage of the project based on an outline scope of work.   

There is then a second stage when the employer seeks to appoint a contractor for the construction works under a building contract.  


A PCSA gives the client/developer full insight into the costs based on the early design of outline information, as well as developing it against the cost plan going forward

This gives the client/developer full insight into the costs based on the early design of outline information, as well as developing it against the cost plan going forward.  

This in turn should ensure it remains under tight budgetary control as the design develops and goes from Stage 3 to Stage 4 inthe RIBA Plan of Work 2020.  This can also trigger a cost/benefit analysis of all alternatives considered by both the contractor and the consultants. 

What outcomes can a PCSA provide?  

  1. Contribution to the design process 
  2. Advice on buildability
  3. Mitigating and highlighting construction risk   
  4. Advice on sequencing 
  5. Understand the packaging of the works (and the risks of interfaces between packages) 
  6. Can advise on the selection of specialist contractors and when they need to be appointed 
  7. Help develop construction programme 
  8. Obtaining prices for work packages from sub-contractors or suppliers on an open-book basis
  9. Feed into the cost plan
  10. Preparation of site layout plans for the construction stages 
  11. Development of construction welfare facilities and site set-up 
  12. Assistance with any planning application on matters concerning the build phase 
  13. Drafting of the preliminaries for specialist and trade contractor bid documents 
  14. Help develop the method of construction 
  15. Advice on construction traffic movements 
  16. Help with tree preservation protection 
  17. Pre-Fabrication construction components 
  18. Advice on waste disposal proposals 
  19. Help developing a comprehensive set of details for the façade that address current legislation post-Grenfell  


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