Why use of pre-planning services is growing in DFW


If you want to build something meaningful in the Metroplex, you’d better start pre-planning it. That’s always been true. But it may be more so now than ever.

A scorching hot construction market, the competition for appropriate sites, and volatility in the prices of materials such as steel and concrete make long-range planning essential.

“A lot of preliminary work goes into it,” says Jesse Pruitt, owner of Somervell Commercial Realty. “I don’t know how many hours. But it’s a lot of hours.” Pruitt has been responsible for the development, management and leasing of more than 50 million square feet of office, warehouse, build-to-suit and design-building facilities over his more than 35 years in the commercial real estate business.

After his architects and engineers work out the early stages of a project, “I will go to Bob Moore (Construction) to price my project.” He says he has worked with Bob Moore in that way on almost all jobs over the years.

Mark Duvall, vice president for pre-construction services at Bob Moore says getting into the planning early helps his firm do its best work for clients. “We partner with our clients early so they can make informed decisions on land acquisition, early expenditures and sit at the table during design with an eye toward constructability and budget.”

Such early planning, Duvall says, includes coming up with confidential preliminary budgets and construction schedules. But the company’s services for pre-planning a project go beyond that budgeting to site selection and due diligence.

Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the fastest-growing construction markets in the country, with the Dallas Morning News reporting that construction starts totaled $8.8 billion in 2018. Non-residential construction actually slowed in 2018 from its torrid pace of earlier in the decade.

“Land control is critical as DFW continues to build out,” Duvall says. “When land is available, we can work with developers and end users with tight timelines on land acquisitions.”

Another important consideration driving developers to pre-plan for projects is fluctuations in the costs of materials. “In the current economic climate we are in, prices seem to change almost monthly,” says Larry Knox, executive vice president at Bob Moore Construction. “The quicker clients start planning with certain materials, the sooner they will be able to react to certain material increases.

Price volatility for materials such as steel is a national issue, driven by growth as well as tariffs levied on foreign steel. Price volatility isn’t limited to steel, though. From October 2017 through October 2018, the price of diesel fuel climbed 27 percent, while the price of steel mill products rose 18.2 percent. Asphalt paving mixtures rose 11.2 percent during that period, while aluminum mill shapes rose 8.2 percent.

The cost of labor is also on the rise, as employment in the construction sector accelerates. In the 12 months that ended in November, the Dallas metro grew its construction workforce by 10 percent, adding about 14,800 jobs, according to a report late last year by the Associated General Contractors of America. “Construction employment growth remains widespread, but as unemployment hits historic lows in many metros, contractors are having ever-increasing difficulty filling positions,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in the report, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

The changes in prices for materials and labor affect the cost of construction. But pre-planning can help construction companies lock in prices and offset some of the costs. “Giving us the opportunity to be involved in early planning can save in the design of certain materials that are experiencing price escalations,” Knox says. “Knowing this in the planning phase, the volatile materials can in some instances be changed to less volatile materials or designed differently, eliminating costly materials and costly designs before the project makes it to the final construction documents.”

Contact Bob Moore Construction to discuss your pre-planning construction needs.

Bob Moore Construction started in 1946 and is one of the largest commercial general contractors in Dallas, Fort Worth and all of Texas, It has delivered commercial construction projects in Texas and around the United States. The company is an industry leader in tilt-up construction.

Article as seen in the Dallas Business Journal