What Are The Stages Of A Construction Project?

Curious about the stages of a construction project? At Northern Construction, we alternate between the Design-Build model, Design-Bid-Build model, or an Integrated model to complete our construction projects. Read more to learn how we tailor our construction process for each client and what it’s like to work with us. 

Design-Bid Build

The Design-Bid-Build construction process is one of the most popular construction methods because it allows clients to get constructive feedback about the project. The Design-Bid-Build model consists of seven steps. Here’s the process: 

Step 1: Design

During this phase, the client places a project for bidding. The client has a general idea of the project goals and timeline. Next, the client hires an independent contractor to create the required construction documents. The client then sends the documents out to prospective contractors and accepts the most suitable bid. 

Step 2: Pre-Construction

In the Design-Bid-Build model, we complete the following steps in the pre-construction phase: 

  1. Get budget approval. 
  2. Contact city officials, local representatives, and private sector personnel to notify them. 
  3. Make any additional plans or adjustments to the construction site. 
  4. Coordinate schedules with the surrounding community and private firms to minimize any disruption. 
  5. Conduct an equipment inventory to assess any need. 

At the end of this process, the client makes any final decisions and last-minute check steps. Once these steps are complete, the client releases a Notice-To-Proceed for contractors to start the next phase.  

Step 3: Procurement

In the Procurement phase, we coordinate with all contractors to create a baseline schedule to complete the project phases on time. Some contractors’ roles directly depend on other contractors, so we diligently plan the entire project scope and steps. We use this phase to delegate any team roles for the project, including managers, team leads, and more. 

Also, in the Procurement phase, we note any materials with extensive lead times that could delay the project. For example, bridge beams, steel beams, and plumbing items can take longer to arrive, so we keep an eye out for these. 

Step 4: Construction 

The construction process is when the design becomes a reality. Contractors and subcontractors work together to complete the design based on the specs in the construction documents. 

To keep the project on track, we’ll schedule either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly review meetings with project stakeholders from both organizations. In these meetings, we review the work completed thus far and look ahead at upcoming project goals. 

Step 5: Commissioning

After we finish construction, we enter the Commissioning phase, in which we educate anyone who will use the new site about the new features. For example, if we built a new building for an office, then we would hold a commissioning meeting for the people who worked at the office space and the office administration. 

We conduct two types of commissioning: vertical and horizontal commissioning. Vertical commissioning includes the state legislature issuing a certificate of occupancy that lets the client operate the building. Horizontal commissioning includes any miscellaneous items that do not occur in vertical commissioning. 

Step 6: Owner Occupancy

During this phase, we shift all building management to the client to prepare them to move-in to the new building. We also take this time to answer any last-minute questions. Afterward, the project is complete!

Step 7: Project Closeout

Our project closeout phase is a primarily internal review of our overall project efficiency. We host project meetings with our team leads, managers, and contractors to identify areas to improve. We also highlight project strengths that we plan to implement in the future.


The Design-Build Process slightly differs from the Design-Bid-Build approach because the contractors and designers work together. Here are the key differences: 

Step 1: Design

In the Design phase, the client releases a Request for Quote (RFQ) that includes both the design and construction services instead of having two separate contracts. This strategy streamlines the process by allowing the designer to collaborate to fulfill the design. 

Step 2: Pre-Construction 

The Pre-Construction phase is similar in both the Design-Build process and the Design-Bid-Build process because both strategies have a checklist of items to complete before starting the Construction phase. The primary difference is that the contractors might coordinate all subcontractors in-house because they all work from one contract. 

Step 3: Procurement

The Procurement phase in the Design-Build process is more efficient because all communication between contractor and designer occurs within one organization instead of working with external contractors. The Procurement phase still includes project time estimates for materials. 

Step 4: Construction

Once the contractor receives the NTP, they can proceed with construction. This process includes weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings in which all of the team leads provide project updates and time estimates. The benefit of the Construction phase in the Design-Build process is that fewer subcontractors can potentially reduce the number of meetings needed. 

Step 5-7:

The process for steps 5-7 in both construction models is generally the same. 

Integrated Model

Recently, companies started using a hybrid model for their construction process that combines the Design-Build and Design-Bid-Build approaches. In the Design phase, the Integrated Model allows the designer to design a fraction of the final project before collaborating with the contractor. This hybrid model combines the best of both processes by keeping the services on one contract and working together to adjust the specs if necessary. The construction manager plays a key role in managing contracts with the subcontractors in the hybrid model. 

Work With Northern Construction, Today!

At Northern Construction, we have experience in working in all three models depending on the best fit for the client. No matter the construction process, we take every step to ensure that we are efficient as possible. Want to work with us on your next project? Contact us so we can discuss your project goals!