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Ask the experts: pre-construction trends & challenges, and how tech can help

SoftwareOne blog editorial team
Blog Editorial Team

Pre-construction is arguably the most important stage in a construction project. A smooth pre-construction phase can set a project up for success, but it can trigger a series of issues if not managed properly. Technology can play a critical role in streamlining pre-construction and mitigating risk, including increased collaboration, more accurate cost estimates, and improved bid packaging and scheduling. We recently spoke with two of our MTWO consultantsfor a more in-depth look at the pre-construction space.

Before we dive in, let’s meet our experts:

  • maddhi-rajasekhar-teaser

    Maddhi Rajasekhar, AEC Consultant, APAC

    Maddhi is based in India. He holds a master of technology degree in construction management from NIT Tiruchirappalli. He has nearly a decade of experience in construction as an MEP BIM coordinator in different industry sectors including HVAC, FPS, airport, residential, and electrical. He is skilled in Revit, MSP, and Navisworks. He currently uses his industry expertise to help AEC firms lay a strong digital foundation with MTWO. Maddhi’s hobbies include playing chess and table tennis and listening to music.

  • ana-carolina-cayres-teaser

    Ana Carolina Cayres, MsC
    AEC Consulting Leader, LATAM

    Ana is based in Brazil. She holds a civil engineering degree and a master’s degree in construction management from the Universidad de São Paulo (USP). Ana has more than 10 years of industry experience, including planning, estimating, and BIM implementation. Ana was moved to join SoftwareOne’s MTWO team to further its purpose of promoting digital transformation in the construction industry. She enjoys being part of a global team, helping AEC firms get better results with MTWO’s state-of-the-art solution. When she´s not working, she can be found taking classes for her MBA in Innovation Management or scrapbooking.

Q&A with our experts

Here’s what Maddhi and Ana had to say about pre-construction trends and challenges and how technology can help.

What trends are you seeing in pre-construction?

Maddhi: We are seeing more widespread investment in smart and agile tools and technologies throughout the pre-construction stage, including estimating, designing, and tendering. There has been an increase in the use of AI-supported technologies which can assist in more accurate analysis and estimation. Greater technology utilisation has also led to more real-time virtual collaboration between project stakeholders before construction begins.

We are also seeing more data and technology-driven decision-making, especially when it comes to value engineering; optimising design, cost, and resources; and selecting suitable methodologies such as prefabrication, conventional, and modular construction.

Reducing the environmental impact of construction projects and building more sustainably have also become top priorities for many. As a result, some AEC firms are considering new material technology, including more lightweight materials, and living building materials, which have characteristics that resemble living organisms (e.g., self-replicating concrete replacement and self-mending bio-cement). Ana: With more and more teams involved early in the pre-construction process, stakeholders want more collaboration throughout the project lifecycle. This helps ensure teams are on the same page and can deliver desired results.

In addition to a greater reliance on data-driven decision-making, we are also seeing increased usage of KPIs to aid in the generation of parametric estimates. Having real-time access to this information helps teams turn around faster and more accurate estimates. Many are also turning to more aggressive cost estimates to survive in competitive markets.

What are the biggest challenges AEC firms currently face when it comes to pre-construction?

Ana: I would say most challenges are related to low levels of information (or outdated information) available in this phase. Communication between teams is not agile enough, so you often have people relying on obsolete data. It can be difficult to manage inconsistencies and track the source of the information that is available. This slows progress and can open businesses up to unnecessary risk. It’s also a delicate balance trying to anticipate factors that may impact a project while remaining competitive.

Maddhi: The skilled labour shortage impacts businesses across departments and increases the knowledge gap many firms struggle with as more workers leave the industry. Many firms also have difficulty sifting through, analysing, and optimising the large quantities of data available to them. The lack of standardisation when it comes to data and designs further contributes to this issue. Poor design management, often the result of designs not being vetted by all stakeholders, is also a challenge. A lot of businesses are also experiencing delays and difficulties when it comes to effective contract management.

Another top challenge is technology utilisation – many businesses are using tools and technologies in silos. This lack of integration impacts their effectiveness and prevents firms from experiencing the full benefits of their technology investment. While many recognise this issue, they are slow to make the move to an integrated, unified cloud platform.

How can utilising technology alleviate some of these pre-construction challenges?

Maddhi: Pre-construction technology can deliver many benefits, including increased accuracy in estimation, higher precision in design and detailing, and the preparation of more efficient schedules. 5D BIM simulation can enable a more connected, efficient, and visualised building process and drastically reduce cycle times, while AI-embedded tools can help in making faster and smarter decisions.

The use of an integrated platform helps all stakeholders collaborate, ensuring more effective communication throughout pre-construction and beyond. Access to real-time data across the organisation and all stakeholders enables quicker turnaround on approvals and faster and more strategic decision-making. Utilising a cloud solution also provides great benefits when it comes to supporting data storage and management.

Ana: By using an integrated platform to manage projects you can keep historical data from all of your projects accessible to those who need it so they can make the best-informed decisions quickly, the way most stakeholders expect in our modern world. This includes access to KPIs, which can help take data-driven processes and decision-making to the next level. Technology can also automate operational tasks and help increase collaboration and communication, so teams can be more agile and course correct as needed.

What are MTWO‘s top strengths when it comes to pre-construction?

Ana: MTWO connects all project stakeholders, processes, and data throughout all phases of construction, promoting greater collaboration and offering a direct connection between project scope, cost, and time. With MTWO, construction firms can plan effectively by connecting their 3D BIM design to project time and cost to facilitate an integrated 5D optimised plan to reduce waste and rework.

And as a cloud-based platform, all information is updated in real-time, ensuring everyone is relying on the right information. This increases productivity, provides full project control, and makes it easier to adhere to compliance policies. MTWO’s connected data can deliver time and cost savings at every stage of the project lifecycle, beginning with pre-construction, transforming the way projects are delivered.

Maddhi: MTWO is intuitive and easy to use with minimal infrastructure – it can run on any device with an internet connection and the smart implementation process helps effectively train users. It allows teams to create a great repository of data from current and previous projects that they can use to analyse a number of different criteria and also enables paperless documentation across the organisation.

MTWO is highly configurable so users can begin with the modules that will provide the greatest benefit now and scale as their needs change. MTWO also has an open API and can easily integrate with other business-critical solutions you are using or may use in the future. Top pre-construction modules include:

  • 5D BIM simulation of the model with cost and time connected to the 3D model to visualise project impact and produce optimised outcomes
  • Model based smart quantity estimation with built-in value engineering inputs, and quick and accurate BOQ preparation
  • RFI module for smart tracking that can be easily updated throughout the project lifecycle
  • Scheduling module that streamlines the scheduling process and eliminates the use of unintegrated external scheduling tools


As mid-current industry challenges, it is critical that the pre-construction phase of a project is managed effectively. Technology can play an integral role in ensuring a project starts off on the right foot, from keeping teams in sync to streamlining workflows, visualising project outcomes, maximising resources, mitigating risk, and more. Utilising the right technologies can give teams a competitive advantage, helping to win more work at the right price and delivering project excellence.

Thank you to Maddhi and Ana for sharing their expertise with us! Please send any questions or topic suggestions you may have, they could be featured in a future column.


Digitally transform with MTWO Construction Cloud

MTWO is a construction enterprise cloud solution that connects all project stakeholders, processes, and data in one integrated platform. It empowers AEC firms to digitally transform their business while winning work, increasing efficiencies, mitigating risk, and reducing their environmental impact.

Digitally transform with MTWO Construction Cloud

MTWO is a construction enterprise cloud solution that connects all project stakeholders, processes, and data in one integrated platform. It empowers AEC firms to digitally transform their business while winning work, increasing efficiencies, mitigating risk, and reducing their environmental impact.


SoftwareOne blog editorial team

Blog Editorial Team

We analyse the latest IT trends and industry-relevant innovations to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology.