Construction Project Stages

Traditional “Design, Bid, Build” Project Delivery

By Bobbilynn Hollifield
September 04, 2020
construction project stages


The PRE-DESIGN project stages indicate that the project has not yet advanced to design nor has a design team been selected. The project could be awaiting financing, land acquisition, review agency approvals, etc. Typically the only contact listed on a project at this stage will be the Owner or the Owner’s Representative.

There are three possible action stages that are grouped under the Pre-Design Category:

  • Request for Proposals – This action stage is used to indicate that the Owner is seeking proposals from a design firm (usually an architect or engineer).
  • Request for Qualifications - This action stage is used to indicate that the Owner is seeking qualifications from a design firm (usually an architect or engineer).
  • Pre-Design - This action stage is used for all other pre-design information other than a Request for Proposals/Qualifications from an architect or engineer.


The DESIGN stages are used on reports that list an Architect or Primary Design factor. A design team has been selected at this point and design is underway. Design stage reports are usually prior to bidding, negotiating and/or start reports, although a project will be assigned a DESIGN stage along with bidding, negotiating, start or construction if design is still in progress while the project is bidding or under construction.

There are four possible action stages that are grouped under the Design Category:

  • Planning Schematics - Design is still in the early stages, and the project is not expected to bid or start construction for more than four months.
  • Design Development – Design is well underway, and the project is not expected to bid or start construction for more than four months.
  • Construction Documents – The project will be bid or advance to construction within four months. This usually corresponds with advancement of the project design to Construction Documents or Working Drawings.
  • Pre-Qualification – A General Contractor or Construction Manager is being asked to submit Qualifications and bidding/construction is expected within four months. If the Owner is seeking GC/CM qualifications and the project will not advance to bid/construction in four months or less, the project will have a dual action stage of Bidding with the appropriate Planning Schematics or Design Development action stage, depending on the advancement of the plans. If no architect or engineer is involved in the project before the GC/CM pre-qualification occurs, the project will be issued with the dual action stage of Bidding/Pre-Design.

3. BIDDING/NEGOTIATING (Construction Documents)

The BIDDING/NEGOTIATING project stages indicate that the owner is accepting bids (prices) from General Contractors, Subcontractors, Suppliers and Manufacturers. Plans may or may not be complete while bidding is in process. When this is the case, you may see a dual project stage selection such as Bidding and Planning/Final Planning as phases of the project may be bidding while other phases are still under design.

There are six possible action stages grouped under the BIDDING/NEGOTIATING category:

  • Bidding – Bids are sought on an individual trade, material or piece of equipment, on a series of bid packages, or on an Engineering project
  • GC Bidding - Owner is publicly seeking GC bids, open to all interested and qualified firms
  • GC Bidding Invitation - Owner is privately seeking GC bids from a select list of invited firms.
  • Sub Bidding – A GC or CM is seeking bids on individual trades or trade packages. Sub Bidding will always be accompanied by another action signal indicating the status of the project.
  • Negotiating - Owner is negotiating contract with one or more GC. Dodge defines negotiating as the owner dealing with a limited number of contractors, usually two or three, on an informal bidding basis. It is important to remember that while a project is being negotiated, the prime contractors involved in the negotiations still go through a very similar process that they go through if they are bidding the project. The negotiating contractors must still get bids from subcontractors, suppliers, dealers and distributors. Negotiating a GC/CM contract may occur during or after the design stage.
  • Bid Results – The BID RESULT project stage is used when reporting the results of a bid opening, rejection of bids, bids received unopened, bids returned unopened, and bids “in” status. A Bid Result project stage used in conjunction with a Start project stage usually indicates that there will be no further updates reported on the project.
construction project stages


construction project stages

The CONSTRUCTION project stages are used to indicate that work is either underway or is scheduled to begin within sixty (60) days. The name of the General Contractor, Builder, Contractor, or the fact that the Owner or some other factor listed on the report will subcontract the project will also be listed on CONSTRUCTION reports. Start of work is defined as the start of site work to accommodate the building foundation or later activity. Site work, not site clearance or demolition, is considered the start of the project as long as it is expected to begin within 60 days.

There are four possible action stages grouped under the CONSTRUCTION category:

  • Start - The first report issued to indicate that work is underway or is scheduled to begin within sixty (60) days.
  • Construction - All subsequent reports that indicate that work is underway or is scheduled to begin within sixty (60) days after the Start report.
  • Subcontract Award - Indicates that subcontractors who have been awarded a contract are listed on the report. This stage is always used in conjunction with another action stage, indicating the status of the project.
  • Permit - Assigned to projects that are being reported in Start as a result of information gathered from a building permit.

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