5 Phases of Commercial Construction Lifecycle

The commercial construction lifecycle typically consists of five phases. To carry out these types of projects, organizations must complete each phase carefully, yet efficiently with the best interest of the owners and other stakeholders. While the complexities of these projects often go unseen by the general public, construction projects are organized efforts, managed by a variety of workers with a vast range of specialties. Throughout these efforts, architects, engineers, and construction workers collaborate over thousands of drawings and documents throughout these five phases to ensure deliverables are met. The 5 phases of commercial construction lifecycle are:

What Are the Five Phases?

  • The Initiation Phase
  • The Planning Phase
  • The Execution Phase
  • The Performance Monitoring Phase
  • The Closing Phase.

Phase 1: The Initiation Phase

The initiation phase is where ideas are translated into actionable items using input from project teams. During this phase, the project manager and project team work together to evaluate the feasibility of a project, which is typically achieved by defining the project and determining possible solutions that fit the specific needs of the development. It’s important to recognize that these solutions should not be determined single-handedly but should stem from a culmination of ideas and suggestions between multi-disciplinary experts.

Note: There are five basic design stages that architects, in particular, must follow when assessing the viability of a project, including schematic design (SD), design development (DD), construction documents (CD), construction administration (CA), and construction support services (CSS). These stages occur throughout the construction lifecycle and require a large number of documents to be retained and approved. Construction companies can use a document management system to keep files and documents secured and organized with associated audit trails, as these systems host capabilities for document versioning and workflow management.

Read the Article: Using Automation to Manage Construction Workflows

Phase 2: The Planning Phase

As the old saying goes, “Measure twice. Cut once.”

Once the team has performed a feasibility test, they commence Phase 2 of the construction lifecycle – the planning phase. Careful planning is essential to the success of a construction project, as several issues can arise from simple mistakes. The planning stage is considered critical to the construction lifecycle, as it’s where the team defines tasks and identifies the scope of the project. Budgeting and approvals also take place during this stage, and the team ultimately decides whether the project is worth pursuing.

Phase 3: The Execution Phase

The execution phase is where the project comes to life. Communication is vital throughout implementation, since its where all the parts come together. Workers are assigned tasks, resources are allocated, and meetings are put in place to assess the status of the project. While the majority of the planning is completed in the prior stage, teams will often need to adjust deadlines to meet the real-world requirements of the project. Changes often come fast, and in bundles, and this is where a formal, disciplined approach to maintaining and distributing important drawings and documents is really helpful.

Phase 4: The Performance Monitoring Phase

Unlike the other phases, the performance monitoring stage occurs simultaneously with the implementation stage of the construction lifecycle. Regularly monitoring performance ensures each item is implemented effectively, so adjustments can be made as needed. Cost tracking, quality, and completion toward objectives are some key performance indicators that project managers can track to determine whether the project is meeting requirements.

Phase 5: The Closing Phase

The closing phase, sometimes known as the completion phase, is the part of the project in which project managers are prepared to offer deliverables to their clients. During this stage, final inspections are made, and the project is approved by either the client or owner. Once the project is completed, and the client has determined there are no more changes to be made, the project is closed out.

Engineering Workflow and Document Management Systems like ImageSite and Engine-Box

Engineering and construction companies can implement a workflow and document management system to create and oversee critical workflows throughout the 5 phases of a commercial construction lifecycle. Engineering document management systems (EDMS) serve as a single source of truth across teams, departments, and organizations and even allow workers to markup drawings, send RFIs (Requests for Information) or Submittals, and manage communications within the platform.

If you would like to learn more about how our engineering document management systems can help your company manage its construction projects, click here.


Intelligent Construction Opportunities welcomes Scott Brandt President and CEO of eQuorum to discuss specifics around what construction engineers need to consider when using document control systems.​