When it comes to estimating a construction project, accuracy is key. A solid estimate looks beyond the specs and asks key questions. Are there areas for value engineering? Is there undocumented scope? What are the current market conditions? What have similar projects cost to build?

How Riley Can Help

Riley maintains a detailed cost history of every project we build, so we are able to draw from that historical data to develop estimates for a full functioning facility — even when design is in the very early stages. This also proves valuable in identifying aberrations, validating the estimate against cost models, and identifying any features of the project that might demand special consideration. Our 50+ years of contracting experience — combined with close collaboration with the project owner, architect, and key subcontractors — increase our estimating accuracy and lower overall project costs.



Constructability Analysis

Projects that go through a constructability analysis during the preconstruction phase are more likely to finish on time and under budget. The process entails a complete review of all construction documents to identify, reduce or eliminate areas that could result in errors or delays during construction — BEFORE they occur. Constructability analyses also give the preconstruction team a chance to find potential areas for value engineering.

How Riley Can Help

Our knowledge of local construction markets and previous experience with similar projects combine to create the most accurate constructability analysis possible. Our preconstruction team collaborates with our designers to analyze the various building systems and components from several perspectives, including: labor and material availability; procurement and installation time requirements; installation means and methods; and system and material selections. Our goal is to give the design team all the information they need to select and coordinate materials and systems in the context of the entire procurement and construction process.

Value Engineering

Value engineering involves analyzing the function of construction systems, equipment and supplies for the purpose of achieving the required function at the lowest overall cost, while still meeting requirements for performance, reliability and maintainability. The basic procedure consists of:

  1. Identifying and defining a high cost area
  2. Determining the basic function of the item
  3. “Brainstorming” the problem to create a list of alternative ways of performing the function
  4. Selecting the best alternative that will perform the function at least cost
  5. Presenting a proposal or alternative proposals for the design team approval.

Value engineering services identifies hidden costs, reduces schedule, increases value, and improves teamwork to achieve the customer’s budget.

How Riley Can Help

Participation in the early stages of project provides Riley the opportunity to apply ingenuity and technical know-how to produce a more economical design without sacrificing quality. Riley will conduct a systematic and aggressive value engineering program in conjunction with the design team, clients and project managers, with particular emphasis on areas of high cost and those impacting the construction schedule.


Project scheduling is more than simply assigning dates to project activities. A schedule can mean the success or failure of a project! Coordinating equipment, materials and labor properly reduces or eliminates production bottlenecks, gives team members time to procure materials and expedites overall project completion. A poor schedule means lost or wasted time and money, and can create chaos for owners who need to occupy their new facility.

How Riley Can Help

In cooperation with the design team, Riley will prepare a “design phase schedule” at the inception of our involvement in the project (typically at the same time that the initial budget estimate is prepared). The schedule identifies all significant activities for each team member involved in the design, and shows the relationship and interdependencies of each activity. Consistent with design time requirements, the schedule will be structured to provide the earliest practical start date for construction and to identify the individual bid packages required for bidding and construction. The schedule includes detail on such activities as:

  • Agency approvals (Local approval process)
  • Schematic design phase
  • Selection of major building systems
  • Design development phase.Owner review and approval periods for design documents
  • Cost estimate preparation, review and approval
  • Establishment of Control Budget
  • Financing timetable (if applicable)
  • Issue dates for bid documents and bid periods
  • Bid review and award period
  • Lead times for shop drawing preparation and material procurement
  • Construction schedule during remaining design phase.

Riley has utilized this design phase scheduling technique on major construction management and negotiated general construction projects. It is an invaluable tool for the control of the project from the early phases to the completion of the design phase, and for the integration of early construction phases with ongoing design activities.


Permitting is a sometimes cumbersome, but always necessary step in the preconstruction process. Depending on where your project is located, various governmental agencies must approve construction plans to ensure they conform with applicable building codes.  It is critical that all permitting requirements are identified as early as possible to allow sufficient lead-time for regulatory approvals and acquisition of all permits, without adversely impacting the schedule of the project.

How Riley Can Help

In concert with the design team, Riley will manage the process of all project requirements for permits and approvals, and will incorporate these into the project schedule.

Site Analysis

Construction site logistics are vital to a project’s efficiency. Factors such as traffic flow, occupied/active surroundings, noise, dust and public spaces can greatly affect how effectively the field crews can perform their work. A quality site analysis can improve nearly every aspect of the construction phase, from material flow to safety and, ultimately, to the bottom line.

How Riley Can Help

Riley produces detailed site utilization and project logistics plans for all projects. These plans account for items including:

  • Project sequencing
  • Phasing
  • MEP systems distribution
  • Materials staging
  • Hoisting and materials handling
  • Site access
  • Any site use restrictions

The Riley team will continually update the plans to accommodate successive phases of construction and staging.


Selecting the right subcontractors requires a combination of project knowledge and solid relationship building. Bid packages should consider not only recommended trade and labor divisions, but also long lead items, sequencing and phasing, local practices and other considerations that affect bid competitiveness and efficiency of the progress, in both the design and construction phases.

How Riley Can Help

During the design development phase, Riley recommends the segregation of work into various bid packages and conducts a pre-bid conference to arrange for solicitation of bids. Our standard practice is to secure as many competitive bids as possible from qualified sources.  We recommend the purchasing strategy to be followed for each package, considering all the above bid package considerations, as well as agency approvals, funding and equal opportunity requirements, if any.

As a major builder in the Northern Illinois/Southeastern Wisconsin area, we have long term  relationships with qualified trade contractors and material suppliers. Riley projects always receive significant attention and interest from prospective bidders and attract substantial bidding interest.

We maintain a comprehensive directory of all national and local trade contractors and suppliers considered to be qualified to bid work on our projects. This directory, together with inquiries received from other interested bidders, will be used as the basis for the bidders list to be reviewed with the owner and the architect prior to invitations to bid being issued.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

3D Building Information Modeling (BIM) is one of the most useful tools in our industry for field coordination. BIM is an intelligent model-based process that provides insight to help you plan, design, construct and manage buildings and infrastructure. BIM helps streamline workflow and maintain more accurate information. The technology keeps a project moving forward more predictably for the owner/designer/construction manager teams through exchange and coordination of construction documents.

Benefits of BIM include:

  • Accurate budgets and schedule
  • Avoids estimating errors and improves understanding
  • Detects design flaws
  • Owner can visualize spaces better and refine their functional requirements at an early design phase
  • Dimensional discrepancy issues on drawings are detected early-saves time and money on field layout
  • Clash detection enabled
  • No additional cost to owner

How Riley Can Help

Riley Construction uses 3D MEP coordination for all major projects. We utilize Autodesk Navisworks & Revit software to build the project virtually and address constructability issues before any construction begins. Our fully collaborative approach to project coordination includes working with key subcontractors, design teams,owners and facility departments. The holistic approach ensures that all project stakeholders’ needs are addressed.

We have saved our clients millions of dollars by identifying and rectifying system clashes before construction started.

We employ a full-time Construction Technology Manager who utilizes BIM throughout a project to coordinate the Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection (MEP-FP) systems. In addition to providing valuable input during the design phase, he runs clash detection from the BIM models for the coordination drawings, thus minimizing field conflicts and allowing the schedule to be expedited or fast-tracked.

3D Laser Scanning – Point Cloud

Laser scanning is an invaluable tool for working in existing buildings. When planning an addition or renovating a facility, it’s common to encounter incomplete or inaccurate as-built drawings. 3D laser scanning technology captures dimensions and spatial relationship of objects digitally, using laser light. The information captured enables the user to “see” the actual  facility conditions.

The scanner outputs a point cloud image, which accurately replicates the scanned objects. When an object is too large to be captured in a single scan, multiple scans from different lines of sight can be linked together to complete the point cloud image. Once the 3D point cloud is generated, the data is exported to CAD, modeling and BIM programs to generate 2D CAD drawings or a 3D model.

Point cloud based as-built drawings and 3D models can improve design by analyzing clashes between newly designed elements and existing conditions, or by evaluating alternative designs prior to construction. The accuracy of these  scans can also improve planning by providing exact measurements for demolition and removal of components, as well as for prefabricated materials, minimizing waste and changes in the field.

How Riley Can Help

We use our Faro 330x Laser Scanner to obtain accurate virtual as-built conditions in existing facilities. We convert the point-cloud into a Revit model during the preconstruction coordination phase. After data acquisition, each scan is geo-referenced, transforming the scanner data into a real-world coordinate system tied to building control and allowing the point-cloud to be accurately positioned relative to other elements of the design. This process creates a real-time as-built model of the entire project, which enables the team to properly phase the project and uncover numerous issues that may not have been documented on the facilities’ as-built plans. Using this technology allows us to plan for unknown issues well before the projects break ground, resulting in significant cost avoidance.


Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)

The right expertise at the right time for the right application and the right project. This collaborative approach is the core philosophy behind Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).  IPD brings the owner, design and construction teams together early on. These key project members join forces with authorities having jurisdiction and other specialty consultants throughout the project, establishing project goals and team expectations from the very beginning. IPD is a win-win process because every stakeholder is encouraged to participate throughout the project.

How Riley Can Help

  • Establish an interactive and collaborative Project Delivery Team (PDT)
  • Develop a process that capitalizes on early contributions and key expertise
  • Establish project goals and team expectations
  • Focus on planning
  • Implement a system for continuous quality management to control quality and maintain lean design and construction principles
  • Execute design-assist modeling (BIM process) from the start — identify issues early in the design process to do a timely, truly coordinated and more accurate set of bid documents.

LEED Consultation and Evaluation

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has quickly become the global standard for rating the energy efficiency of a building.The benefits of incorporating LEED building techniques into your facility include:

  • Lowered operating costs – LEED buildings use less energy.
  • Sustainability – Less waste generation means a healthier planet.
  • Higher value and perception – A LEED-certified building is more attractive to tenants and may even boost employee morale.

How Riley Can Help

As a member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and constructor of several major LEED-certified projects, Riley takes the time to think outside of the box when it comes to green and sustainable construction.

As active participants on the environmentally-friendly construction front, our project management staff are all required to earn LEED Accredited Professional status through the USGBC and incorporate sustainability initiatives in each of the projects – LEED-bound or not. Our staff are actively engaged in the green building world, including one of our team members earning the prestigious appointment to the University of Wisconsin System Sustainability Degree Advisory Board.

With Riley Construction as your partner, we can help you find ways to earn LEED credits without extra costs. We are also experienced with identifying ways to offset certain expenses to gain savings in other areas and align opportunities from the design to the built environment to help you achieve your LEED certification and/or green building goals.