Considerations for Avoiding Pre-Construction Jitters

By Jeff Boehmer Director of Sales, DEI Incorporated

At the outset of any construction process, there are some very basic details you need to know when it comes to your branch network, including the market you are targeting, your budget, and a sense of the location.

But what else are you missing?

A fair amount.

They say that the devil is in the details, and that’s never more true than in pre-construction and planning. Doing this part correctly will help you avoid project jitters and headaches.

The construction process, and even a major remodeling project, is complex yet fairly linear. Asking the right questions is key. Equally important is having advocates on your side of the table to manage and monitor the process, starting from the first day of “yes, let’s construct/remodel that branch” through the initial pre-construction phases and on to opening day.

Planning involves finding the right location, effectively and efficiently accounting for the space utilization, and ensuring that the location will provide the community presence you desire.   The key is using experience and vision to drive the project.

To that end, we are creating a national benchmark of how financial institutions are establishing their planning and measuring their inputs into their branch methodologies. The results should be available in the middle of the fourth quarter of this year.

In the interim, here is a three step-process for pre-construction that creates peace of mind and elevates the outcomes we all expect. 


It may seem as if the easiest part of building a new branch is the location: What’s the price and is it available? But because location, location, location is so important, this step can be a little tricky.

The best location is not always obvious because what is best is based on the desired project outcome. Does it fill in a branch hub and spoke? Is it a new entry to a market? Will it be used for mostly commercial or consumer business?

To answer each of these questions, a unique viewpoint must be considered, and data is needed to make the most informed choice. For us, an understanding of what our members need and who they desire to see and how often is just as critical as the raw transactional, demographic, and competitive data for a branch.

Space Mapping

Are more digital services desired or soon being launched? Is access to specialists key? Do you/will you have a hub and spoke approach to those specialists? Assessment of the location and member usage data, interaction with members, and a study of the intended member flow will provide a clear strategy for how to best proceed for the credit union and its members at each location. However, this is just the beginning.

Removing Hurdles

With location and space mapping addressed, it’s time to ensure you remove, or at least clearly identify, where process hurdles that slow your project or bring it to a halt can manifest .  Asking the right questions is key to ensuring the right answers.

DEI in-house designers, strategy teams, and project managers are connected by one goal: your growth and success! Thoughtful expert guidance will ensure a properly redefined network that continues to grow with member needs and provide the access and support needed.

About DEI Incorporated

DEI is a forward-thinking, expert driven architectural design/build company founded in 1985.  DEI has designed, built, or remodeled over 1,800 financial facilities and transformed banks and credit unions into retail environments, a place to cross-sell products and services, improve efficiencies and increase the bottom line while connecting to your digital tools and spaces. Learn more at