Defects associated with dimensional and geometric tolerance variability (tolerance problems) are often dealt with during the construction phase of projects. Despite the potentially severe consequences of those defects, tolerance management (TM) is a perennial challenge and the construction industry lacks a systematic and practical process to provide insight into avoiding the reoccurrence of tolerance problems. The aim of this research is to present a conceptual framework to proactively reduce the reoccurrence of tolerance problems at stages preceding on site construction. The research uses an exploratory case study approach exploring TM in a civil engineering consultancy. Evidence was collated from semi-structured interviews and document analysis, and validated in a group interview. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. The study contributes to knowledge in engineering management by providing new insights into drawbacks of existing TM guidelines. It also describes a good practice application of TM by a civil engineering consultancy, and proposes a conceptual framework to improve TM, which provides a basis to develop more effective practical solutions for TM.