Image of commercial construction site and crane

What's that saying about an ounce of prevention? This guide's all about how to lay the groundwork for your most successful commercial construction project.

Commercial construction projects are no easy feat.

You need to know about the structural and environmental requirements if you’re going to go about it legally and successfully. Here’s what you need to consider when starting your commercial construction project:

Have you found a commercial construction contractor who you can trust?

Especially if you’re brand new at this, you should build a relationship with a commercial construction contractor early on. Their experience will guide you through the often tedious process of taking your ideas and constructing something from them.

It’s really important to find a contractor who you can depend on for advice and a job well doneon time and on budget. You’ll find yourself wanting to turn to them for their expert opinion all the time, and you’ll be glad when you don’t have to chase them down to do what they said they’d do for you in the first place.

So, as you’re picking a contractor, it’s wise to get second and third and fourth opinions and bids. Get referrals. Read testimonials. Pour over portfolios. Learn about why and how they do what they do.

The goal is that once you’ve partnered up with your contractor, you don’t have to keep getting second and third and fourth opinions the whole way through. Think of all the time and energy that would take away from growing a deeper relationship with the contractor you hired, and all the mistrust it could breed.

Do you think you’ll have another commercial construction project down the line? Wouldn’t it be nice to work with someone who you already have a relationship with? Choose your contractor like you would a long-term business partner.

What will you build?

You’ve got your ideas scribbled down on scraps of paper, no doubt. But you’re not anywhere near ready to break ground until you’ve got professional drawings.

It’s only once you’re working with professional drawings that you’ll responsibly grasp the engineering, architectural, and design requirements of your dream project, and the funds you’ll need to make your dream project a reality.

Where will you build?

Location is key to any real estate endeavor. If you’ve already fallen in love with a lot, find out if it’s possible to build your project on that lot.

It’s good to shop around, too—have a couple backup lot options, just in case.

Does the location serve your commercial needs? Which location is the best value for your commercial needs? That’s right. You will have to afford the lot you land on, and it’s never too early to start thinking about how to save funds without sacrificing too much quality.

Which lot does your contractor think is best for the project? Why? Do you agree?

What are the site conditions?

Will the site support your design? Is the site in an area prone to natural disaster?

Are the working conditions safe—during the build and afterward, when you’re open for business?

Ask these questions. Get answers to them. Do your best to predict what the site snags will be, and you’ll be more likely to dodge them.

Do you have the permits you need?

You need to know what permits you need for your commercial construction project. And you need to know what you have to submit in order to apply for approval.

If you’ve got a good general contractor, you can lean on them here. Ideally, they’ve got experience building in the jurisdiction you’re hoping to build in, so they’ve been through the permit process before.

They can help you prepare the plans you need to submit, and make sure you’re all set.

How long do you anticipate the project will take?

You and your contractor need to agree on a reasonable timeline, and you need to communicate openly throughout the build to make sure you’re both aware if (when) some part of the build takes longer (or, fingers crossed, less time!) than expected.

Before you even get to the build, there’s that pesky permitting process. It can take a long time. It can be a whole lot of hurry up and wait.

You need to factor in all that time, and protect yourself from the emotional rollercoaster that can come with waiting, too.

How will you pay for it?

Now that you’ve gotten your feet a little wet, take a step back and really think about how much this commercial construction project will cost.

Always assume you’ll need to secure funds to meet the highest estimate. It’s wise to have a buffer even above that. If you don’t have the money secured, you risk project delays, or worse, the project going belly up.

Don’t know how to estimate how much it will cost? Get help from someone who’s done this before, like your general contractor.

Do you have the right engineers, architects, and designers on board?

Build out a team with the expertise you need to achieve the best possible version of your commercial construction project. Your general contractor, especially if they’ve been in the commercial construction industry for while, will be able to help you plug in the best subcontractors in the area.

This is another big reason why you want to make sure you can trust your contractor. Your contractor is really only as good as the subcontracting team that they pull together.

Let’s get your commercial construction project off the ground, shall we?

You’re getting how important it is to have a good general contractor by your side, right? Well, meet our team. We’re a team of thinkers, architects, dreamers, 3D artists, builders, and believers that there is always a better way to get something done. We’re also a licensed general contractor in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We provide a holistic architectural design build solution using the latest in 3D visualization technology.

And we support comprehensive management on residential, multi-family, and commercial construction projects.

So no matter the scale, we can help.

Get in touch.

About The Author

Hi, we're the Designblendz team! Our mission is to raise the standard of how the built environment is designed, visualized, and constructed by blending overlapping design disciplines that merge the virtual and physical world together.