Constructing a new commercial building is a massive commitment. The results can be incredibly worthwhile, but it’s crucial that you know what you’re getting into.
We’ve broken the construction process down into 5 steps. Anyone who has engaged in commercial construction before will tell you there are a lot more than 5 steps – and we could write a whole article on any one of them. As such, this is going to be a brief, high-level overview to enable you to get a good (if basic) grasp of what’s involved in commercial construction.
Planning and development
Before you even begin to plan for commercial construction, it’s important to evaluate your options. If there’s an existing building that already serves your needs, you may be better off renting the space. Remember – construction costs both time and money. There are several advantages to owning the space your building operates from, but you’ll have to invest a lot into it.
First, you’ll need to set a budget for your project. This alone will require professional input unless you’re quite well-rehearsed in engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC). From there, you’ll need to secure financing, find a location (considering factors like zoning, available utilities, and soil quality), and acquire permits.
You can already appreciate how complex commercial construction is – that’s why it’s best to get an experienced commercial construction contractor in the early stages. You want someone who can advise you on every element of the project – land acquisition, architecture, engineering, the works. You’ll also need to hire project managers. It’s crucial to hire the right talent at this stage so that everything will go smoothly in the subsequent steps.
Check out these tips for hiring a commercial contractor to help with planning and design. Remember – you should always get as many different opinions and bids as possible. It can also be a good idea to hire a consultant to review those bids and help you make your decision.
The business owner needs to make a lot of decisions in this phase. Questions range from as simple as how many rooms the building needs, to as complicated as what amenities and fixtures are required. Everything is discussed at this phase – the orientation of the building, the color scheme, the layout, and the materials that are to be used.
Once decisions have been made about all of the above (and a whole lot more), your architectural and engineering teams will get to work, each handling a different element of the design. Once your design is complete, another round of bidding will occur – this time, for the procurement of materials.
Pre-construction and procurement
This phase involves the procurement of building materials, equipment (including the rigging services to transport the equipment), and labor. You’ll also need insurance for everything you procure – builder’s risk, commercial liability, and worker’s compensation are all essential. You’ve purchased the land, but you’ll need more permits to okay the construction plan and begin building – your commercial contractor will handle this part.
You’ll also want to establish your on-site team: a project manager, superintendent, contract administrator, and field engineer are all essential, along with the general labor staff. Again, your commercial contractor will help with all of the above – they should, however, recommend staff that are at arms length to avoid conflicts of interest.
Rather than go into all of the steps involved in construction (from site preparation to the final touches), let’s take a moment to consider what you can do as a business owner to keep things running smoothly.
Take the time to understand the roles of all of your team members – know who to ask questions or give input to, and when. Most of all, avoid making last minute changes. Almost inevitably, changes to the initial plan will occur. But when a business owner keeps changing their idea of what they want as construction progresses, bad things can happen. Remember, the more unnecessary or last minute changes you make, the more the project will be delayed – and the more likely you are to go over budget.
The post-construction phase involves a detailed review of the site, conducted by the business and the contractor in tandem. A battery of tests will be performed to ensure the building is completely safe and secure. Then, a walkthrough will be completed, in which a list of any unsatisfactory design or construction elements will be compiled and then remedied. Once everything is to the business owner’s satisfaction, the project is complete!
We hope this high-level overview has helped you better understand what goes into a commercial construction project, and what role the business and contractors play in getting the work done. If you’re in San Antonio, give the experts at Urbano Design & Build a call – we do everything from the initial design to putting the final touches on your commercial building project.