Many people believe that starting a commercial construction project is similar to building a house. The truth is that commercial construction is much more difficult and can be much more intimidating, especially since the decisions you make from the very beginning will determine the success of your end result. Every decision is vital, so before you even start, it’s important to know the fundamental principles of laying the right groundwork for a commercial construction project. We’re sharing some quick, valuable tips to help you, but you should also consider hiring a commercial construction project manager to create a detailed program start-to-finish. Let’s begin!
- Finding the perfect location
When starting a commercial construction project, the first crucial step is finding the best location for your business. The size of the property is important, but there are other critical factors to consider as well, such as how much traffic you’ll receive and what other companies are in the surrounding area. What’s the point of building a commercial property right next to a company you can’t compete with? Finding the perfect location is not only business related – you should find out whether the site is in an earthquake or flood zone. If you’re having trouble finding your location, ask your general contractor to lend a helping hand.
- Obtaining all the necessary permits
As you start with construction, there will always be specific permits you have to acquire beforehand (regardless of what type of commercial building you’re about to build). Ask your local authorities about the permit you need, since permitting varies from region to region. You will need to have your plans approved by the local planning commission, which usually takes three readings before getting approved. In reality, this could take up to a month or longer and will require at least a few pre-construction meetings before you can start building. Bear this in mind if you’re working on a tight schedule.
- Building a team of experts
To get the best possible version of your project, you need to create a group of expert designers, architects and engineers. A general contractor specializing in commercial construction work will help you find the best subcontractors for your project. Remember that your general contractor is only as good as the subcontractors they work with, which is why it’s so important that you trust your contractor.
- Anticipate the construction timeline
Meet with your contractor and agree on a reasonable construction timeline. Be sure to communicate openly with your contractor throughout the project to make sure you’re both fully aware of its progress and/or delays. Also, from the beginning, you should factor in the time it takes to go through the permitting process. That way, you’ll stand firm against the emotional rollercoaster that typically comes with waiting.
- Handling finances
Before you start building, you need to secure financing for your project. It often happens that people start their commercial construction project without the guarantee they’ll be able to finish it. If you can’t afford to pay for the project with your company’s money, you’ll need to think about getting a commercial construction loan as an alternative financing option. Before applying for a loan, determine how much money you will need to get the project done. It’s also smart to have some money saved on the side to cover up for any unexpected expenses.
- Prepare for unexpected expenses
Cost and schedule overruns often happen when planners are optimistic about their construction projects. It is called optimism bias, and it involves a tendency for people to be too confident about the outcome of their planned actions. They often underestimate the likelihood of any adverse effects. Large construction projects are particularly vulnerable to these schedule and cost overruns. So, it’s important to be realistic when planning your commercial construction project. For example, if you’re renovating a building, you might find that the existing underground utilities or building plans are not specified. You might even find that the plans are missing. Also, weather conditions such as snow, rain or extreme temperatures can affect the construction process as well. In that case, be mindful of the time needed to catch up after the weather clears.
- Ask for help from professionals
Before you get started, you will also need to find a team of professionals who will take care of the work for you. And you’ll need to do this before you even try to get your permits because you’ll need a blueprint that includes all the engineering and architectural requirements for your commercial construction project. Next, you’ll need experts to construct the building. When talking to your contractor, be sure that they understand everything you’re aiming for. Of course, to make sure that everything is going well, you will need to stay involved in the project as much as possible.
- Wrapping things up before starting
When the material selections are made and the plan is submitted for permits, your general contractor will finish up their pricing and create a contract for your commercial construction project. If you’re going over your budget, you’ll most likely need to change materials or change the scope of work to reduce cost. By the time you sign the contract, your contractor will have identified and ordered the long-lead items, which can include the equipment, system or product required at the earliest project stages.
Having good communication and open dialogue with your general contractor and project teams is essential. Remember to be as realistic as possible when assessing how much money and time you can afford to dedicate to the project. Hiring a contractor specializing in commercial construction projects is an excellent solution if your project is large and complex.
Building from the ground up or renovating an existing commercial building can be stressful and intimidating. But we know all this because ARC has been around long enough to know that there’s a lot to understand. ARC is an experienced contractor, and we recognize the expectations and importance of every project! Therefore, we treat every stage of construction with passion and care. Feel free to contact ARC Construction for more information.