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3 Key Planning Points for Commercial Construction

There is a collection of duties that drive commercial construction. These duties can quickly become overwhelming and chaotic if the right planning does not occur before commencing with such a project. For the sake of efficiency, there must be at least three key planning points, whether it is a commercial project from the ground up or large-scale commercial build-out.

Finding a Good General Contractor

Finding the best general contractor for a commercial project is critical. They are relied upon to survey the scope of the work daily throughout the project. They are also the direct contact between architects, engineers, sub-contractors, and city officials, so they must have a clear understanding of the depth and breadth of the construction process.

It is imperative to know the level of experience and expertise a general contractor has beforehand. They should be able to walk through a brief scenario and include details on how they prioritized time, cost, and managed the crews to meet deadlines. It is also crucial that they choose professional, skilled, and reliable sub-contractors. They should have subcontractors that specialize in different aspects of the project, including carpenters, electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, roofers, stonemasons, and select trade contractors for demolition and excavation, and erecting steel.

A general contractor should have the reputation and credentials on record to merit consideration for the job. These qualifications can be examined through the state licensing department to check on current licensure. Ask also for copies of certificates of insurance that will cover personal liability, workers’ compensation claims, and property damage.

Designing the Construction Lay-out


An architect, engineer, and general contractor should work in concert to create a design-build commercial layout that makes the entire construction process run as efficiently as possible. The architect discusses the best schematic design based on general sizes and functions for each area and the orientation of the buildings. It then falls to the general contractor to inform the architect and engineer about the materials that will be needed to complete it. It can include discussion on the cost-efficiency of one kind of material, texture, size, and color over another while still maintaining the durability and pleasing aesthetics of the commercial buildings.

All of this is a crucial component of the planning process now and in the future. By the year 2035, nearly 80% of commercial buildings will require renovation or be torn down and built brand new mostly to satisfy new green building regulations. So, the architect, engineer, and general contractor relationship is integral to understanding and executing the commercial construction plans.

Preconstruction and Material Procurement


The preconstruction process is vital for several reasons, both for cost efficiency and for confirming the safety of the site itself. Once there is full agreement on the schematic design, a thorough materials list is sent out to participating vendors as well as potential subcontractors to garner the most cost-efficient quotes for materials and labor before any ground is broken on the commercial site.

While procuring the material, tests are done on the soil at the commercial site to ensure that it is free of hazardous environmental materials. This essential element of the preconstruction process needs to be factored into the budget before construction even begins. Local departments responsible for environmental protection take soil samples at the construction site. These same departments also expect that general contractors can show proof that their construction project will not cause any hazardous waste in the area that is either temporary or will cause permanent health risks.

Without these three key planning components for a commercial construction project in place, the risk is that much of the work that is done by each sub-contractor will not pass the city inspections and result in the overall project not being completed within the specified deadline. If the key components are in place, a final project walk-through referred to as a punch-out will occur to pinpoint issues and repair them before the final inspections take place.