How Commercial Construction is Different from Residential

If you’ve ever wondered how commercial buildings vary from residential ones, the differences discussed below might provide some insights. Here are the basics: commercial buildings are used to operate commercial ventures (schools, offices, supermarkets and similar businesses) while residential buildings are basically homes where families reside.

Before commencing your construction project, it’s important to hire an experienced contractor with an enviable track record in providing quality construction for commercial buildings. Conducting some thorough research beforehand is also essential.

Here are 5 major differences between commercial construction and residential construction:

  1. Construction materials used

The materials used to construct commercial buildings are slightly different from those used to build residential houses. They both have different structural needs: residential buildings are often smaller than commercial ones, hence require less reinforcement. For commercial construction, you will require sturdy steel and concrete framing that guarantees better fortification. You’ll also need to consider three-phase electricity installation during the design phase. Residential construction is less complicated. Timber framing and single-phase electrical designing will usually suffice.

  1. Building regulations and permits

Another key difference between commercial and residential construction is in their permits. Commercial buildings usually attract stricter regulations than residential houses. Regulations may vary from design to materials and plumbing systems used. If you wish to succeed as a commercial contractor, ensure you learn the ropes as far as permits and regulations are concerned. The biggest perk of residential construction is the lenient regulations employed by the government. Most residential buildings are small and incorporate simple designs, making them less problematic to erect.

  1. Construction timelines

Every construction project must have a unique set of timelines. However, residential construction typically has longer and more flexible timelines than commercial construction. Homeowners prefer taking their time when building their dream home. This provides them with more freedom to make vital construction decisions as and when they deem fit. Commercial builders, on the other hand, desire to complete the project as quickly (and as efficiently) as possible. Commercial contractors often have to deal with smaller budgets and stricter timelines.

  1. Machinery required for construction

Large scale commercial buildings require the utilization of heavy machinery such as bulldozers, earth movers and forklifts. Such machinery has to be operated by experienced personnel in order to optimize quality and maintain relevant safety standards. Residential buildings, on the other hand, don’t require heavy machines or specialized skills. Smaller DIY building projects can even be learnt online and completed successfully if you have the time. In addition, accidents that occur during residential construction are easier to fix and rarely end up in lawsuits when compared to commercial mishaps.

  1. Warranties and insurance covers

Commercial properties generally require more insurance than residential buildings. As a commercial contractor, you’re required to comply with all state and national certifications to avoid getting slapped with penalties. Commercial contracts are usually lengthier and more complex than residential ones. Warranties and surety bonds are essential elements of every commercial construction contract, especially when you’re dealing with government work.

These are just some of the key differences between commercial and residential construction.


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BDC 316 : May 2024