4 Frequently Asked Questions About Commercial Construction

Commercial construction is a complex process that even those in the industry oftentimes do not fully grasp. Even if it’s been a year or so since your last major project, we see seasoned developers and local and federal government agencies confused in this time due to increasing regulation, material shortages, inflation, supply change disruptions, and a growing labor crisis. If you’re new to commercial construction, the number of questions you have may feel overwhelming.

Here we have gathered a few of the most frequently asked questions about commercial construction and provided answers from the experts!

What Happens in the Pre-Construction Stage, and Why Is It Important?

Many people have heard of the pre-construction stage and how vital it is to the success of a project. But not as many people understand what this stage entails, or why it is so important.

The pre-construction planning stage is a critical opportunity for the client to work together with the contractor, design, engineering teams, and stakeholders to establish an owner’s program, minimize the owner’s risk, and ultimately set the project up for the best chance of success. This stage figures out all the information required to fully understand the scope of the construction with the end in mind and gives an owner the information needed to make the most informed decisions.

Some examples of Pre-Con tasks may include: 

  • Site selection
  • Existing condition assessments
  • Cost analysis
  • Owner risk management
  • Systems design
  • Sustainability
  • Identification of long lead items
  • Site limitations & constraints
  • Overall project budget
  • Schedule
  • Contingencies

Identifying, discussing, and solving issues such as these on a project before any construction work begins will minimize the chance of mistakes or unforeseen expenses, giving you a better-built project and a shorter duration of the build.

How Long Does a Commercial Construction Project Take?

There is no set timeline for every commercial construction project. Depending on the scope of the project, constraints, phasing, and access to the site, the project can take anywhere from a couple of weeks for some cosmetic finishes to years for larger development and complex historic adaptive reuse.

Renovating an established business site is one of the fastest and lowest costs of entry to your construction project, but more often than not, the design & permitting can take longer than the actual construction work, or an important specialty component may take longer to order, manufacture and deliver to the job site than the overall duration to complete the job.

The key is to identify the items that will drive the schedule, commonly known as the “critical path,” and ensure these items are watched, measured, and accounted for as the project progresses. Many times an owner may be presented with alternate materials and methods from the original components chosen, to eliminate lag in the schedule or workflow.

How Can Commercial Construction Be Environmentally Friendly?

These days, creating space is not just about appealing or functional design. The construction process also needs to be environmentally friendly in order to protect our planet and become a healthy environment in which we spend our time.

Many advancements have come in the way of eco-friendly commercial construction practices. One way contractors can be more green is by recycling any reusable parts from the existing space. Structural elements are often reused due to their stable nature, longevity, and high cost.

Selecting sustainable materials that have recycled content and low VOC’s. Bamboo, hemp, and composites are excellent alternatives to wood that may be sourced through non-sustainable forestry practices. When selecting wood products, following guidelines such as those prescribed by the Forest Stewardship Council, ensures harvesting is done in a sustainable manner to protect the planet’s forests.

Locally-sourced materials and products can also be requested. Not only is this good for the environment by reducing transportation and carbon emissions but it also bolsters local economies in the United States often saving you time and money on the project as well, rather than waiting for things to be delivered from overseas.

How Can I Choose the Best Commercial Construction Company for My Business?

Choosing a commercial construction company can seem difficult. We recommend opting for local businesses which put community and professionalism at the heart of their business and have core values that put your best interests first. Finding companies that have excellent reputations and first-class programs is not difficult. Just ask for references, project portfolios, a written technical approach to projects, and a sample schedule, meet them in person, and trust your instincts.

Commercial Contracting Services in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic Region

If you’re looking for a commercial contractor in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Washington, DC, Contour Construction is here to help. We offer expert construction services and are here to be your one-stop shop for your entire project. From the pre-planning stages to the final inspection, we can turn your next vision into a reality. Give us a call or drop us a line to see how we can help.

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