The Difference Between Commercial and Residential Construction

If you don’t know much about construction it can be easy to assume that each construction company does a very similar thing. This isn’t necessarily the case, as well as having their own specialties, commercial and residential construction companies have some key differences in their definitions and their processes.

In this article, we’re looking at some of the differences between residential construction and commercial construction. Understanding the differences can help you to choose which construction company you plan to work with and learn a little more about this complicated industry.

Is the Scale and Complexity of the Work the Same in Commercial and Residential Construction?

Commercial construction companies often have more of an infrastructure that allows them to work on some very large projects. For instance, if you are working with a residential company it may be that they can only make changes that impact a regular home. Most houses are in some ways similar, and there isn’t a huge difference between the projects a residential building or construction company will undertake.

On the other hand, commercial construction companies are often called upon for complicated projects from shopping malls to cinemas to stadiums. A residential building contractor or construction company is not going to be in a position to help with these larger and more complex projects.

Do Commercial and Residential Construction Differ in Price?

Obviously, the price that your construction company charges you will depend on what sort of work you need to be carried out. A small bathroom repair in a mall will probably cost less than major renovations of a residential property. However, generally speaking, commercial properties are likely to involve far more of an undertaking and significant price hikes for getting it done. A commercial construction company will usually charge more for their more specialist knowledge and the fact they tend to work on larger contracts.

Is Strategy and Work Pace the Same for Commercial and Residential Construction?

Commercial construction companies often have a team in place for their more complex projects to assist with planning and strategy. The projects they are working on, usually being larger, may take a lot longer than residential properties, but with bigger teams working on the construction project, they can sometimes be surprisingly fast. A good construction company should always be able to estimate how long a job will take.

Keep in mind that, particularly with a commercial building, the company may need to get in some specialist help, whether subcontracted or otherwise.

When thinking about the time taken to work on a residential property, sometimes companies have to factor in the fact that people may still be living there. This is true of many renovations and repairs, rather than any sort of new build.

What Materials and Equipment are used in Commercial and Residential Construction?

Again, there is an element of generalizing here, but it is normally the case that a commercial construction company will have access to materials and equipment which are different from those that a residential company regularly uses. They may need equipment to scale higher, for instance, than companies working in a residential setting. A residential company is unlikely to work on a skyscraper, for instance, whereas a commercial company may have to.

There will always be something of overlap with the materials, but the companies tend to only have access to materials and equipment they need to do their job effectively, and this is an often smaller scale for residential projects.

Do You Need Permits For Commercial and Residential Construction?

Working with commercial construction projects takes a huge amount of planning, and this means there are often a lot of permits involved, too. Commercial companies can’t just build what they want, where they want. There is a lot of planning permission and red tape. While there are regulations regarding residential building, too, there is far more when it comes to commercial construction.

For instance, it may be that a commercial project involves shutting public spaces or taking on huge building projects that impact nearby businesses and peoples’ homes. A good commercial construction company will be able to help and advise if you need to obtain permits in order to undertake the work. They should know the relevant permits and how to get them, whereas residential construction companies tend to have a lot less in terms of requirements for the building they carry out as it has less impact on the public.

Owen is a customer experience manager at Majestic Cabinets. Having several years of experience in the home improvement field, Owen is keen on sharing his knowledge and secrets with others. Doesn't matter if you’re a homeowner with little to no knowledge in the field or an experienced contractor, you can always learn something new and interesting from his stories. Owen hopes that his articles will give you a bit of insight on home improvement.