Residential vs. Commercial Construction: Principal Differences

In the Construction industry, there are several distinctive sub-categories which include commercial, residential and municipal construction. Now, while there is not much difference when it comes to municipal and residential construction, the same can’t be said when commercial construction is concerned.

If you are planning to start a construction business, you must learn the difference between residential and commercial construction. You may also seek the services of a company like Checkr to conduct a background check on your potential employees.

It’s important to understand that there are some key differences between residential and commercial construction, and we’ll do our best to cover them in this article and make them a bit clearer to anyone reading. So, pay attention if you want to learn what are the main differences between residential and commercial construction.

Purpose of the space

When talking about residential construction, the purpose of the space that’s being built is clear – it’s meant to house people. Be it a home, an apartment building or any other type of construction that’s meant for people to live in, residential construction is pretty straight-forward.

On the other hand, when commercial construction is at question, you need to consider what the space will be used for. Are we talking about building a factory, storage units or office buildings? Furthermore, a commercial builder also needs to determine whether there will be several types of businesses run from the same office building.

Legal aspect of things

Any type of construction will require a specific set of licences and permits, and it needs to adhere to certain construction codes. Here, the commercial market has significantly more requirements that need to be met than the residential market, because there are many different aspects of commercial construction that can vary.

For instance, when commercial construction is concerned, one should usually obtain licences and permits for different types of elevators, a much more elaborate electrical grid, standard safety protocols, parking lots for employees and so on. You should also have a good work related accident lawyer on your side in case of an injury in any of the employees.

Materials used

While in residential construction, the main material used in the construction process is most commonly wood, in commercial construction, steel plays a key role. The main reason behind this is, of course, the price of the materials. An average homeowner most commonly simply can’t afford to use steel in the construction process, and there really is no need for it.

The key thing to do when commercial construction is concerned is to hire a trust-worthy commercial construction company to take care of the entire process because this way you can be sure that everything’s done professionally and in accordance with the legal aspect of the construction.

Necessary equipment

Unless we’re talking about multi-storey residential apartment buildings, residential construction projects are usually next to nothing when compared with a large-scale commercial construction. Sure, mansions and multi-layer homes do look impressive, but they are significantly faster and easier to build and require far less equipment.

On the other hand, commercial construction most commonly requires cranes and other heavy equipment that needs to be operated by a trained professional so that it’s used as safely and as efficiently as possible. Finally, this is another reason commercial construction is significantly more expensive than residential construction because salaries for all those people involved in the process need to be covered as well.

Time frame

Residential construction usually tends to move at a much slower pace than commercial construction. One of the reasons is the fact that businesses stand to experience far greater losses if the construction of their commercial property gets delayed.

The expectation for completion when commercial construction is concerned is usually much higher, i.e. it’s expected to be finished faster. So, a contractor should establish a realistic deadline and make sure to follow it through.

We hope that we’ve managed to bring different types of construction and their main differences at least a bit closer to you. However, no matter which type of construction you’re in need of, finding and hiring the right construction company is of the utmost importance.


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