It’s obvious that a commercial building’s construction process is different from residential construction for a homeowner. However, the requirements for commercial and industrial construction projects vary widely depending on the type of building being built and the intended purpose of the facility.
Commercial building projects can be broken down into several categories, each with its own unique requirements. Identifying where your project fits into these groups will ultimately help you locate a commercial construction company that specializes in the type of work you need. Keep reading to learn more about the features and requirements found in some of the most common commercial properties.
Restaurants and Food Service Commercial Structures
Restaurant managers typically divide work into front of house (FOH) for the customer areas and back of house (BOH) for the private work areas. However, when it comes to construction, the project needs to be broken down into smaller sections.
Front of House
On the FOH side, a restaurant needs to serve its customers. Along with the dining area, there’s often a waiting area, a station for the host, and bathrooms. If you serve alcohol, you need a bar. Servers also need a station to make tickets and prepare orders.
Back of House
On the BOH side, there’s often the kitchen, a dishwashing station, food storage areas, a trash collection area and offices. Everything has to be set up to comply with food safety laws, while also meeting fire safety and building codes. The number of regulations you need to comply with can be staggering, down to incredibly small details like the color of the walls where you store your food.
Opening a chain or franchise location can come with added requirements from the parent company, as well. These guidelines are often related to the look and feel of the building, but can also pertain to the equipment used to store and prepare food.
While opening an independent restaurant provides more flexibility, it also means adding a ton of choices for everything from lighting fixtures to refrigeration space.
Medical Facilities Construction
While we may go to a “doctor’s office” for a routine checkup, a medical care facility is more similar to a factory than an office building. Areas must be easy to clean, and the electrical supply must be consistent. Supply lines for oxygen need to be routed to rooms and air must be constantly filtered to remove pathogens and contaminants.
Expensive equipment needs to be housed in safe storage areas. Areas used for high-risk care—like surgical procedures—need added protection from fire and other potential issues. Dealing with infectious diseases? You may need to consider negative pressure rooms to contain pathogens.
Throughout the building, spaces with sound deadening products are designed to isolate conversations in order to maintain compliance with HIPAA regulations. On top of all that, these spaces must also be easy to navigate for quick responses to emergency situations.
Office Building Commercial Construction
What is an office? It could be a couple of rooms on the side of a factory, a small stand-alone building, a complex, or a skyscraper. Is it just a place for employees to work, or will they be interacting with clients? Do you need to provide a simple break room or a full cafeteria? Is it a single-use space, or will it also be home to other businesses? Defining the purpose of the building will help you narrow down requirements for everything from water metering to fire exits.
For many businesses, the office is usually at the heart of information technology and management. That means you need to plan for rooms that protect servers and computer equipment from electrical problems. Flood control can also be a concern. Along with utilities, networking lines need to run from space to space to deliver reliable, high-speed communication between computers, phones, and other connected devices.
Hotels and Other Lodging
A hotel is similar to a housing project, but on an industrial scale. Instead of a water heater, a plant is required to keep showers and faucets supplied with hot water. Televisions and internet connections are supplied by an IT system that makes it easy for guests to access the internet, and security has to be planned out at every step (from using secure door locks to ensuring every public area is covered by security cameras).
Amenities often need to include dining areas, fitness centers and pools, which all need to be planned for comfort, usability, and long term durability. All these features add up. In a recent study, Cushman & Wakefield estimated that the minimum total construction cost for a single room is $94,000, with luxury suites costing as much as $2.1 million. When you multiply that over 100 or more rooms, you’re looking at a significant investment.
Industrial Building Construction
Process engineering can make or break a large-scale manufacturing plant, refinery, or similar facility. Manufacturing and logistics equipment requires a building that can properly support them, which means incorporating supplies for high voltage electricity, water, steam, air, and more.
Almost every industrial building needs at least one loading dock, and dock boards may also be needed to load and unload from trains. Along with equipment stations, there’s also safety equipment to consider, including fire suppression systems, first aid stations, eyewash stations, and more. Ceiling height requirements often go well beyond that of standard buildings, which means you need a specialized crew of construction professionals to get the job done correctly.
Whether you need a high school basketball court or a professional football stadium, the basic needs of a sports building are similar. Team sports need precision playing fields that meet league requirements, but they also need seating for spectators, as well as proper facilities for fans and players.
Want to add a fitness center? You need an open space that can support and power heavy athletic equipment. Serving large crowds? You need adequate sanitary facilities, as well as concessions to keep them fed and generate additional revenue.
When you put enough people in one place for work or education, your commercial facilities need to be equipped to cover their needs. Institutional construction requires multiple disciplines to cover the elements of several types of commercial construction.
Institutional facilities can be broken down further into categories based on the type of institution.
Schools and Universities
Schools have offices, classrooms, food service facilities, sports facilities for teams and physical education, and industrial safety features for science classrooms.
Higher education commercial construction is often two-fold, because a university has everything you’d find in a school, plus dorms that are constructed like hotels or high-rise condominiums.
Hospitals and Care Facilities
Hospital campuses need restaurant facilities to feed large numbers of employees, patients, and visitors, large office spaces, loading docks to bring in food and equipment, and industrial plants to keep everything running. Instead of using a few specialist contractors, medical facility planning draws from a wide pool to cover every aspect of the job.
Find the Right Contractor for Your Next Commercial Construction Project
The Builders Association represents over 150 reputable union contractors across eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, and our members include general contractors, as well as subcontractors, covering a wide range of skilled trades. We make it easy to narrow down your search for contractors with the skills needed to tackle your project, no matter what it entails.
Reach out to discuss your upcoming project.