Sometimes, You've Gotta Build

Why Is Commercial Construction A Separate Industry?

If you've never dealt with a commercial construction project, you might wonder why many of the contractors in the industry focus solely on that type of work. Before you begin a project, it's good to know why the commercial sector operates as a separate industry.

Sizes and Weights

Many commercial buildings are bigger. No, the building doesn't have to be a skyscraper for this to be true. Even your local convenience store often has a notably larger footprint than a house usually does. Performing work at a larger scale requires more people, equipment, and supplies.

Similarly, the materials are often heavier. For example, most homes don't have numerous steel beams in them. Consequently, commercial projects often require different equipment and skills.


A commercial structure typically sees more people coming and going than a residential one. Frequently, commercial buildings are public accommodations that people can just enter off the street. This inherently raises the associated liability level. A commercial construction business has to carry more insurance, and its policies must cover more scenarios if something goes wrong.


Given the previous liability issues, it's unsurprising that commercial structures are also subject to different regulations. At the simplest level, this means zoning. However, there also may be legal issues regarding environmental compliance, labor rules, and work site safety requirements. Public accommodations often have to comply with most aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act, too.

Notably, regulators often expect more extensive compliance reports with projects. Commercial masonry work, for example, may require structural analysis of how the building will handle X amount of weight under common conditions. Regulators also frequently want to see studies of how buildings will hold up decades later.


When a contractor sits down to build a house, they usually end up dealing with at most one set of homeowners. Commercial projects can be very different. Many involve investment groups, partners, and several financial institutions. Everyone will want to have a say, and the contractors have to synthesize the consensus into a plan that ends up producing a building.

You may also run into brand standards. Particularly if a business is a franchise, it may have to build to certain specifications. Similar issues occur with branches of companies, too. Such standards can get quite nitpicky. Down to the choice of colors and how far the counter has to be from the door, these standards pose unique challenges.

To learn more, go to websites about commercial construction.