How Is Commercial Construction Different From Residential Construction?

Building any kind of structure necessitates the need for construction processes. The construction process entails repair, constructing buildings, making renovations, and more. It is critical to realize that not all construction work is the same, and in fact, there are various types of construction. Some involve building residential structures, while others involve building large-scale commercial or industrial buildings.

Knowing the difference between each kind of construction work is essential. It helps companies make the right decision when choosing a general contractor for the job. For example, unlike residential contractors who work merely on constructing buildings designed to be lived in, commercial general contractors specialize in creating commercial buildings. They work on projects such as the builds and remodels of offices, restaurants, retail businesses, public spaces, and more.

Understanding the difference between commercial and residential construction is also important to avoid any unexpected awakening in the middle of the project. Here are the key differences between the two:


Most people are not aware of this, but commercial construction and residential construction differ in every possible way. Nothing is the same about the two kinds of work, from the building materials used to the equipment required during the construction. Even the way the funding is secured for both the processes is different.

However, these variations start with the way residential properties are used as compared to commercial properties. Residential buildings are used to be lived in. Whereas commercial properties are used for businesses and making profits.

Residential construction includes building:

  • Single-family houses
  • Detached houses
  • Small-scale apartment buildings and condominiums
  • Townhouses
  • Triplex or duplex
  • Housing cooperatives

On the other hand, commercial construction includes building:

  • Office buildings
  • Public spaces
  • Large-scale apartment buildings
  • Retail spaces
  • Industrial buildings
  • Restaurants, hotels, and more

Codes And Permits

Construction of any kind requires adhering to specific codes and obtaining necessary permits from the municipality or district where the structure is being constructed. However, the complexity of these codes and regulations is much higher for commercial construction projects than residential projects.

For example, apart from the existing regulations governing construction properties, a commercial general contractor will need to address other compliance rules, including issues to do with the buildings’ safety, parking spaces, elevators, electrical concerns, and more. These laws are established to ensure that buildings’ safety levels are satisfied to the fullest.

Commercial properties have different rules and regulations for:

  • Building materials
  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing
  • Construction techniques
  • Design
  • Size

Building Material & Equipment

Generally, every building design requires a unique set of building materials in quality and quantity. During residential construction work, contractors use wood, as it is affordable and structurally ideal for small to medium-sized residential buildings. On the other hand, most commercial buildings use steel frames as they are incredibly durable and strong and can withstand the significant height of the commercial building.

Moreover, when constructing large-sized commercial buildings, specialized and sophisticated equipment is required. There is a need to use heavy construction equipment and machinery to ensure the project is completed faster and with extreme accuracy and precision. It is important to keep in mind that you’ll require a highly trained and skilled team to operate such machinery. And this is only possible if you hire the most experienced and professional commercial contractor.

With that being said, you must hire the most competent general commercial contractor to work on your commercial project in the market. BelVan Construction is Edmonton’s leading commercial contractor. We offer our clients various expert general contracting, project design-build, pre-construction consulting, and construction management services. For more information, visit our website or contact us here today.


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