WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION?
Industrial and commercial construction are often confused with each other. As mentioned before, industrial construction involves constructing a building used to manufacture goods and products. On the other hand, commercial construction means constructing a building to house a business — grocery and retail stores, restaurants, sports facilities, private schools and hospitals are commercial buildings.
Industrial and commercial construction differ in nearly every aspect of the construction process, including:
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- Site planning: Every construction project begins with an in-depth analysis of the building site. The construction company will mark the lot boundaries and assess the lot size to pick the building location and determine traffic patterns. The sites for industrial and commercial buildings need to be planned differently because they have distinct necessities. For example, commercial buildings typically need easy access for customers or clients. An industrial facility would want close proximity to transportation avenues for shipping and receiving.
- Design: For industrial projects, there's little to no need for aesthetic design — design is focused on well-coordinated distribution, logistics, safety and efficient production. Comparatively, commercial buildings place significant importance on interior and exterior aesthetics. Commercial building owners may have a desired look for the building to attract customers and appear visually pleasing.
- Supporting infrastructure: Infrastructure like HVAC, plumbing and electricity run to various areas of a commercial construction project, so tenants can operate them as they wish. While industrial construction infrastructure is the same, it must support large machines under demanding requirements and strict regulations. Additionally, plumbing and electrical hookups are necessary for many types of industrial machines.
- Project management: General contractors typically form a team of material suppliers and subcontractors to complete various parts of a commercial project. The biggest aspect of managing a commercial construction project is coordinating each third party to reach a shared goal. Since industrial construction projects often require skills and materials that go beyond that of commercial projects, industrial project management is more challenging. From large installations and on-site assemblies to custom fabrication, managing an industrial project is much more high-stakes.
- Project completion: Finalizing a commercial construction project is simpler than finalizing an industrial construction project. For example, when construction is complete, a commercial building owner typically only needs local zoning and planning board approval before opening for business. While this is also true of industrial projects, the nature of industrial buildings requires compliance with federal, state and local agency standards.