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7 Things To Know Before Starting a Construction Project

Denver construction contractors working on site

It’s an exciting time when a new commercial construction is being planned for the business. Commercial construction projects show growth for a company, and we love to hear that! However, there are a few things you should know about and plan ahead before starting on a commercial construction project.

At H3 Construction, we are experts in commercial building projects, so we know a thing or two about how to plan for a successful construction.

Use this checklist for the planning of your construction project to save yourself time and headaches.

1. Create a Realistic Budget

You might be very excited to get started on this build and the company owners are ecstatic, but try to be realistic with your budget. If you have a financial department, they will work with you for creating a practical budget to spend on the commercial construction project. If you don’t have a financial team, then you should take as much time as you can to calculate a budget that won’t damage the business.

You don’t want to spend too much on a project, but a commercial build can be quite expensive.

In 2018, the total cost of total construction spending in the United States alone was over $1.29 trillion. Commercial spending in 2017 was estimated at $85 billion.

Using a cost estimation calculator will help you to at least have a rough estimation as to the maximum cost your project should require. A quality job could cost anywhere from $100,000 to several million. Judging the costs means calculating the square footage of the building, where the materials are sourced, and the cost of the labor. On top of these costs, you will need building insurance, which will significantly add to the end cost of the construction.

Commercial construction costs can include:

  1. Manufacturer costs (building materials)
  2. General contractors (for assembling the building materials)
  3. Subcontractors (optional: hired on for specialty services)
  4. Brokers (optional: to negotiate with manufacturers for material prices)
  5. Insurance (for the building, materials, and other services)

2. Choose a Location

This is very obvious, but the location matters the most for the type of construction project you can build. You most likely already have a location in mind for where you would like the construction project, but location choice goes hand-in-hand with budgeting and zoning. Though you may want a seven-story building with an underground garage, you may not have the authority to make your dream come true.

Be careful when deciding on a location and if you are using a commercial property agent to help you with the property acquisition, then clearly inform them about your vision. Property agents will have an understanding for what type of commercial buildings are allowed to be built on the land. Don’t buy the land unless you know you can legally build the structure you are wanting.

3. Acquire Zoning Permits

After you have a location in mind and you have a vision that you know you can legally build on the land, you need to acquire zoning permits. Local zoning requirements refer to what type of buildings or structures you can build on the land. Zoning codes dictate the structures built on the plot of land you’ve purchased. That is why it’s very important you take time in deciding which land you are purchasing for the build.

Before H3 restaurant construction build in Fort Collins
Fort Collins, Colorado construction project – Before

The zoning permit you acquire will have details for the structures and divisions of the land. Once you have obtained your zoning permit(s) from the local zoning department, you can proceed with obtaining your building permit. Building permits are used for the architecture of the building. Essentially, the building’s physical features, safety, and how it will affect the surrounding area.

Both zoning permits and building permits are necessary to acquire before you can even start on the commercial construction project.

4. Choose a Start to Finish Date

You must have a rough idea of when the project will be completed. When does the construction project need to be finished? Are you planning on using the building this upcoming summer? 

Think about the purpose that the end-project will serve. If you need an additional office space because you have more staff on hand, then you might want to have the project done faster. But if you aren’t as concerned about the completion date, this will provide more time that may be needed to ensure the build is of the highest quality.

The general contractors (GCs) you higher for the construction assembly will require a timeline. If you need the build accomplished faster, then the GCs may need more hands on deck. The construction contractors working on the project have a start to finish process. Paint needs to dry, the weather can impede on the days worked, manufacturers can be late on material shipments, etc.

These factors are discussed with you by the supervising GC, also known as the project manager. Informing the project manager when you want the start and finish dates of the project will give them a better perspective. They will provide you with realistic dates for the project based on their processes.

5. Request Bids from Commercial Construction Companies

After you have the main logistics planned, you’ll need a commercial construction company to start on assembly. As stated before, the construction company will need specific details of the build. They can’t get started without the proper documentation for the plot of land and building.


Construction companies will “bid” on your project. This bidding process is the company providing you with a proposal for the build. You will want to contact at least three companies to learn what makes them so unique and which company is right for the job. Their bids rely on how long the project will take, square footage of the building, materials to use, subcontractors to hire, and the architecture of the structure.

H3 Fort Collins commercial construction zone in progress

If you don’t have a blueprint or design in mind for the project, construction companies will sometimes have a professional architect on their team. This comes in handy because you’ll have direct contact between the architect and the construction crew. The architect knows what’s possible for their crew’s experience and expertise.

6. Choose a Licensed and Insured Construction Company

Never hire a construction company that isn’t licensed or insured! Licensing and insurance takes the stress off of your shoulders and claims the construction company as liable for defects, damages, or negligence.

The licensing allows them to work in your state for construction builds. They will need commercial construction licensing to deal with commercial buildings. Each contractor that works on the project will need to be licensed to perform their services.

Insurance financially protects you from out-of-pocket expenses and keeps your assets safe. The construction company should acquire insurance for the materials, their services, and worker’s compensation. A construction company that doesn’t offer worker’s compensation is one that doesn’t care for its workers. This should be a good indicator for the quality of services and ethics of the construction company.

7. Request 3D Renderings of the Finished Build

With new technology, construction companies and architects can provide you with 3D renderings of the finished construction project before they even get started! Companies that offer 3D renderings go into great detail for making your vision come to life. This is the ultimate blueprint of your project and truly puts into perspective the work that needs to go into the build.

After H3 restaurant construction build in Fort Collins
Fort Collins, Colorado construction project – After

You may also request 3D renderings of multiple versions of your build. Maybe you haven’t officially decided on the design or color scheme for the structure? The building designers can create build variations for you to choose from.

Conclusion

Your commercial construction project is an amazing achievement, but will take time and a lot of moving pieces to complete it. By following this checklist of pre-planning for the initial build, you’ll be better prepared to jump into this project with confidence.

A construction project doesn’t need to be stressful, and you shouldn’t have to do all of the work yourself. Hire a local commercial construction company with integrity and experience to oversee the success of the build

We at H3 Construction & Design have been in the commercial construction business for years, serving small businesses and large companies all over Colorado. We serve Denver, Fort Collins, Loveland, Boulder, and the surrounding cities. We are a licensed and insured construction company, ready to take on any commercial build size! Contact us today to schedule a consultation for your project at (970) 515-2264.