commercial construction process

commercial construction processWhen you are thinking of constructing your first commercial building, it is easy to get overwhelmed. In order to give you a big-picture view of this entire process, Headwaters Construction, Inc., the best commercial builder in Northern California, has compiled the following overview of the commercial construction process. Read on and learn what, when, and who is responsible for the different stages of the process.

Project Planning and Development

The first phase of any commercial construction project, or any construction project for that matter, is planning and development. This phase mainly involves finding the location where you intend to construct the commercial building as well as predesigning the facility. Headwaters Construction, Inc. also recommends that you introduce your chosen architect to the general contractor at this time. If you need consulting or planning services, contact us today.

Project Design/Build

In our experience at Headwaters Construction, Inc., it is good for a contractor to work closely with the architect as the building is being designed. This collaborative exercise makes it easier for accurate cost predictions and materials choices to be made as each party benefits from the insights of the other. The design team is charged with making sure that all the designs conform to the existing building codes of the area. Some of the specific things that are done during the design/build phase include the following:

  • Construction Bidding. The design stage involves drafting bid documents and selecting a contractor who will take charge of the entire project once construction begins. Without the bid document, it is hard to ascertain project costs.
  • Project Programing. Programing makes it possible for you to get a good picture of the space available, the functional needs as well as the flexibility of the building you wish to construct. Commercial builders use the building program to give project owners an idea of the number of rooms, facility purpose, size of the building, and other such matters.
  • Project Feasibility. A feasibility study is also done to find out whether the project site is ideal for the planned project. Here, you’ll examine what amenities, such as road access, utility connections, and building orientation, will be required to make the project a success.
  • Schematic Designs. These give Headwaters Construction, Inc. a detailed breakdown of the shapes, sizes, colors, patterns, textures, and materials that will be used to bring to life the commercial construction idea that you have.
  • Design Development. Commercial construction companies undertake research or an investigation of the various materials and equipment, as well as their cost, needed during the execution of the construction project.
  • Working Drawings or Contract Documents. These contain the final specifications (specs) and the drawings that different contractors and subcontractors will rely upon when preparing their bid documents. The builder you select, such as Headwaters Construction, Inc., will also depend on these contract documents to undertake the commercial construction project. The working drawings and contract documents serve the role of keeping all contractors or subcontractors aware of the acceptable costs associated with each aspect of the project.


In order to get a good picture of what the project will cost, Headwaters Construction, Inc. recommends that you narrow down the bids to just three and analyze them in detail before selecting one.

The pre-construction stage also marks the time when you (or your representative, such as the construction consultant) obtain the required permits.

The start of the pre-construction phase is marked by the project owner notifying the contractor that the project can begin. Upon getting the green light, the contractor appoints key members of the project team. These include the project manager, the project superintendent, the contract administrator, and the field engineer.


As the name suggests, this stage is about procuring the different materials, equipment, and the labor that is needed for the execution of the commercial construction project. A purchase order, which is an agreement between the seller or vendor and the project owner, stipulates that what has been procured meets the specs provided at a given price point.

If you opted for a Northern California commercial contractor who takes care of everything from designing to building the structure, then that commercial builder will be in charge of the procurement process. If not, the contractor may procure the needed materials and equipment through the subcontractors (specialists in aspects of the construction project, such as electrical works and plumbing) selected during the bidding phase of the project.

The Construction Phase

This step of the commercial construction starts with the superintendent holding a meeting with the different professionals earmarked to be involved in the actual construction. The meeting resolves on many issues, such as work hours, quality control, and site access and materials storage.

Thereafter, groundbreaking is done at the site. This is then followed by site excavation, concrete pouring, installation of utilities, etc. The project manager and inspectors check each phase to ascertain that it was done correctly. The commercial construction stage is deemed to have been completed once no more construction work is necessary.

The Post-Construction Phase

The experts at Headwaters Construction, Inc., explain that the post-construction phase of a commercial construction project (tilt-up construction, for example) has several things that are done before building occupants can move in. For instance, replacing a damaged lock on one of the doors, touching up the paint in one room, or even installing an appliance.

Once all the appliances, fittings and other items needed by the occupants have been put in place, the architect responsible for the construction project will proceed to issue a document called a “certificate of substantial completion.” When this certificate is issued, the commercial building will undergo a final inspection by the city’s building official.

Now that you have a general idea about the different stages of a commercial construction project, it is time for you to contact Headwaters Construction, Inc. so that we can discuss your commercial construction project. Visit our projects to learn more about our recent work. 

Recommended Posts