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6 Tips for Planning a Commercial Construction Project

Dynamic businesses and professional organizations with a strong focus on growth and expansion are likely to outgrow their workspace sooner than they might expect. Planning to build larger office space or a new commercial building is part of running a successful enterprise.

If you are considering a new commercial construction project for your business, you have come to the right place. At Corporeal Visions, Inc., we have over 7 years of experience designing, planning, and building spaces for dental offices, healthcare facilities, retail stores, restaurants, and other commercial properties.

Whether you need remodeling or renovation of existing buildings or need a new building construction from the ground up, detailed planning is essential. The best commercial construction companies and experts always pay maximum attention to this vital stage. Our company specializes in all aspects of designing and planning commercial construction projects.

In this blog post, we will explore the important role of planning in commercial construction projects and provide some practical tips and insights to help you get your dream project off to a smooth start.

Successful Commercial Construction Projects Begin with Detailed Planning

In business, no matter how big or small your organization is, two things are invariably in short supply – time and money. If you want to keep a construction project within its allocated budget and completed without any delays, you need to invest resources in solid planning.

Construction, whether it involves residential projects or commercial buildings, is a complex process with a lot of people working together and a lot of things needed to complete a project. Developing modern commercial real estate will typically have the following requirements:

  • Teams of engineers, designers, planners, contractors, and construction management.
  • A diverse array of heavy machinery and skilled operators.
  • Building materials ranging from cement to steel, wood, glass, and more.
  • Compliance with safety regulations, municipal codes, etc.

As you can see, there are many moving parts and a multitude of parties involved in the entire process. Even large commercial construction companies and industry leaders often work with a wide range of other service providers and sub-contractors to get the job done.

With so much complexity, the risk of chaos is significant. Without a clear plan in place, your chances of avoiding cost overruns and delays are limited. Apart from delays in completion and additional expenses, lack of proper planning can also have other consequences, some of them with implications for human safety:

  • Rejection of proposal by the authorities.
  • Increased risk of accidents during construction.
  • Shoddy construction leading to unsafe buildings.
  • Finished spaces that don’t fit the client’s specifications/expectations.

Thankfully, modern commercial construction is a mature and developed industry. Experienced commercial construction companies and contractors follow the highest industry standards and best practices established over decades of testing and experience. There is a logical order that the building professionals follow in order to reduce uncertainties and risk as little as possible.

This entire process starts with planning. You cannot entirely remove uncertainties from any construction project. Unforeseen obstacles and setbacks will come up – but with proper planning and thorough preparation for contingencies, you can minimize the damage done when things go off-script on commercial projects.

The Basic Outline of a Commercial Construction Project

Before we take a closer look at planning tips, we need to give a basic outline of the different phases of a commercial building construction project. Here is a quick list of all the phases involved in logical order, with the various stakeholders you have to include in each phase:

Project Planning & Development

This is the first stage in all commercial projects. The focus here is on outlining the objectives of the project, finding an appropriate location, and creating a budget. In this early stage, the client will work with a team of building designers, architects, and contractors to create the initial blueprints for the project.

With separate independent teams of consultants, coordination can become a bit of a hassle. This is why many businesses prefer to hire independent construction companies that come with in-house teams of architects, designers, engineers, and general construction managers.

Building Design

During the design phase, the client will work closely with a team of architects and designers to share their goals and expectations for the project. Proper communication is essential here. The team will come up with a series of pre-design concepts and schematics.

They will also consult other specialists like civil engineers, mechanical engineers, and electrical engineers from the construction firms to iron out further details about various aspects of the project including:

  • Parking lots and connectivity
  • Electrical wiring and layouts
  • Plumbing, drainage, HVAC systems
  • Structural safety

After these consultations, the final schematics will be presented to the client for approval. Once clearance is received, the plans are given to a commercial builder. Now, it is time for the construction managers and contractors to start their jobs.


Before you can actually begin construction on the chosen site, there are many formalities and paperwork involved. Insurance, building permits, and environmental clearance all have to be obtained – this is the job of a construction manager.

Along with the construction manager, the active team at this stage might include field engineers, surveyors, administrators, and supervisors. This is also the stage where the manager/contractor will receive bids or quotes from other local contractors and vendors for the various building materials and specialized tasks.

Procurement and Construction

Finally, things start gaining momentum in this phase. The raw materials, equipment, and labor are all assembled at the work site in the procurement phase. Contractors start prepping the site with excavations, pilings, laying the foundations, and so on.

After the creation of the basic steel-concrete structure, it is fleshed out with roofing, painting, framing, and other types of interior and exterior work. In the end, cleaning crews remove the rubbish and debris from the site and new building.  

Final Phase

Before handing the commercial building back to the owner/client, the building team will usually conduct a final inspection looking for any issues. Once they are satisfied with the results, the build manager will provide a certificate of completion and other documentation to the client.

At this point, the building is ready for its intended use. The client can now take possession and unveil a shiny new healthcare or dental care facility, freshly renovated restaurant, newly constructed retail store, etc. The commercial property is then opened to the public.

As you can see, a commercial construction project is not a quick task. Even something as small as an office renovation can take the coordinated efforts of multiple teams and dozens of laborers from different vocations.

In many instances, the planning stage may take even longer than the actual construction itself. But any investment made at this stage is worth its weight in gold. Here are 6 ways in which you can improve the planning stage of your commercial construction project.

6 Tips to Help Plan Your Commercial Construction Project

1. Consider All Project Options on the Table

You don’t always have to build something from scratch on an empty lot. Often in business, you can still make do with an existing commercial property. See if a simple renovation or expansion can fulfill the needs of your business. It would save a lot of money.

Of course, there are times when you absolutely need a new location. Maybe the old location is no longer adequate for your business. Or, you may be ready to expand your business to new areas. The important thing here is that you consider all available options first.

2. Find the Right Location

If you are planning to open a new office in another neighborhood/district, spend some time finding the perfect location. For commercial buildings, location can make the difference between a thriving business and a costly mistake.

There are so many factors to take into account when scouting for an appropriate location, we could spend an entire article explaining each in detail. That said, here is a quick look at some of the factors that make a location perfect for your project:

  • It is in a strategic spot and is guaranteed to bring in plenty of new customers.
  • It does not have any local zoning laws preventing commercial buildings or specific business activities.
  • It is well connected and has good transportation options nearby – metro, bus, airport, etc.
  • It does not have any moratoriums or legal disputes.

Most of these aspects are easily discernible with some due diligence and background research. However, before giving the green signal for the commercial construction project, you also have to perform a few other tests. For starters, check if the property has adequate water and sewer line connectivity to handle all your future business needs.

Further, test the soil and surrounding land for any signs of serious chemical contamination. The soil quality also requires further testing by engineers to check for stability. If the soil is weak or prone to liquefaction, piling might be necessary to ensure a stable foundation for your building.  

3. Set a Budget and Arrange Funding

The average cost per square foot of commercial construction in Virginia is between $16 to $20 on the lower end of the scale. If you add premium finish and fittings, it can go as high as $40 or more. Do some local research to get a rough idea about the total cost of the proposed project from the general contracting firm.

Cash flow problems are the most common cause of stalled construction halfway through the project. It is essential that you secure all or most of the required funds well in advance. If you don’t have the cash reserves to cover everything, try to secure a loan at reasonable terms.

At this stage, you should be using the services of an experienced budgeting consultant, financial advisor, or construction management company. Always remember to keep aside some funds above the expected cost of the project. You will probably need these “contingency funds” at some point in the future.

4. Get Appropriate Building Permits and Licenses

This is one of the areas where a commercial building project is much more complicated than a residential project. Local bodies and government agencies have various codes and rules related to building zones, noise pollution, environmental impact, parking, signage, water management, and more.

Getting your building project fully compliant with all these requires several processes:

  • Gaining the approval and relevant permits for construction.
  • Obtaining a relevant license for your business.
  • Passing various onsite inspections throughout the construction process.

For a first-time builder/client, the labyrinth of municipal codes, permits, and other requirements can seem extremely daunting. It’s crucial to get the assistance of an experienced architect, engineer, contractor, and construction manager to safely guide you through the whole process. Here is how it usually works:

  • Site plan – the business owner works closely with the architect and engineer to get the approval of local authorities.
  • Local building permits – this one should be handled mostly by the contractor tasked with building the project.
  • Business license – this is the one task where the owner can take full responsibility without bothering the others.

5. Set a Realistic Timeline

In commercial construction, delays and backorders are an unavoidable part of the job. Owners have to show a mix of patience and discipline. During the planning stage consult all the important stakeholders and create a general timeline for the project.

Architects and engineers can tell you about the delays involved in getting the paperwork done. A general contractor will have critical insights about potential delays in getting labor, building materials, and equipment. You may have to wait for weeks or months at times.

Factor in all these potential delays when creating your timeline. More importantly, you have to communicate the deadline to the contractor, sub-contractors, and any other teams involved in the project.

While it’s fundamental to keep your team appraised and refrain from pushing them too hard. Some of the worst disasters on notable projects in the construction industry happened due to commercial construction companies cutting corners, often at the behest of owners, to avoid costly delays.

6. Assemble an Experienced Team

This tip is mentioned as the last point in the list for a reason. As you have undoubtedly realized, a commercial construction project is a specialized undertaking. You need many talented people with different professional qualifications to guide the project to a successful conclusion.

For starters, you will need an experienced architecture and design team if you want to create an office building/retail center/dental or healthcare office/restaurant that is in perfect sync with your brand identity. Experienced teams can create a practical blueprint that finds a stable balance between your aesthetic choices and practicality.

Apart from architects, a commercial building project also requires the expertise and experience of designers, engineers, and general local contractors. Usually, you will also require scores of vendors and sub-contractors. But if you have a reasonably experienced and competent construction manager or construction management committee, they can act as the link between you and vendors/local contractors.

Having all these people on board early can make the other steps explained in the previous sections much easier to handle. And while you can hire them separately, hiring a commercial construction company is often a more convenient solution.

Experienced commercial construction companies provide the complete package, handling everything from early planning to design and all the way through construction. Corporeal Visions is a trusted commercial construction company.

How Corporeal Visions Can Help You Design, Bid, and Build Your Commercial Project

Located just 135 miles away from Washington, D.C., Virginia has a vibrant economy and a thriving commercial construction ecosystem. In particular, the northern Virginia market, located across Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William Counties, has experienced strong economic growth in recent years.

Even after the debilitating effects of recent years, the region is experiencing strong growth in the commercial real estate sector. Corporeal Visions, Inc. (CVI) has been designing and constructing commercial spaces for businesses in the region for several years.

Over the years, we have steadily expanded from dental clinic design and construction to general commercial buildings, including retail spaces and restaurants. When you connect with us for your commercial real estate projects, you can expect the following things:

A Customer-Oriented Approach

Here at CVI, we are still a family-owned and operated commercial construction company. Our rapid growth and expansion in a relatively short period was made possible by our focus on highly personalized customer service and new designing and building technology. Our team of design experts will work closely with you through the critical early planning stages. As a result, you get building designs that are in perfect sync with your requirements and expectations.

Flexible Assistance All Along the Project Pipeline

As a general construction contractor specializing in commercial real estate projects, we provide a plethora of services. If you want assistance with just the design and project blueprints, we can craft those and deliver a plan that is ready for permitting.

You can either pick a third-party contractor through open bidding or rely on our general contractors – the choice is always yours. If you decide to utilize our construction team, we will handle all major aspects while keeping you constantly in the loop via client logs and critical updates.

Experience Across Sectors and States

Although CVI started out as specialists in dental office design, we have widened our skill sets to include other segments of commercial real estate development. Our clients are spread across Virginia, the wider Washington metropolitan area,  and other states like Florida.

We can build dental clinics, retail stores, corporate office spaces, restaurants, and other business locations like gyms and spas. Apart from new, ground-up construction, we have experience in renovations, remodeling and expansion projects, demolition, and other kinds of on-site work.

Cutting-Edge AR Technology

Communication is crucial for a successful design partnership. While architects in the past have relied on scale models, sketches, and blueprints to show their clients how the building will look post-construction, we offer something far more advanced.

Using advanced augmented reality (AR) technologies, you can now experience first-hand the look and feel of your designs even before a single brick has been laid. Through the AR holographic technology, you can take a virtual walking tour of the proposed building and even experiment with different finishes, change the position of walls, and make other adjustments to tweak the design to your satisfaction.

High-Quality Construction Design and Planning for Your Project

At Corporeal Visions, we provide the building design as well as the drawings required for permitting. Once the plan is approved, you have a choice to work with our general contractors or get other contractors to bid on your project.

If you make a decision to work with our team, we will closely track the building process to help you achieve your construction goals.

When you want a top-rated construction planning expert for your upcoming business construction project, schedule a consultation with our team or contact us to obtain a competitive quote.

If you have questions, concerns, or you’re ready to begin the process, we can’t wait to hear from you. Contact us today via phone or online.

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