Commercial construction has always been a unique segment in the construction industry. Most industry insiders know this, but some clients find it challenging to understand.
Most clients become even more confused when the discussion turns to light construction versus heavy construction. Some make funny assumptions that can potentially derail an important conversation about a project.
Clients must understand what they want and communicate fluidly with contractors. This helps to smooth the process of planning, designing, and executing construction projects.
Admittedly, light commercial construction is difficult to define. Here, we will discuss the topic in simple terms to make understanding easier for anyone involved in projects that require light construction.
How is Light Commercial Construction Defined?
Light commercial construction can best be described as small-scale construction projects, such as offices, restaurants, small medical facilities, banks, free-standing retail centers, warehouses, and small manufacturing centers.
Light commercial construction projects mostly involve buildings that are less than four stories and cover about 25,000 square feet or less.
While some light commercial constructions are complete build-outs of the projects, others are renovations and modifications to update the look of the building. In many places in the United States, renovations and retrofits in light commercial structures are becoming popular.
Regardless of the design or nature of a light commercial construction project, clients want the best from their contractors. Their ability to state what they want and dutifully follow the processes will determine the success of the project.
What Is the Difference Between Light and Heavy Construction?
There is a vast difference between light and heavy construction. While light constructions involve small commercial properties, heavy construction is used to describe big and complex projects that start from the ground up. Examples of heavy construction projects include highways, stadiums, tunnels, telecommunications, and similar city or government projects.
The construction of complex, high-rise buildings and skyscrapers is largely classified as heavy construction, too. Every heavy construction starts from the ground up. Extensive remodeling, expansion, and restructuring of commercial buildings can be classified as medium-scale construction.
There are specific vital areas where light and heavy constructions differ significantly. They include:
- Supporting infrastructure
- Type of equipment needed
- Work pace timelines
- General oversight
What Is Light Commercial Zoning?
Light commercial zoning means regulating where light commercial buildings can be constructed on allocated portions, and how they will be constructed. Many cities and towns regulate the location of shops and services for the convenience of residents.
The purpose of light commercial zoning is to ensure that these notable commercial buildings are close enough to the residents, yet not interfering in their daily lives in any negative way. There are different regulations guiding the use of light commercial zones. Potential investors or builders must respect height regulations, yard regulations, intensity of use regulations, and other additional regulations.
Light Commercial Construction Standards
There are construction standards that builders and property owners must meet when embarking on light commercial construction. These mostly present in the form of residential and light commercial construction standards.
Ideally, construction standards involve building codes, professional associations, and industry publications. The idea is to have a standard that everyone embarking on the same type of construction project must comply with.
Light commercial construction standards establish an acceptable quality of workmanship, resolve disputes to avoid litigation, train personnel with correct installation procedures, and answer some of the most critical questions clients may have about their projects.
The Importance of Communication in Light Commercial Construction
Some light commercial construction projects are prone to problems due to poor communication between clients and contractors. This is more common in renovation and modification projects. Clients and contractors need to work closely and communicate effectively until the project is completed and everyone is satisfied.
Tips To Handle a Light Commercial Construction Project
Clients commissioning a light commercial construction can improve their chances of getting what they want by following these tips:
1. Hire a Reputable Construction Company
It is important to get a reputable general contractor involved in the project from the moment when the viability of the project is decided. With the right construction company performing the work, it will be more difficult for things to go wrong.
2. Understand Specific Needs and Communicate With Contractors
Communication is critical in all construction projects. It is even more important in projects that are prone to mistakes, such as renovations and remodeling for commercial properties. Clients must clearly express their expectations and keep communicating with the contractor until the project is completed.
3. Plan and Budget Properly Before Project Kickoff
A proper plan can significantly minimize the number of errors and complications that can happen during project execution. Plan and budget properly before starting any project. Of course, the project’s planning phase must involve the project owner, the designer, and the contractor.
4. Ensure That All Requirements Are Met
There are guidelines and light commercial standards that clients and builders must adhere to. During the planning phase, those involved in the project must consult standards for light commercial construction and other important documents to ensure that the planned project meets all requirements.
5. Manage and Organize Documents with Care
Clients must handle documentation properly too. They need to organize and manage every document carefully to avoid problems and complications, both when the project is underway and after construction is complete.
6. Be Proactive
Unexpected eventualities happen throughout a construction project. This type of problem can negatively impact construction schedules. Clients and contractors should plan to minimize the risk of potential major setbacks for the light construction project.
7. Allow the Experts Do Their Work
Clients are allowed to come in from time to time to see how their projects are going, but they must refrain from dictating to the contractors. It is best for project owners to allow contractors and those they’ve brought to the job site to do their jobs.
8. Test Rigorously Before Opening to the Public
After a light commercial construction project, it is important to test thoroughly to ensure that the property is in order and ready to be occupied. A few changes may need to be made before the users of the property are cleared to come in.
Exceptional Light Commercial Construction Is Available and Affordable
Clients must take their light commercial construction projects seriously, regardless of the size or nature of the project. One of the best ways to get the task done with little or no headache is to hire a reputable company involved in light commercial construction services.
At Stovall Construction, we handle light commercial construction in a manner that guarantees client satisfaction at the end of the project.
Contact us today to discuss the details of your light construction project.