One of the biggest priorities for anyone with a significant building project is remaining within budget, as most individuals and organizations are limited by the amount of money they can afford to spend.
With that in mind, it pays to understand the core factors that affect commercial building construction costs. What are the most important variables to consider when planning your commercial construction project, and how can you tinker with them to help your project come in under budget?
Some clients have a strict commercial construction budget already in place at the start of their commercial project. That’s perfectly okay, as long as you’ve done enough research to understand that your construction budget is reasonable. If you don’t have a strict upper limit yet, or if you’re just trying to get a cost estimate for a commercial construction project, you can work with a construction project manager to navigate the variables and come up with a formal quote.
Whether you’re trying to build something as cheaply as possible or you’re just trying to stay within budget on a complex project, it’s important to understand the most significant commercial building construction costs. These are the variables that play the biggest role in shaping what you ultimately pay:
Pre-construction refers to a phase of planning wherein stakeholders and contractors meet to create a design, approve the layout, make choices on materials, colors, and other details, and talk about potential issues that could arise. This can be a time-consuming phase, and therefore, a somewhat expensive one. If you need to go through several rounds of design before you finalize plans, it’s going to be more expensive than if you settle everything in the first meeting. That said, a construction manager can help you keep pre-construction costs to a minimum.
One of the biggest variables you’ll need to consider is your choice in building materials. Different types of materials have different strengths and weaknesses, with more expensive materials typically offering specific advantages to make up for their high costs. For example, steel frames are typically more expensive than wood, but they also tend to be stronger and more durable. You can save a lot of money by choosing less expensive materials, but be careful—if you skimp too much, it could jeopardize the structural integrity of your project or interfere with your other construction goals.
Labor typically accounts for 40% of a construction project’s budget. The more people you need, and the longer those people have to work, the more your costs are going to rise. This is why more complicated projects that require more specialists are almost always more expensive. Unfortunately, labor costs are a certainty when dealing with large-scale construction. The best you can do is reduce the complexity of the project so you can get it done with fewer people or in less time.
You also need to consider the quality of the construction company and the contractors you’re using. Individuals and organizations in the construction space who have integrity do everything possible to keep their prices low, while some competitors aren’t afraid to overcharge you intentionally. Additionally, contractors and planners who have more knowledge and experience can work more efficiently, reducing the likelihood of mistakes and getting the project done in less time. Even though more experienced contractors are sometimes more expensive when quoting, they can save you money in the long run by doing the job right.
Depending on where you’re building, you may need specific documents in place to legally allow you to build. The cost of filling out and securing a building permit is part of what determines a construction project’s costs. However, this is usually a relatively small, soft cost and doesn’t vary much.
Some of the most important systems of your building are going to include the HVAC system, the electrical wiring, and the plumbing running throughout the interior walls. The complexity of these systems and the materials used to establish them will play a role in determining your final cost.
As you might imagine, the decorations and finishes you include can also influence the overall cost of your construction project. If you want to add more decorative touches, or if you have other specific aesthetic preferences, you’re probably going to pay more than your peers.
No construction contractor likes the prospect of scope creep, but changes to the project can and do happen. The more you try to change things once construction has already begun, the more expenses you’re going to add to the project. Minimize scope creep as much as possible to lower commercial building construction costs.
The timeline for your project can also influence the cost. There are some hard limits to how quickly a construction project can be done; filing paperwork, making the plans, and renting the equipment are all going to take significant time. However, you might be able to rush the project and get it done quicker if you’re willing to spend more money to do it. Hiring more people and spending money on rush fees could be the solution if you’re in a hurry.
Construction planning and project schedules can be complicated, especially if you have a complicated design or a large building to erect. Thankfully, you don’t have to do everything yourself. With the help of a commercial construction company, you’ll get access to authoritative experts in the field so you can better understand the breakdown of costs associated with your project – and make positive changes that allow you to remain within budget without sacrificing quality.
Your choice in a general construction partner plays a massive role in your success during this phase. It’s important to find a partner who takes your budget and your goals seriously and is willing to work with you to put together a better design.
Are you looking for a general construction partner who can help you accurately forecast commercial building construction costs and keep your project under budget? Are you in the preliminary stages of planning your next commercial building? We can help. Contact us for more information today!