Commercial Construction Process

04/18/2014   by Hammers Construction

In order for a construction company to bid on a project, very specific details relating to the methods and materials must be given to avoid any ambiguity and to make an accurate comparison of bids.


Commercial Construction Process Infographic

Comercial Construction process


1) Planning and Development

The first stage of a construction project is the planning and development stage. This stage includes; the identification of the location, pre-design of the building or facility and have the architect and general contractor meet and get to know each other.


Construction Planning

2) Design/Build

The design stage contains a lot of steps:

Programming and feasibility, schematic design, design development, bidding and contract documents.

More and more architects are seeing contractor’s involvement within the design phase. The industry has coined the term ‘Design-Assist’ when defining the relationship between the architect and the contractor at early stages of design. Having the team in place early allows cost estimating to follow the design process.

This method not only provides the owner and architect with information in regards to the current market pricing, it also facilitates timely decisions. It also can strengthen the overall construction document package and detailing because it opens the lines of communication between the team early. It is the responsibility of the design team to ensure that the design meets all building codes and regulations.

It is during the design stage that the bidding process takes place. All commercial construction projects are required to have the construction bid template. Without this it will be difficult to establish the overall cost of a project. Construction project bids are the basis of where many commercial construction companies are hired to serve as the primary contractor of the project.

Development of the project with the entire team involved can translate to smoother building construction.

  • Programming and Feasibility
    Developing a building program can help business owners understand space and functional needs as well as overall building flexibility. Programming efforts are usually facilitated by an architect. At the completion of the programming phase, a general building size will be defined, number of rooms, how the space will be used, and who will be using the space. The focus should then turn to site requirements and desired amenities. Site access, building orientation, utility connections and development covenants are just a few on the list of many that need to be considered in order to deem a site feasible. Size and location are key elements that can make the best of buildings fail in their function, it is important to understand building needs from the start.
  • Schematic Design
    Schematic designs are sketches used to identify spaces, shapes, and patterns. Materials, sizes, colors, and textures must be considered in the sketches. You must consider what your company represents and the image it wants to display when building.
  • Design development
    This step requires research and investigation into what materials and equipment will be used as well as their cost.
  • Contract Documents
    The Contract documents are the final drawings and specifications of the construction project. They are used by contractors to determine their bid while builders use them for the construction process. Contract documents can also be called working drawings. Contracts establish the costs and timeline for each stage of the construction project and prevent cost increases from vendors and contractors throughout the building process

3) Pre-Construction

The pre-construction stage involves the preparation of the materials list and sends these lists out to different contractors and vendors for quotes. Most construction project managers get three or more quotes on the same materials to establish a budget analysis and determine the best contractor or vendor to use. Working on contracts with each contractor and vendor and preparing, receiving all the necessary building permits and insurance requirements is another part of this stage of the commercial construction project.

4The pre-construction stage begins when the owner gives a notice to proceed to the contractor that they have chosen through the bidding process. A notice to proceed is when the owner gives permission to the contractor to begin their work on the project. The first step is to assign the project team, which includes the project manager (PM), contract administrator, superintendent, and field engineer.

  • Project manager: The project manager is in charge of the project team.
  • Contract administrator: The contract administrator assists the project manager as well as the superintendent with the details of the construction contract.
  • Superintendent: It is the superintendent’s job to make sure everything is on schedule, including flow of materials, deliveries, and equipment They are also in charge of coordinating on-site construction activities

A field engineer is considered an entry-level position and is responsible for paperwork. During the pre-construction stage, a site investigation must take place. A site investigation takes place to discover if any steps need to be implemented on the job site. This is in order to get the site ready before the actual construction begins. This also includes any unforeseen conditions such as historical artifacts or environmental problems. A soil test must be done to determine if the soil is in good condition to be built upon.

4) Procurement

The procurement stage is when labor, materials and equipment needed to complete the construction project are purchased. This can be done by the general contractor if the company does all their own construction work. If the company does not do their own work, they obtain it through subcontractors. Subcontractors are contractors who specialize in one particular aspect of the construction work such as concrete, melding, glass, Subcontractors are hired the same way a general contractor would be, which is through the bidding. A purchase order is used in various types of businesses. In this case, a purchase order is an agreement between the commercial owner and seller that the products purchased meet the required specifications for the agreed price.

5) Construction phase

The construction phase starts with a preconstruction meeting brought together by the superintendent and the groundbreaking of the land and building. The pre-construction meeting is meant to make decisions dealing with work hours, material storage, quality control, and site access. This stage runs from the preparation of the building site to building completion. Each step of the construction phase is inspected by the appropriate state construction inspectors as well as the project manager. The foundation, plumbing, framing, electrical and other construction inspections are complete once each part of the building process is complete.

6) Post-Construction

Once the construction has been completed, there are specific steps that must be taken to prepare the building for occupancy.

Project punch-out: A project punch-out means that the project must be looked at for any issues before it is considered completely finished. Issues may include replacing a cracked tile on the floor or changing the color of paint. A list is created containing these issues and it is known as a punch list or a snag list. Once all construction is complete, the occupancy phase of a construction project begins. This stage includes the installation of all equipment requiring calibration and furnishings such as furniture, blinds, desks, etc

The architect for the project determines if the building meets every requirement and issues a certificate of substantial completion. This certificate announces the official completion of the project. A final inspection is done by the building official once the certificate of substantial completion has been issued.

Hammers Construction states, when deciding an architect to use, it is better to choose sooner rather than later. Architects can assist as early as the business owner chooses to get them involved. With the ability to provide necessary services ranging from programming, design and construction administration, architects can play a large role throughout a project. It is not always necessary to be a part of the entire process, but when brought on early, architects can begin initial programming studies that eventually lead to overall building size, site studies and conceptual design.

Experts Says
“Architect Should  avoid mistakes like wrong measurements, unrealistic architectural drawings among others make sure you see several samples of work belonging to the architecture you are settling for, assess if you like and are comfortable with the results.” 

An architect’s ability to review and repair the plans mistakes before submittal is a sign of his or her professionalism.  It is best to submit a clean set of plans to the building department and bank.  After all, you don’t want to get approvals for something that you won’t actually build.  An example is a roof pitch that is too low.  Assume the bank approves the plans as is, but the building department won’t because the composition shingles you have displayed on the plans cannot be used at the low pitch outlined on the elevations. The entire building phase will be smoothly accomplished once good communication can be established among everyone involved in the construction project.

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Hammers Construction is a commercial construction company in Colorado Springs with 25 years experience in commercial design-build construction.
Steve Hammers
1411 Woolsey Heights
Colorado Springs
United States
Phone: 719-570-1599 URL of Map