During the current economic climate some commercial construction may have slowed down; however, it’s a good time to prepare if you are considering a commercial build in the near future. Planning ahead is important, so taking the time to prepare now is a proactive step for your future build plans. Let’s look at five important steps to consider when building commercial properties.


  1. Budget for the unexpected
  2. Obtain financing & permits early
  3. Energy efficiency & LEED
  4. Reduce maintenance requirements
  5. Healthy Indoor Environmental Quality


Budget for the unexpected. Most entrepreneurs do not have an unlimited budget. As a result, setting a budget is the logical first step. Start with direct costs that include heavy equipment, materials and labor. You will have preconstruction costs, construction organization costs, and operation costs. Preconstruction will include site surveys and site prep, but your specific site could have additional needs. On average, a healthy budget for a single story commercial space begins at around $275 per square foot. This is dependent on many factors including location and finishes. The idea is to design frugally with the understanding that there will be unexpected issues that come up.


Obtain financing & permits early. There are things you can do to make this process go smoothly. When securing financing and permits, you’re the expert on your build. Know every detail of your build, know every detail about the applicable laws and requirements, and go into the process over prepared. Communicate directly and maintain organization so that when questions arise in the process, you can address them without hesitation. It’s also good to consider professionals in the process so that you can ask questions and get the help needed. Financing and permits impact the speed of the process, so having information and help is important.


Energy efficiency & LEED. Depending on your budget and applicable laws, it’s important to make your building energy efficient. Considering LEED certification, or using LEED guidelines, can make this easier for you. The US Green Building Council provides excellent resources on constructing an energy efficient space. Energy efficiency is necessary because it helps with operational costs as well as having a smaller negative impact on the environment. While some levels of LEED certification may be cost prohibitive depending on budget, many of the steps to certification are easy to implement.


Reduce maintenance requirements. As you plan your commercial space, it’s important to consider the maintenance on the interior and exterior property. Consider the use of the space and the volume of traffic as you space plan in order to create a low maintenance or maintenance efficient space. Incorporating natural light with windows reduces the amount of artificial light needed in a space, but also introduces the need for window cleaning. Open, multi-purpose space is useful for tenants addressing the need for functionality in a building and less wasted space. Look for ways to make functional also aesthetically appealing.


Healthy indoor environmental quality. Pay attention to indoor environmental quality. Budget allocated to the ventilation and HVAC system is a solid investment. This is not an area to cut corners. Look for options that purify the air and run efficiently. Stick to a strict maintenance schedule in order to keep your system running efficiently.


While this list is not exhaustive, it’s a good starting point. If you’re a new entrepreneur looking to build a commercial space, we hope this lists provides a great place for you to get your feet wet.


At Weaver Realty, we partner with business owners and entrepreneurs to find solutions to hurdles in the commercial building process. We look forward to working with you on your next commercial build. Call us today at 904-733-0039 to get started.