Construction has two different types: residential and commercial. While the two have many similarities, they also are very different from one another. Understanding their differences can help you choose the right contractor for your project.
What falls under the category of commercial construction is a wide range of things such as large corporate buildings, bridges, and skyscrapers. Commercial construction has a very intricate nature and therefore requires highly skilled and experienced workers. This allows for multitasking around the job site.
Many commercial construction companies operate in multiple states, some even in multiple countries. At any given moment, there are multiple projects being worked on which requires the need for multiple managers to handle all the different communication with architects and engineers.
The equipment needed for commercial construction is much larger and comes with a higher price tag than that of the equipment used in residential construction. Most of the heavy equipment also requires a skilled, licensed professional to operate it.
Residential construction has a much lower project size. Typical projects that are categorized as residential are renovating a room in a home such as a kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom; add-ons to a building such as a deck, office, or garage; and small fixer uppers like new door structures, new windows, or replacing flooring. All of these types of jobs still require someone with professional experience, the job is just on a smaller scale.
Independent contractors typically either work alone or with up to two other members. If schedules start to fill up, they will subcontract the work out to another trusted contractor in the area, but keep the project under their name. If the job requires a special skill such as plumbing or electric, the contractor may hire another independent contractor that is specialized in that area of work.
All contractors, whether residential or commercial, must have an up-to-date license. It’s the responsibility of the one hiring the contractor to look into that as well as ask for references. A great place to start is at the Better Business Bureau as they keep a record of any complaints that have been filed against the contractor.
Joshua McAlees describes the differences between commercial and residential contracting.