Key Takeaways

Differences between contractors:
  • Project Scope: Commercial contractors handle larger, more complex projects than residential ones.
  • Materials and Equipment: Commercial projects often use more specialized materials and equipment.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Commercial construction requires navigating more permits and inspections.
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The Differences between Residential and Commercial General Contractors

When it comes to construction work, there are two main types of contractors: residential and commercial. Both types of contractors have their own unique set of skills, expertise, and requirements. Typically, companies will specialize in either residential or commercial construction, so knowing the differences between these two types of contractors can help you make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the right one for your project.

This article will discuss the differences between residential and commercial general contractors regarding their services, pricing structure, and more. Let’s dive in!

What Is A Residential General Contractor?

A residential general contractor is a professional who takes on the task of renovating or constructing residential buildings. They work with clients, architects, engineers, and subcontractors to ensure the project is completed within budget, on time, and according to the client’s specifications.

Residential buildings include:

  • Single-family homes
  • Townhouses
  • Duplexes and triplexes
  • Condos

The residential general contractor is responsible for obtaining permits, sourcing materials, hiring and supervising subcontractors, managing the construction schedule, and ensuring compliance with building codes and safety regulations.

What Is A Commercial General Contractor?

A commercial general contractor is an essential player in the world of commercial construction. They oversee all phases of a building project, from pre-construction planning to final walkthroughs. Commercial general contractors must be knowledgeable in a wide range of construction tasks, including electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and HVAC systems. They must also be able to manage budgets, schedules, and bids from subcontractors.

Commercial properties include:

  • Storage units
  • Office buildings
  • Retail spaces
  • Multifamily housing
  • Land investments

Hiring a commercial general contractor ensures that your building project will be completed on time, within budget, and to your exact specifications. Whether building a new office building or renovating an existing space, a commercial general contractor is your go-to expert for a successful construction project.

The Primary Differences Between Residential General Contractors vs. Commercial General Contractors

While we’ve defined the general differences between the two types of contractors, there are key distinctions between residential and commercial general contractors in other factors such as budget, permits, equipment, and more.

Budget Of The Project

The budget of the project will typically be much higher for commercial projects than it is for residential ones. Commercial projects generally require more specialized labor, materials, and equipment. Commercial contracts can range from five figures to millions of dollars, depending on the scope of the project. In contrast, residential contracts are typically much smaller, ranging from $5,000 to a few hundred thousand dollars.

Types Of Materials

The materials used will also differ between residential and commercial projects. While residential homes are typically built using wood framing, commercial buildings often require more specialized materials such as steel, concrete, and masonry. Additionally, the amount of materials will vary as well. For example, homes typically have only one entrance and one exit. However, commercial buildings may have multiple entrances and exits, requiring more materials and labor for completion.

Scope Of The Project

Commercial projects are typically more complicated and require more extensive planning. For example, a commercial project may involve remodeling an entire office building or constructing a new retail space. Furthermore, additional features, such as parking lots and landscaping, may not be required in residential projects. Since commercial projects are more extensive, they often take longer to complete and require more skilled labor.

Permits Needed

Not only are commercial projects more expensive and complicated, but they also require a greater number of permits. These permits may include zoning, building, plumbing, electrical, and other related permits. Additionally, commercial projects may require additional inspections that residential projects don’t need. So, while the average homeowner may be able to complete a project without the need for permits or may be able to obtain the permit on their own, commercial projects typically require a licensed professional to ensure that all permits are obtained and followed.

Length Of Time

The time to complete a project varies between residential and commercial general contractors. Residential projects are usually completed within a few weeks or months, while commercial projects can take anywhere from 6 months to a few years, depending on the project. Commercial projects usually involve multiple subcontractors, larger budgets, and more complicated processes, such as obtaining permits or inspections.

Equipment Used

Similarly, the equipment used for residential and commercial projects also varies. While a homeowner may be able to complete a project with basic tools, commercial projects require more specialized machinery, such as cranes or heavy-duty lifts. Additionally, since commercial construction involves significant amounts of concrete, masonry, and steel, it requires heavier equipment than typically used in residential construction.

Location Differences

Lastly, there is a difference in the locations of residential and commercial general contractors. Residential contractors typically have to work in a location around other residential buildings, which means they must be aware of the restrictions and regulations put in place by local governments or HOAs.

On the other hand, commercial contractors may need to work in a variety of locations, such as office parks, industrial complexes, or retail stores. This means they must be familiar with different zoning laws and have specialized equipment for working in each location. Additionally, there may be different types of restrictions on the times of the day or days of the week that the contractors can work since they’re usually not located near residential areas.

Wrapping It Up

When selecting a general contractor for your residential or commercial project, it’s essential to know their differences. Residential and commercial projects have unique requirements that must be addressed for the job to be completed successfully. Be sure to consider all the factors outlined above when choosing a contractor for your next construction project. With the right contractor, you can rest assured that the job will be done right the first time.

At Dennis Banks Construction, we’re a full-service commercial general contractor with extensive experience in all facets of construction. From office spaces to large industrial projects, we have the expertise and resources to complete your job on time and within budget. Contact us today for more information!