Although 2020 was a grim year for commercial real estate and business in general, 2022 shows promise. Forecasters predict that the US economy will lead the charge to global recovery, far outstripping the world average of 4.9 % growth in 2022. Are you one of the business owners who plan to get in on the action early? It all begins with a well-designed, efficient, and appealing commercial building. Wondering where to get started? These are the major steps in designing commercial buildings and the things to decide on along the way.

Precise Development and Planning Phase

The first step in planning any construction project is finding the ideal location. Location is everything in real estate, but it’s particularly important for commercial buildings.

These are some must-haves when it comes to finding the best spot in town:

  • Easy access for employees and customers
  • Proximity to other buildings
  • Appropriate zoning for your construction
  • Surrounding infrastructure suited to your future business
  • Sufficient fire emergency capabilities
  • Appropriate water and sewer lines for your needs
  • Commercial development zoning

You must also ensure that there’s no moratorium on building on your site. Check whether the soil type means your building will need piles or removal of contaminants.

Lastly, ask a surveyor to produce a boundary survey and elevation certificate for the property.

Your Building Design Budget

You can expect to pay between $16 and $20 per square foot for your commercial building. Plus, you can add another $15 to $20 extra for insulation and other finishes.

Controlling the budget for any large construction project involves epic juggling skills.

If you want to make sure every penny’s accounted for – and you do – hire a financial consultant to help you allocate funds to the best effect.

They’ll go through a list of expenses involved in constructing the building and can help you figure out where you can save money. Remember, you’ll need to keep at least 10% of your total budget in reserve to account for unexpected expenses.

Designing Commercial Buildings Effectively

Work with a commercial design service to come up with modern building design ideas. They can help ensure your building is cost-efficient, sustainable, and complies with current regulations.

Sustainable energy sources and energy-efficient endeavors are a vital part of modern-day building codes. So, make sure you comply with them.

One of the major things to consider when constructing a commercial building is a cool roofing system. These roofs are long-lasting and thermally efficient, so they help cut down your heating and cooling costs too, click for more.

Architectural, Structural, MEP, and Interior Design

Apart from bricks, mortar, and materials, your building’s layout is a major consideration when planning your build.

Anyone can build a standard high-rise building. You want yours to stand out as a paragon of efficiency and aesthetics, too.

Most commercial buildings have several levels and usually house more than one tenant. They may feature numerous offices as well as lower-level storefronts, and storage areas.

An architect and a structural engineer can work with you to determine the most efficient layout for your building.

You’ll also need the following professionals onboard:

  • A mechanical engineer to deal with air-conditioning and plumbing
  • An electrical engineer to design the electrical layout of your project
  • A civil engineer to manage interconnectivity with existing architecture, drainage, and parking

These are the things to bear in mind during the planning phase if you’re building a commercial unit for your own business:

  • Is there enough storage space?
  • Does each department have enough space?
  • Do the walls decrease the efficiency of foot traffic?
  • Are there enough interconnecting paths between departments?

Often, it’s beneficial to include some multipurpose rooms in your design, especially if you have departments that work closely together.

Remember, some employees might need enclosed private spaces to work more effectively, while others work better in open-plan areas.

This helps decrease redundant spaces in your building and better consolidates the available space. Ultimately, this leads to a more straightforward, purposeful layout.

Exterior Finishes

Exterior considerations include everything from paint colors, materials, and energy-efficient extras, like smart glass. The aim is to achieve a sturdy, yet cost-effective envelope for your building.

Once you’re satisfied with your design, and your architect has completed your drawings, you’ll need to deal with all the red tape that goes with any construction.

Pre-Construction Phase Arrangements

Before you can lay the first brick, you must meet several time-consuming requirements.

The first step is getting a building permit by submitting plans to the relevant authorities. The powers that be may counter this with several questions you need to answer before you can proceed.

With the paperwork out of the way, you can go ahead and hire a contractor to start your construction project. It’s vital to choose someone with the appropriate licenses and experience. They should also have the following insurance coverage:

  • Builders risk insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Commercial and contractor general liability insurance

Always ask for at least three cost estimates so can compare materials and warranties before you get started.

Your contractor will deal with setting up a team to complete the job, hiring subcontractors where necessary, and establishing a construction team. They’ll also arrange for the procurement of all the materials and all the services needed to get started with the construction.

Construction of Your Commercial Building

This is the most exciting part of the process, as you watch all your plans and ideas come to fruition. The steps in this process include:

  • Site preparation
  • Laying the foundation
  • Framing, roofing, siding, and HVAC
  • Interior finishes
  • Exterior touches
  • Landscaping

When everything’s complete, your contractor will take you on a tour of your new commercial building to make a note of anything that isn’t quite up to scratch.

After compiling this punch list, you’ll receive a Substantial Completion certificate. That means the building inspector can do the rounds to perform the final inspection.

Back in Business

Designing commercial buildings is a complex and long-winded task. Yet, you’ll end up with an efficient, highly customized building that’s bound to maximize your endeavors in the long run.

Besides, once the commercial property market gets back on its feet, you could sell your building for a tidy profit, or rent it out to another commercial entity.

Would you like some more interesting input about the world of structural engineering and construction? Browse our blog for all the latest news.


In case you have any questions or architectural, Structure, and MEP design requirements for designing commercial buildings, feel free to contact us.