What is commercial construction?
Construction by definition is the building of something, in general use the term is used to describe the erecting of a building or other permanent structure, from a house to a skyscraper. However, commercial construction is used to describe construction for lease or sale in the private sector, that is the erecting or alteration of a structure that is used to provide goods or services to customers. this could be as simple as outfitting a new shop or rebranding an office all the way up to building a manufacturing plant or retail centre. Commercial construction services involve more than just building business premises though, encompassing design, maintenance, facilities management and a host of other elements.
Leaving aside large scale commercial construction, that is literally ‘from the ground up’ construction of large new premises where none currently exist, we will discuss here what commercial construction means on the small and medium scale. The best way to describe this is by means of an example, in this case an office refurbishment, or fit out, to demonstrate the different elements of this field:
Small scale commercial construction
Also known as light commercial construction, this usually involves modifying or rebranding the interior of an existing structure for new use. This could be when starting a new business where the location of the premises is ideal but the office space itself is not entirely suitable or fit for purpose. Alternatively, a smaller business could be rebranding or shifting focus in the services it provides and need to change the flow of work within the office based on a new system of interaction between departments or individuals.
Medium scale commercial construction
Due to the sheer volume of traffic through an office on a daily basis and general wear and tear, periodically all will need repairs. Perhaps the workforce has expanded after a successful period of growth or the business focus has widened, requiring new departments. In these cases the whole office may need to be remodelled to maximise the space available or even expanded to provide extra space. Medium scale projects are those requiring actual structural alteration or expansion of the workplace and while expensive can still be a more cost effective solution than moving premises.
In both of these cases, the alteration and refurbishment is the key matter at hand but it can be a perfect time to employ other elements of commercial construction to guarantee all aspects of the business are as efficient and well regulated as possible. Commercial construction companies understand that the key to success lies in communication and collaboration with their client and will liaise closely through all stages of a refurbishment from design to completion. This is the perfect opportunity for the client to approach them about other ways they can benefit the business.
- Reactive maintenance – Although repairs should be dealt with as soon as a problem arises, minor damage is easily overlooked but can lead to bigger problems in the future. As part of a refurbishment any other structural repairs or maintenance, whether just blocked gutters or damage to roofing that could lead to water damage, or even minor structural damage to the exterior of the premises can also be dealt with, leaving the entire building safe and sound on completion. This will also prevent existing issues causing damage to the refurbished areas themselves.
- Planned maintenance – After any existing maintenance issues have been dealt with, a system of planned maintenance can be implemented alongside the refurbishment. The alteration of the working space in the office will highlight any areas such as heating, air conditioning and electrical systems that will be in need of regular maintenance in the future. Any reactive maintenance already carried out could also pinpoint areas of concern that should be regularly inspected to avoid similar repairs. A comprehensive system can then be designed and implemented to ensure the new workspace will function as efficiently as possible and need minimal repairs, extending the life of the refurbishment and ensuring a safer workplace.
- Facilities management – As with planned maintenance, an office refurbishment gives the client an opportunity to reassess their facilities management systems. Rather than use a separate facilities management company, if the commercial construction company being used can provide this service it makes sense to take this opportunity to build an integrated system that not only improves the quality of life of the workforce but boosts productivity of the company itself. With the relatively minor daily issues such as cleaning, parking and security dealt with, the company will be more streamlined and efficient and management can dedicate themselves to the running of the business itself.
- Fire compartmentation – Compartmentation is the system of dividing a building into separate cells to prevent the spread of fire, usually by means of fire doors and fire safe walls. In smaller or older buildings there may only be one means of escape, for example an enclosed staircase or corridor and it is vital that this is protected to prevent fire spreading into the escape route. In the case of a refurbishment that expands the footprint of the office, compartmentation must be built in and any routes of escape similarly protected. Legal requirements in this area are extremely strict and the penalties for non compliance can be severe.
As seen in the example above, there is much more to commercial construction than just structural building and repairs. In fact, commercial construction is based more on the construction of a safe and efficient workplace through a combination of physical and organisational factors. However well designed the office, without the correct management systems it will never function at its best.
At JST Construction we offer all the above services and more to a range of domestic and commercial clients and pride ourselves on being one of the most respected and professional commercial construction companies in the North West and North Wales. We are a family run business based in Cheshire who believe first and foremost in client satisfaction and guarantee prompt professional service from our fully accredited, expert staff. If you have any questions about the services we provide or how we can help you with any project, large or small, contact us today and we will be pleased to help.
Telephone: 0151 355 9232