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The Difference Between Civil and Commercial Construction

Looking at construction sites you wouldn’t think there would be much of a difference. Building is building, right?

You might be surprised to learn that the construction world is broken up into various categories, particularly civil and commercial. While these have similarities, they are quite different. Below you’ll discover more about their variations and what projects they’re designed for.

What’s Civil Construction?

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Civil construction focuses on designing and building land or sea infrastructure. It’s meant to help society function as a whole. While it partners with commercial construction, civil construction looks at how to quicken the building process safely and easily. In most cases, civil construction will build things such as:

  • Airports
  • Bridges
  • Roads
  • Canals
  • Landfill caps

This option typically works with governmental agencies to build structures. While both civil and commercial construction requires planning, civil options usually need a bit more time and must research and create a plan to be approved by local government authorities before it begins.

However, because this tends to work with massive and intricate jobs, civil construction tasks can take years to complete and be extremely expensive if unexpected problems arise or if new additions are necessary.

What Does a Civil Engineer Do?

One of the first people that a civil construction job goes through is a civil engineer. They’ll design a blueprint of the project and how it fits into the surrounding infrastructure. Many times, a civil engineer will specialize in a specific construction aspect, like geotechnical, environmental, and transportation.

Civil Construction Jobs

There are numerous jobs that civil construction requires. These include:

  • Bridge constructors
  • Concreters
  • Pipe layers
  • Scaffolders
  • Surveyors

How Civil Construction Projects are Planned

To begin, a feasibility study will first be done. This gives a general idea of how to build on the grounds and what problems might occur during it. The civil engineer will then create a 3D conceptual design based on this information while adding the necessary data for future utilities, stormwater removal, and potential erosion. Once this is approved, the project will start.

What’s Commercial Construction?

This type involves buying land and then leasing it for private sector businesses, such as shopping centers or hospitals. It will also help renovate old buildings for new commercial purposes. Most of the time, this construction form works with small plots rather than large-scale projects because it requires more in-depth work which can take a significant amount of time to complete.

Unlike civil construction, it not only focuses on a project’s structure, but other aspects that go into making it a successful place, such as HVAC services and sidewalk/parking lot paving. In fact, many commercial construction agencies rely on paving companies to apply smooth asphalt layers not only to enhance the structure’s looks but to make it a safe space for people to move. A commercial paving company in Fairfield, CA can help not only initially pave an area, but to maintain it over the years. This way, you can protect yourself from potential lawsuits and meet the necessary state regulations.

Because it works with commercial businesses, construction agencies need to ensure that their building estimates are accurate and typically rely on value engineering which devises a plan on how to construct a structure quickly and safely. Often, if a project needs to be completed immediately, it will fall under the commercial construction area. On average, a commercial project will take about 4-6 months to complete.

What Does a Project Engineer Do?

Commercial construction uses the insight of a project engineer to get work done. While project engineers and civil engineers share a few similar requirements, project engineers work on a task from start to finish. Project engineers do focus on some technical aspects, but mainly direct their attention to project maintenance and scheduling.

Commercial Construction Jobs

Because this option focuses not only on a structure’s exterior but interior, it includes a handful of other jobs civil construction doesn’t need. Some include:

  • Electricians
  • HVAC technicians
  • Plumbers
  • Floor installers

How Commercial Construction Projects are Planned

Commercial construction projects follow many similar steps to civil construction planning, but they aren’t as intricate. First, someone must review the grounds, and then an engineer will create a conceptual design. Because commercial tasks don’t usually work one-on-one with governmental agencies, the engineer will also confirm that the plans match local, state, and federal construction laws as well as those that might be necessary for the type of industry the building will be made for. Finally, after the correct permits and licenses are obtained, the work will begin.

While civil and commercial construction might seem alike, there are stark differences. Whether it’s the building speed or budget, it’s crucial to pay attention to their variations. By keeping this information in mind, you can easily determine which is right for your job.

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