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Differences Between Residential and Commercial Construction

by Devendra Kumar on November 06, 2021

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Residential construction and commercial construction have taken a huge portion of the construction industry space in present times. More and more residential building construction is taking place with the increasing population to satisfy the living requirements as well as the growing amenities demand for the mass.

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Residential building construction is done for buildings that are meant to be lived in whereas commercial buildings have much more varied properties that are used for business purposes. Apartments and individual houses can be considered as residential constructions whereas large scale living complexes and privately owned public spaces are examples of commercial constructions. Residential construction includes single family houses, townhouses, condominiums, duplex, etc and commercial construction include hospitals, shopping complexes, office locations, warehouses, etc.

Differences between Residential and Commercial construction

There are lots of significant differences between residential and commercial building construction based upon codes used, building materials, costs, equipment, timelines, etc. These differences have been duly explained below based on the respective functional purposes and requirements.

  1. Cost of Construction and Maintenance: Commercial building construction is much more costly than residential building construction in general. The vast difference in cost of both the types of building is not only because of the regulatory licences and code practices adhered to, and the cost of materials used but also because of the overhead cost, equipment used and number of labourers involved and their skills required. The workers involved in commercial construction may have an upgraded skill set and a completely different hiring pattern that is necessary for this kind of construction. The cost involved in procuring materials for both types of construction and in acquiring and use of different equipment also vary greatly. Residential buildings are usually financed by individuals whereas commercial buildings are generally financed by government firms, rich businessmen, bank sponsored corporations, real estate developers, etc. Commercial building construction cannot be accomplished without an intermediary known as a contractor who can look after the entire project, manage it and even hire subcontractors to perform specific tasks.

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This additional cost is generally unnecessary for residential buildings.Residential buildings are built in accordance with the house owners’ demand whereas  commercial building constructions are built accordingly for the diverse business owners who will be occupying different spaces in the commercial building structure. Residential buildings are designed for a load capacity much less than commercial buildings. Due to the enigmatic nature of a commercial building, the many heavy and costly equipment used and the resultant high budget, commercial building construction and the equipment being used are more often insured against any kind of damage. Residential construction on the other hand do not include these costs because of their low damage risk probability. The maintenance cost required in commercial buildings is also much higher than residential structures.Commercial buildings are preferred due the high ROI on completion and the profitable ventures that can be carried out within it.

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  1. Estimated Time: Commercial building construction are used for business purposes because of which they have to be completed at a faster pace and within a lower time limit in order to generate the desired revenue from the proceeds of business ventures. This is the reason why commercial building construction is completed within less time as compared to residential buildings. There is no hurry in completing a residential building because there is no urgency involved. Due the huge budget involved in commercial building construction, owners direct their contractors to complete the project within a competitive time limit to save on cost of labourers and equipment for a longer period of time. Commercial buildings nowadays are assisted by various semi-automated and automated processes, such as precast components, software tools for design and maintenance purposes, power tools, etc.

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  1. Materials Used: The construction materials used in creating structural components vary hugely for both the residential and commercial building construction process. The properties of materials used for commercial building construction can be stronger and a level up in its durability and strength properties. Heavy steel reinforcement, cement with higher grade and finer sand quality are used in commercial building constructions. Due to the huge amount of money invested by the owner, materials should be inspected and checked for quality as required for the construction project. Precasts are rarely used in construction of residential buildings, but the use of precasts is somewhat inevitable that is adopted in construction of commercial buildings due to time constraint, better structural quality requirement and a much higher footfall in general.

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  2. Equipment Used: Construction of commercial buildings involves the use of sophisticated specialised and heavy equipment due to its large scale and structural complexity. Commercial construction may require heavy equipment like cranes, earthmovers, bulldozers, dumper trucks, etc. During a commercial construction process the surrounding areas are affected by the nuisance caused by noise pollution, waste generated and impact of heavy works going on the construction site whereas in construction of come residential buildings no search nuisance is created and the surrounding neighbours can carry on with their usual. There is rarely any kind of heavy equipment used in the construction of residential buildings and at the most concrete mixers or concrete pumpers may be used.

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  1. Codes and Regulations: Any construction process requires prior permission from the concerned local bodies and a specific set of code that needs to be followed for that particular construction type. The criteria set for getting permit documents to initiate the construction project is usually more strict and time taking due to more regulations that a commercial building construction has to abide by. For almost every aspect of construction involved in building a commercial structure such as materials, structural components, etc, there is specific code that needs to be referred to build up to the designed strength and form. One of the main aspects involved in any construction process is the safety regulations that have been set to safeguard employees and resources. These sets of safety regulations are fewer in number during the construction of residential buildings as compared to commercial building construction due to the fact that the numerous risks involved in construction of commercial buildings are quite high.

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  1. Design Flexibility: Residential building construction can be personalized and designed creatively as per the owners choice whereas any changes in commercial building construction is quite hectic and not preferred due to the vast complexity involved that may result in higher costs and unwanted results. Any design changes in residential building construction can easily be adopted due to its small structure.

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Be it any kind of construction, it has to be managed for timely completion and under a fixed budget. Without proper management any construction project small and large-scaled may go haywire during any stage of the project. To aid contractors and owners in managing construction projects, several softwares have been developed to be used as management tools for construction projects. Powerplay application is one such tool that can perform all functions related to construction management right from managing workers attendance to equipment and material management until the completion of the project. It can be used easily by almost anybody due to its easy and user-friendly UI.