Tips for building sustainable commercial properties


Attracted by the profitable potential of commercial properties, many entrepreneurs decide to embark on a complex project and invest in constructing the property themselves. As promising as this initiative may be, it’s important to keep in mind that erecting a building is much more complicated than buying an existing one. There are many steps to follow, teams of supervise, decisions to make and failing to treat the smallest detail with the attention it deserves can lead to the failure of the entire project. A commercial building that’s not built properly built will not attract anyone and you will not get a return on your investment. Therefore, you should be patient, work by the books and be extra careful on who and how constructs your building. If this is your first time doing such a project, then these tips will give you more insights into the intricate world of commercial property construction.

Do not neglect building permits

No matter where you decide to build, you will need several permits to do so. Each city has local rules and regulations that constructors have to comply with. Obtaining these permits is the first and most important step and starting to building without them is simply not an option. Not only is it illegal and will make you liable for fines and prosecution, but it’s also risky from a business standpoint, because no respectable company wants to rent offices in a building that doesn’t have building permits. Needless to say, your failure to obtain a building permit will slow down a future sale of the property. The only projects that do not need a permit are the ones involving general repairs, maintenance works and like-for-like replacements. For anything else, even installing new lights in bathrooms, a permit is required.

Remember to conduct thorough tests

When setting out to build a commercial building, you want to make sure it is as safe and efficient as possible. Otherwise, you could have a number of financial issues in the future and even find it difficult to get offers. To avoid unpleasant surprises, you should conduct a series of tests on the property and find out exactly what you are working with. Because there is no actual building to test yet, you will start by focusing on the quality of the terrain, because this can influence the layout of the building. Two of the most important tests that STS suggests to conduct are: 

  • CBR testing. CBR stands for California Bearing Ratio and it is an on-site test aimed to determine the mechanical strength of the pavement or the road. In other words, it establishes just how much pressure is required to penetrate the soil. CBR testing is one of the most important processes in the construction industry and it must be done prior to erecting the building. Nevertheless, CBR testing is limited to soils that have a maximum of 20mm particle size. Anything that exceeds this size falls into the category of plate load testing, which is an equally important procedure.
  • Plate load testing is similar to CBR testing in that it determines the bearing capacity of the soil, but it is done on soils with a particle size bigger than 20mm, using different tools and machinery. A steel plate is placed at the foundation level and its load is slowly increased until the plate starts to sag. The results are read and interpreted by professionals and the architect will inform you if they affect your initial plans.

Trust your architect

Constructing a commercial building is not cheap, but the services of a designer/architect aren’t where you should cut costs. No matter how professional, a construction company does not have the skills and expertise of an architect. Also, no matter how much you invest in materials and location, the building will fail if it has design flaws. Before finding a construction company, find an architect. Tell them your plans, what exactly you want to achieve. While constructors only execute, architects advise you. They tell if your idea is actually doable and what you have to do in order to bring your vision to reality. Most importantly, they teach you how to maximise space and how to avoid structural flaws. If you feel that your architect or designer is not giving you good advice, then hire someone else, but do not construct a commercial building without one. In addition, the bigger the building, the more it is recommended to hire an entire team.

Don’t rush when hiring a contractor

When starting the selection process for a commercial construction company, price should be at the bottom of the list. What matters more is prestige, punctuality and dependability. Working with a low-cost company means taking a huge risk, so you should be quite cautions when presented with bargains. What you need is a company with a stellar track record, with references from designers and banks. They will be use quality materials that pass the test of time and build a structure that not only looks good, but also lasts.

When analysing company portfolios, make sure you look at how many buildings they have made that are similar to yours. Do not forget about energy efficiency either. Quality standards in the construction industry have changed dramatically in the past decade and eco-friendly trends are on the rise. Your contractor of choice should know how to install solar panels, use energy saving materials and avoid waste as much as possible.

Avoid last minute additions

It is quite common for entrepreneurs to demand some subtle changes once the building process begins, without asking the architect. Minor as some changes and additions may seem, they might lower the efficiency of the building considerably. Details that were not in the initial plans should not be implemented with requesting professional help, because you could be making more harm than good. So, don’t make changes “while you’re there…” and stick to the plans as much as possible to avoid damage to the property and an increase in budget.