The 7 Requirements Before You Start Commercial Construction

Did you know there are a lot of regulations and legal requirements that must be followed and completed before you’re able to actually start construction? 

If you’re new to construction, this is a good article for you! We’re going to take a look at the steps you need to take in order to create a solid foundation for your newest construction project.

We would also like to note that while each county, city, state, district, etc. may have their own laws and regulations, we are giving some very basic guidelines in this article that should still be able to get you started.

So You Want to Build a Building

When you’ve decided that you’re ready to build something, obviously the first basic step is to find the property that you can build on.

Before buying that property, you’ll need to be sure that what you want to build can actually be built there. 

Be sure that you have an idea of what you want to build and what it will look like. This is normally done by your architect and really starts the process.

Working with a property agent should also be on your radar because they can help you with the permits, processes, and paperwork we’ll talk about next.

Check Your Zoning

It seems simple, but the last thing you want to do is waste time and money on a piece of property only to find that you can’t actually use it.

Luckily, it isn’t difficult to find out. Zoning laws dictate how a piece of land can be used, what type of building (or buildings are) is permitted on the land and this zoning information is available to the public. 

You’ll talk to your local zoning office, planning board, or city hall to determine what can be done with the land before you get too far into the planning process. Is it zoned residential or commercial? Does that fit your site plans?

If your perfect property isn’t zoned for what you’re trying to build, don’t worry. It is entirely possible that you may be able to apply for a zoning change. 

Zoning Permit Applications

If you decide you would like to try and change the zoning of your property, you’ll need to go through the zoning regulation process.

You do this by obtaining a zoning permit from city hall, or your town hall. This questionnaire asks you to detail your plans for the property and asks general questions about contact information and the property owner’s name, etc. 

Sometimes, certain zoning districts are limited to certain uses and you may not be able to do what you would like to with the property, after all.

It’s important to understand that every city or town has their own regulations and laws and zone codes. So do your homework on those zone ordinances and work with your city.

Local Ordinances and Covenants

The next step involves checking in again with your local planning commission. See, just because the land is zoned the way you want it to be, doesn’t mean there aren’t local ordinances that prevent you from building as tall or as wide as you’d like, for instance.

By contacting and obtaining written permission from the proper authorities, you’re preventing headaches later and making sure everything is above board.

Getting a Building Permit

Just like when you got your zoning permit, you’ll take your site plans back again for your building permits.

Basically, once you’ve gotten permission to make the building the way you would like it to be, and everything looks good to your city/town, you have gotten through a big chunk of the process.

The building permit deals specifically with the way the building will look and how safe it is, where the zoning deals with what the building does.

Working with a professional property agent can help a lot with the various city permits, county permits, zoning processes, and laws, so that you know you are doing everything right from the start.

But once you have your construction permit, you’re ready for the next phase!

Working With General Contractors

As a business owner, we know there is a TON of paperwork and other tedious items on your to-do list, but finding a good general contractor should be on the top of your list when you are planning to get a commercial building started.

A good, reputable contractor should be able to also help make sure that you have the proper licenses and permits, and that building codes are met without any sort of hesitation. 

Besides that, they are also capable of helping save you time and money on the project, by pointing out places you may be overspending on materials, or coming up with space saving measures you didn’t know about.

We aren’t a construction company – but we’ve had many clients that are – so we also found a few more helpful articles for you to consider:

  1. 5 Things Construction Managers Need to Do Before a Project Starts
  2. 7 Things to Know Before Starting a Construction Project
  3. 5 Things to Know Before Building a Commercial Building

Ultimately, the construction industry can be a difficult area to navigate, so getting recommendations from your local city council, city chamber of commerce, fellow business owners, or even friends that may have already gone through this process, is a good place to start.

Research the process thoroughly if you’ve never looked into it before, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and take your time.

It’s easier to get things right the first time than to waste a ton of time and money when something goes wrong!

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