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What is the Difference Between Commercial, Residential and Municipal Work?

Posted: 2-17-2023

Veterans of the construction industry know the nuances behind what separates commercial, residential and municipal work. However, if you are barely coming up in the construction industry, it is going to be imperative that you can differentiate the type of construction projects that you will be interested in building.

Often when examining a developer’s portfolio of work,  you will notice that they specialize in either  commercial, residential or municipal work. That doesn’t mean that someone who specializes in commercial projects will not take on a municipal job or vice versa. It just means that the developers have found a segment within the construction industry that they specialize in and are looking to receive as much share of that particular segment of construction that they can.

The good news for subcontractors and manufacturers is that commercial, residential and municipal projects will all need their services to complete the project.

What is municipal construction?

Municipal construction is about serving the stakeholders of a community through developments that ultimately enhance the lives of the people who live and work in the municipality where the project is located.

A municipal-based construction project means any planning, design, construction, deconstruction, or demolition activity performed by a City Department or on a city-owned property.

A municipal-based construction project means it is backed by the city or a government entity which involves or affects municipal highways, municipal property or other property, or municipal services.

Municipal projects involve planning, design, or construction activity authorized by a government entity on a city, county or state-owned property. The project can involve renovation; deconstruction; demolition; new Construction; tenant improvement or building addition.

What is residential construction?

Residential construction is a process that involves the expansion, renovation, or building of a new home or development intended to be occupied for residential purposes is residential construction. Many developers specialize in a certain segment of the construction industry such as residential construction, which can be a complex process, with a lot of phases and shareholders involved.

Various types of residential constructions include:

  • Single-family homes that are not attached to any other residences and have their own private lot.
  • Separate units that are part of a larger complex or community are known as condominiums. These residencies usually have a wall or two in common with other units. Condos are popular in high-density metropolitan areas with many restaurants and businesses.
  • Housing that is a mix between a condominium and a single-family residence is known as a townhouse.

Townhomes often come with one or two common walls and a small yard or roof deck.  Although typically less expensive than a single-family home, they usually offer more privacy than a condo. Of note for townhomes is that they are devoid of single-family home amenities such as pools or a gym.

What is commercial construction?

Commercial construction involves developing projects that can be leased or sold in the private sector. These projects can range from offices and manufacturing plants to medical centers and retail shopping centers. Each commercial construction project differs in size and  scope, which is approved by the owner of the project.  The designs and layouts of a proposed project structure are decided entirely by the owner, which makes each project unique and can range from small-scale to large-scale projects.

Commercial construction involves building projects that are going to be utilized for business uses and are often more lucrative to the developer.

Typical Types of Commercial Construction Projects

  • Restaurants and food service commercial structures.
  • Medical facilities construction.
  • Office building commercial construction.
  • Hotels and other lodging.
  • Industrial building construction.
  • Sports facilities.
  • Large-scale institutions.

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