What to Do Before Breaking Ground On a Commercial Construction Project

3 February 2022
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

Anyone preparing for a commercial construction project is also likely excited about breaking ground and getting to work. However, preparation is the key to construction success. Commercial construction services companies will encourage their clients to address these four issues early in the process.

Zoning, Regulations, and Property Rights

You will want to be sure you have the legal right to begin a project before you get too far into a commercial construction effort. Learn about the local zoning laws by discussing them with compliance officials. If there is a problem, ask what the process is for appealing rulings and requesting variances.

Similarly, you'll want to make sure your planned use doesn't violate any regulations. For example, some commercial operations near freshwater sources may be limited for environmental and health reasons. Also, it's a good idea to verify that the property rights and easements you have will align with your planned usage. Ideally, you should clarify these potential issues before acquiring a location.


Running out of money is a possibility if you don't take a conservative view of how you'll spend allocated resources. Even the best planners can miss their targets, so you want to have sufficient financing lined up to keep the project moving even if there are unexpected problems.

Talk with your preferred lender about your plans. Present them with budget numbers and long-term business plans so they can fairly assess their risk exposure.


Contracts protect everybody involved with a project. Meet with your contractors and learn what they want to see in the agreement. Likewise, determine what you need. For example, how do you want to structure the payment tranches? You want to protect your interests by not overextending yourself too much in any phase of the contract. However, you also need to provide incentives and money to the contractors to keep the project moving forward.

You should consult with counsel before signing any commercial construction contract. A law firm can help you understand the implications of particular clauses.

Preparing the Site

You will also need to ready the site for construction. Never assume a specific issue is the contractor's problem unless the agreement explicitly says so. Make sure you'll have permits in place. You may also need to have companies handle civil engineering needs like putting in fill, excavating areas, and preparing temporary roads.

Verify that all utility connections to the property are in order, too. If not, contact the respective utility companies and your contractors to coordinate the connection process.