What should you expect for a commercial construction timeline?

95% of construction projects finish over-budget and over-time. That statistic shouldn’t be surprising, given how many of us have heard horror stories of construction projects that won’t stop. If you want a prime example of a wonky, drawn-out commercial construction timeline, there’s most likely a highway maintenance or public works project that falls under that scope in your town right now.

As a commercial construction client, the task you need to focus on is how your project can be part of the 20% that finishes on time. To determine a realistic “on-time” construction timeline, you need to pay attention to the project scope, necessary materials, and the contractor you hire.

Project Scope and Commercial Construction Timeline

There is no one set commercial construction timeline. Not all build outs take six months while carpentry jobs take three weeks. Instead, the scope of the project plays a big role in determining the ideal timeline.

Before entering into conversations with prospective contractors, jot down important information about the scope of your project. Here’s a few key details to note:

  • A task-by-task list of what needs done: this doesn’t have to be specific, but should include major tasks, such as repainting the floorboards or adding a wall to separate one room into two.
  • Work schedule: will your staff be working during the construction? If so, it might take longer, but working during a construction project can reduce the economic harms of closing shop.
  • Budget: like most things in life, more money can speed up construction. If there’s a bit of financial wiggle room, consider upping the budget for a faster construction timeline.

A past client in Towne Center Office Space fully understood the scope after talking to JP. They had a desired end product and a set budget in mind–and they knew they wanted to continue, business as usual, during the renovation project. Given the scope, JP was able to discern how long the project would take while still meeting their budget and causing minimum disruption to their operations. In the end, the project finished on time and on budget because the scope and timeline were understood by all parties.

Understanding the full scope of the project and how long it will take isn’t (all) on you. While you should approach contractors with a rough idea of what you want, a good contractor will communicate the full scope and estimated timeline before you sign on to work with them.

Materials and Commercial Construction Timeline

Unlike the project scope, this factor is outside your control–and often outside your contractor’s too. Due to recent construction supply chain disruptions, some materials are harder to get than they used to be. If you’re completing your project around a slow manufacturing time, such as the holidays or summer, there may be increased delays in getting necessary materials too.

Adele Diamond, a past client, wanted to launch their renovated store ahead of the holiday season. The cabinets they wanted from China came in late, just two days before their grand reopening. Since their contractor was committed, the cabinets were installed the night before the opening, stopping what could have been a major delay with a less coordinated contractor.

When material shortages sprout up, having a seasoned contractor by your side can make all the difference. Carlton Building Services, for example, is committed to moving logistics to delay the impact of material delays and to communicating with suppliers if delays happen.

Contractor and Commercial Construction Timeline

The last–but certainly not least–factor to consider is the contractor you’re working with. Finding a good contractor isn’t an easy task, but it’s the most important thing you can do to set up a successful commercial construction project.

The number one trait to look for is a contractor who communicates well. A good contractor excels at communicating with their clients, team members, and subcontractors. Similarly to a marriage or collaboration in your workplace, everything runs smoother with good communication.

To learn if a contractor communicates quickly (after making the sales call), you should ask for past clients to talk to and look at the past projects on their website, paying attention to the timeline for projects similar to yours. In the past, have they completed projects similar to yours on around the same timeline they gave you? Or, if you’re lucky, they may have a track record for finishing ahead of schedule.

At Carlton Building Services, we’ve finished many projects in half the time it would take other times. We finished a month’s worth of work for Pursuit in two weeks and a month’s worth of work for Herb Savvy in 2.5 weeks.

At the end of the day, a commercial construction project’s timeline is out of your control. The best thing you can do to make sure your project stays on budget and on time is working with a trusted contractor. Click here to learn more about how to choose the right commercial contractor for your project.

Carlton Building Services in Hampton Roads Virginia

Carlton Building Services specializes in repairs, maintenance, renovations, remodelings and build-outs for a variety of clients in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake areas. We have years of experience handling projects in the retail, office, and healthcare space and would love to work with you on your next project!

To learn more about our services, check out past project highlights or contact Carlton Building Services to see how we can help with your next project.

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

J.P. Carlton is the founder of Carlton Building Services, a Hampton Roads-based construction company.