Everything you need to know about starting a Hampton Roads construction project

Hampton Roads, Virginia is easily the best place for a commercial construction project (not that we’re biased). Comprised of nine cities including Virginia Beach, Suffolk, and Chesapeake, Hampton Roads is a booming area with gorgeous scenery, a growing economy, and a thriving small business scene. 

Before you start a Hampton Roads construction project there are a few things to consider. Continue reading for the six more important questions to ask before selecting a contractor for your project. 

General Guidelines for Starting a Construction Project

Before we dive into Hampton Roads-specific guidelines, there are a few general ones to think through. Before speaking with any contractors, you should outline your project needs and what services an ideal contractor would offer. 

You can also write down any deal breakers, such as poor communication, unclear timelines, or a lack of past projects highlighted on their website. 

Commercial vs Residential 

The first, and often most important distinction, is if your project is commercial or residential. A residential construction project is working on a single-family home that the owner intends to live in. Almost everything else falls under commercial. This includes hospitals and healthcare facilities, storefronts, and offices. 

The most confusing type of project is multi-family units, like condo complexes and assisted living communities. While it might seem like these are residential, they require the project management skills and expertise of commercial contractors, since there are many units to renovate or build. 

Renovation vs New Build

Ok, we lied. This distinction is as important as the first, though often easier to discern. Before looking at potential contractors, you need to decide if your project is a new build or a renovation.

If a structure is being built from scratch, it is a new build. Otherwise, most other projects fall under renovations, remodels, build-outs, or repairs. Once you’ve decided which one your project falls into, look for contractors who specialize in that category. 

Construction During Business Hours

If your project is a commercial build-out or renovation, you should get clear about whether it’s business as usual during the construction or if you’ll shut down for the project. While some projects require a full shutdown, others can be completed while your business operates as usual, with the right contractor. 

The last part is important. Some contractors have mastered the art of minimal disruption, as represented by their past project highlights. Others cannot coordinate construction during working hours, as demonstrated by their negative reviews. 

Building the Future

When you start a construction project, you are building the future. This means your space should be built or renovated to reflect where your business is heading, not where you are right now. For example, a plastic surgery practice with the goal of adding a MedSpa in the next year should be renovated with that MedSpa in mind. 

Before looking for contractors, get clear on what that future looks like:

  • How do you want people to feel when they walk into your space?
  • What business goals will be accomplished in your new space?
  • What next level of business are you hoping to achieve with this renovation or new build?

Jot down the answers to each of these questions and any other thoughts on how the new or renovated space will contribute to your business. When interviewing contractors, you can share these notes and gauge how well they understand the vision for your business. 

Hampton Roads Construction Projects

Along with general construction considerations, some are specific to Hampton Roads, namely understanding area-specific regulations and choosing a contractor who is familiar with the area. 

Area-specific regulations

Since Hampton Roads is an area, not a city, there are various regulations, permit processes, and laws to consider, depending on what specific city you are living in. For larger district projects, the Virginia government also has Hampton Roads guidelines, though these won’t apply to most commercial projects.

Instead, look at the restrictions for your specific city. To make that easier, here are guides to building permits in the biggest cities in the area:

Area-specific contractor

Along with researching area-specific regulations, you also want to work with a contractor who understands them. Usually, this means choosing a local contractor who works in Hampton Roads. 

To find a local contractor, pay attention to a contractor’s listed cities on their website, any location-specific blogs like this one, and their past project highlights. Your contractor should also be as invested in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area as you are. 

Construction in Hampton Roads Pros and Cons

While we’d like to say there are only pros to building or renovating in the Hampton Roads area, that isn’t always true. Depending on your business type and goals, Hampton Roads may or may not be part of Virginia for you. 

To determine this, consider the industry you’re in and where it’s most in-demand. A federal government contractor, for example, may find the area near Washington D.C. is better than the Hampton Roads area. For other industries, like healthcare or condos, there is a demand everywhere, including in Hampton Roads. 

Thanks to our diverse economy and fast-growing cities, the area is ripe for new businesses, expansion for current ones, and multi-family complexes. 

A Partner to Renovate in Hampton Roads, Virginia

Speaking of partners who understand the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, Carlton Building Services has worked in this area for over ten years. We’d love to build the vision of your business with our in-depth knowledge of commercial renovations, buildouts, and remodels, our network of local subcontractors, and our understanding of city-specific regulations and permits.

You deserve a partner who is as committed to your city and your business’s future as you are. Reach out for a free quote

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

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