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The Difference Between Residential and Commercial Construction

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Construction is a broad industry, and the field of commercial construction is only slightly narrower. Nonetheless, there are plenty of differences between it and residential construction, and understanding them is key for you to find a contractor that fits your needs and the scope of the project.

Miller Architects & Builders, your provider of architectural design services and construction project management, is here to discuss a few critical differences between the two branches of the same field.

End Project Results

The most obvious difference between these two is their intended purpose. Residential construction companies end up making spaces for people to live in, while commercial construction companies make business spaces.

The only place where this line blurs is in the realm of apartment construction, though for the most part, this is still considered commercial, as it’s a space intended to host the business of renting out places to live.


While all construction companies are different, as a broad generalization, commercial construction companies tend to adhere to much stricter deadlines than do residential teams. However, because commercial construction projects tend to be both larger and more complicated than your average home, they also, typically speaking, take a bit longer to complete.

While business might be more demanding when it comes to the pace, they’ll also need to acknowledge the commercial construction project’s complexity and give the commercial contractor the time needed to complete it—though that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hold them accountable when it comes to deadlines.


According to ITI Technical College of Baton Rouge, preferred materials vary greatly between commercial and residential applications—though, again, of course, every project is an individual.

Residential construction tends to rely on wood for their buildings’ frames, for example, for its cost-effective nature. Commercial construction, on the other hand, tends to lean towards steel frames because it allows contractors to achieve the greater height and complexity many of these architectural designs call for.


Obviously, materials can and do vary in cost, and this is why large commercial projects tend to be pricier than their residential counterparts, though budget management is an important concern for each.

Stricter timelines in commercial construction applications might also lead to higher costs to make sure the work gets completed accordingly.

Miller Architects & Builders: Unrivaled Commercial Construction & Architectural Design

Ready to work with a pro that knows their field inside and out? Reach our commercial construction office in St. Cloud today at 320-251-4109.