August 2, 2023

5 Commercial Construction Considerations for Office & Retail Spaces

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Before you embark on your new commercial construction project for an office or retail space, there are a few things you should consider. These types of commercial builds are often complex and rigorous to navigate, especially if it’s your first time coordinating such a build. Today, we’ll highlight those key considerations to think about before taking the next steps. Before you make any official decisions, you’ll want to discover various types of commercial construction retail designs, understand your patron experiences, coordinate your budget, prepare for marketing, and choose a contractor. Consider these insights for your office and retail space project. 

1. Customer and Patron Experiences

You might already have an idea of what your new office or retail space will be used for or look like. But don’t settle on any official designs until you’ve extensively researched your intended customers and patrons. Look to recognize how office tenants or shopping consumers can benefit from your new space and incorporate aesthetics into your designs. 

Here are some questions to consider when assessing your potential customers or office and retail space patrons:


  • Are you maximizing your available space for the anticipated number of daily patrons?
  • Do you provide ample storage space?
  • Are your common areas conducive to your patrons’ needs?
  • What kind of lighting will make your space feel open and inviting?
  • Can you improve layouts for improved office productivity?
  • Have you accounted for kitchen, breakroom, and restroom spaces?
  • Are your entry and exit points easily accessible?

2. Available Space and Designs to Consider

When you’re planning a new or remodeled office or retail space, there are design considerations and aesthetics to explore. Commercial retail and office spaces come in all shapes and sizes. So recognize some of these common floor plans and identify which makes the most sense for your commercial project.


Standalone Sites

A standalone retail space is an independent structure or building(s) intended for a single tenant. These are often ideal commercial construction projects for:


  • Showrooms
  • Specialty retail
  • Convenience shops
  • Big box stores
  • Supermarkets
  • Department stores


Mixed-Use Structures and Buildings

Your commercial construction project may be better suited as a mixed-use space. These are growing in popularity and tend to promote a more communal or walkable space for patrons. You’ll also want to design a space that accommodates retail spaces, office spaces, and potentially apartment spaces on secondary stories. Consider mixed-use projects for a hybrid mix of brilliant storefronts, easy-to-access office space, and attractive living spaces. 


Shopping Centers and Lifestyle 

Another type of commercial space to consider is the lifestyle and shopping center. These layouts typically come with beautiful and accessible storefronts. The building itself will usually promote a unified brand image as a lifestyle community, while there are uniquely branded commercial tenants within each designated space. These types of structures are ideal for accommodating:


  • Restaurants
  • Apartments
  • Theaters
  • Salons and spas
  • Offices



Maybe you’re exploring your options for a more sizable project like a mall. These commercial spaces are home to many different commercial leasing entities. Today’s mall designs often include outdoor components, indoor customer comfort elements, and open layouts for easy access at every level. Here are just a few examples of mall components to consider if you feel this type of commercial construction endeavor fits your objectives. 


  • Entrance areas and atriums
  • Elevators and escalators
  • Balcony walkways
  • Seating and lounge areas
  • Plants and water features
  • Artwork and designs



When you’re working through your designs and commercial project goals, consider whether or not you’ll also need a showroom area. These are spaces ideal for certain retailers or industries. And you’ll want to have an idea about what items or furnishings will be featured there. 

3. Budgeting and Financing Your Project

Once you have a better understanding of what your new office or retail space will be and who it will accommodate, you can begin to estimate costs and build out your budget. Financing considerations will vary, based on your entity, region, and commercial property uses. But, in general, these are some of the financing options you have available to you.


  • Private financing
  • Business construction loans
  • Municipal or public financing
  • Grants or specialty funding
  • Fundraising or private contributions


4. Prepare for the Various Stages of the Commercial Construction Project

In addition to design and layout considerations, you’ll want to prepare for the various stages of the commercial construction process itself. Of course, your unique project will have its timeline. But, in general, these are the fundamental phases of any commercial building project. 


Development and Planning Stage

During this phase of the construction process, you’ll want to explore all your options and anticipate changes or challenges. Getting things right at this stage of your project will result in fewer complications throughout the later stages. 


Develop your plan and enlist the assistance of professional contractors, like the team at Jerdon Construction, who can guide you through the nuances relating to budgets, timing, environmental assessments, zoning, permitting, utility considerations, and other official requirements.


Our extensive experience building Lehigh Valley office and retail spaces can be monumental for your project. As your general contractor, we can serve as your primary point of contact to guide and direct you through every important decision. Let us help you find the best-fit contractors and professionals for your project. We’ll also help you navigate decisions relating to:


  • Functions of each space or room
  • Required materials and supplies
  • Necessary equipment 
  • Associated costs and variable expenses
  • Construction timelines 


Designing Stage

Yes, you’ll discuss certain design objectives in the first phase of planning your commercial retail or office project. But in phase two, you’ll confirm those design ideas with key stakeholders. You’ll also seek approvals from structural, mechanical, civil, and electrical engineers who can verify your plan’s feasibility and compliance. 


With your designs finalized and approved, you can then move forward with securing bids and assembling commercial construction partners to facilitate the build. Remember, designs can be amended later. However, it’s best to have as much detail confirmed before you begin building.


Site Preparation Stage

During the site preparation phase of your commercial construction build, your chosen teams will begin preparing the site for construction. These types of activities might include clearing vegetation, soil testing, excavation, water testing, and more. These steps are necessary to confirm the viability and approve any steps associated with bringing utilities to the area, arranging for power, or supplying water. 


Commercial Construction Stage

Things start to happen, and you’ll begin to see your commercial building vision come to life at this stage of the process. Foundations will be poured, steel and framing materials will be erected, and the structure will take shape. Once the external framing is laid in, the internal components of your building will be installed. These include plumbing, electrical, water, and HVAC ductwork.


Post-Construction Stage

During the post-construction phase, it’s time for final walkthroughs and punch lists. Your contractors will observe all aspects of your build, comparing it with your original plans and specifications. It’s here you can expect touch-ups, minor corrections, slight alterations, and finalized repairs. Upon completion and approval from your architect, you’ll receive a certificate of substantial completion. From here, you can begin furnishing your retail or office space or marketing to any potential commercial tenants.

5. Branding and Marketing Your New Space

While you’re preparing to build your new retail or office space, you’ll also want to develop a marketing plan and branding strategy for your new space. Use your intended patrons or customers to help you identify your target market and core audience. Then consider these next steps to ensure that when your building project is completed, visitors, tenants, and customers will be attracted to your facility.


  • Develop a brand image for your space.
  • Create an online presence with a website and social media profiles.
  • If you’re attracting tenants, prepare marketing materials and listings.
  • Capture testimonials to build credibility in your brand.
  • Explore email marketing campaigns to your business colleagues.
  • Event plan for a ribbon cutting and community announcements.


Partner with Jerdon Construction to Guide Your Efforts

Before you take any official steps toward bringing your commercial office or retail project to life, connect with the team at Jerdon Construction! Explore all of the brilliant designs and commercial builds we’ve facilitated throughout the Lehigh Valley. And trust our team to walk you through every step, assist with every decision, and bring every vision you have to life! Many continue to trust Jerdon Construction with their office, retail, and commercial projects – you can too!