Although most contractors probably know the difference between commercial and industrial construction, it may be something that the casual onlooker may not understand.  However, there are several significant differences between the two styles of construction and this article will go over the characteristics that define each. By the end of this post, even the average person will be able to understand the differences between commercial and industrial construction.


Since commercial buildings are designed to attract commerce, aesthetics play a much more important role in commercial building construction than it does with industrial buildings.  Buildings such as shopping centres, retail outlets, restaurants and the like place an emphasis on their looks in order to attract the attention of casual customers. Aesthetics are much more important for commercial buildings that they are for industrials sites.

Access To The General Public

Easy access to a commercial building by the general public is an important consideration in commercial construction. Proximity to busy streets, access to parking and room for pedestrians are all important factors in commercial construction.

Access To Heavy Equipment

Access to heavy equipment is more of a consideration when undertaking industrial construction.  Although heavy equipment may be used during the construction of commercial properties, once the project is finished, rarely will this be a concern.  Industrial buildings on the other hand may have heavy duty equipment on the property full time. Industrial architects need to keep this in mind.

Permitting Requirements

All construction projects have permitting requirements, however industrial project typically have permitting requirements to reach to the federal levels of government.  This is usually unnecessary for commercial projects which may only require local and provincial approval.

Energy Requirements

Industrial construction projects quite often have energy requirements that are far above that of the typical commercial construction project.  If the site will house industrial scale equipment, access to large volumes of water and electricity may be necessary. This requires specialized construction techniques that may not be used by your average commercial construction contractors.