Quantity surveyors are integral to accurately calculate the construction costs surrounding commercial and residential builds in the initial cost report. As leading building quantity surveyors, the team at Section 94 knows that the process of creating an initial cost report and acquiring bank prefunding differs greatly between residential and commercial builds.

While precise considerations are important for developing an accurate estimate of construction costs from the very beginning of the build, the difference in scale between residential properties and larger commercial builds requires a change in approach.

The differences in team structure

As valuation experts, recognising the difference in the structure of the construction team is an integral aspect of the initial cost report and the process of creating an accurate pricing estimate. It’s also an important part of determining the project’s feasibility. While residential builds often follow similar construction methods with limited design variations, for unique commercial builds it’s important to consider if the design is achievable within the budget and timeframe.

With the difference in scope and speciality, the construction team of a residential build and a commercial build are assembled to meet different needs. The builders for smaller or custom residential builds often come from a trade background while the builders for commercial properties are from larger companies that are privately owned or publicly listed. This means that for a residential build, there can be a lot of scope cross between team members with site managers and project managers also on the tools, while for largescale commercial builds there are more defined roles.

This difference in team structure also impacts the progress reports verified by the building quantity surveyors in Sydney. As the construction team of a commercial building is more extensive than a smaller residential property, this often involves more construction progress claims for the release of funds following detailed progress drawdown reports as established by an expert quantity surveyor.

The difference in design, equipment and materials

As residential properties, particularly inner-city homes, are often limited to maximising the space available, there is a dramatic difference between residential designs and the extensive designs of commercial buildings. This difference in material costs becomes apparent in the early phases of the initial cost report when you consider features more typical to commercial builds like elevators and fire escapes.

Due to the budget constraints and scale of the projects, there is a difference in the materials used and equipment needed between a residential and commercial build. For instance, while labour in residential projects is often manual, larger construction builds require cranes and more complex equipment. This difference is often showcased in the construction cost, with commercial buildings requiring a much larger amount of more resilient materials. One example of this key material difference is in the build’s frame.

Often due to the small size and limited budget, residential construction projects use a wood frame. Most residential homes are small enough to be supported by timber, which is cheaper than a steel frame. Commercial builds use steel frames as they are stronger and better suited for multi-storey builds. Steel frames are also more flexible than timber, which could snap under the pressure of wind in higher storeys. This is just one example of a material difference that not only affects the construction costs of the project and the equipment required but could also impact the timeline due to the transport of different materials and the hire of specialist labour and equipment. Similarly, homes might be interested in a few automation and integrations for a modern, smart home while commercial buildings will often implement innovative features on a much larger scale with security features and automated cooling spanning multiple storeys.

The difference in building codes, permits and licenses

The building codes for residential and commercial projects will also have different needs with different requirements for council approvals. These requirements will be outlined in the council cost report for the development application. This allows the local council to provide new services and public amenities to the site and ensures that the proposed build is within council standards. For larger commercial builds, the detailed council cost report may take a longer turnaround time than a proposed residential development.

There are also different permits and licenses required for each project. Commercial developers often need more permits and licenses for larger projects, with trade licenses for all contractors on site. Comparatively, residential contractors who perform general tasks may not need additional permits like the plumbing and electrical contractors. As permits and council requirements vary between councils and projects, it is important to find experienced building quantity surveyors in Sydney for clear construction project costs and an accurate cost summary report.

Need a residential or commercial quantity surveyor?

The team at Section 94  are experienced building quantity surveyors to help you create an accurate initial cost report for a smooth bank prefunding experience, without the risk of inaccurate or exceeded budgets.

With over a decade of industry experience, our qualified building quantity surveyors will assist you with all your construction budget and management services such as providing contractor tender analysis and construction cost reports.

Give us a call today on 0413 953 869 or email us at info@section94.com.au to learn more about our premium budget services for commercial builds.