How Is Industrial Construction Different From Residential Or Commercial Work?

If you've never participated in an industrial construction project, it can be hard to appreciate how different one is from doing commercial or residential work. Industrial construction contractors will often encounter the following four issues.


Much of the point of the industry is to achieve economies of scale. Creating the infrastructure for such economies of scale, though, is no simple task. Many industrial activities require significantly more water, for example, than you'll see, even in giant multifamily buildings or corporate offices.

Everything industrial tends to operate on a bigger scale. If the activity produces heat, it produces much more heat than anything similar in other sectors. The same goes for cooling, ventilation, filtration, storage, and other needs.


Industrial activities tend to create major compliance issues. You might have a factory that's noisy, for example. To avoid conflicts with surrounding parties, you may need to install sound walls. If a factory is close to a body of water, you may face major civil engineering challenges to ensure pollution from industrial activities doesn't run into the water. You'll see similar problems with air quality, worker safety, and building codes.

It's also common for industrial activities to carry a few unique risks that affect construction choices. For example, a warehouse may need firestops to contain potential damage in emergencies. This requires a lot of thought regarding where a fire is most likely to spread and how to confront one when it happens.

Compliance will also spill into the permit process. Oftentimes, this brings companies into conflict with zoning laws. You will likely have to engage with zoning boards and city councils to get your permits.


One major advantage of building a facility is you can think about how processes will move through it. For example, you'll probably want docks for inbound resources and outbound products to be close to the road. Also, you'll want to think about where different stations in the industrial process will go. Your goal is to maximize efficiency and speed, and that means working with the industrial construction contractors to streamline the physical plant.

It's hard to refurbish facilities once you've finished construction. Consequently, you'll want to integrate industrial processes into your plans from the earliest stages.


Your facilities have to bear the weight of what sits on top of them. If you will have a parking lot full of loaded 18-wheelers, for example, the road surface and the supporting structure have to withstand the weight. The same goes for the equipment, the buildings themselves, materials, silos, and hundreds of thousands of people.

Keep these tips in mind as you look for industrial building contractors near you.