Factors that Influence a Project’s Cost

The decision to construct a new building is a complicated investment that requires careful consideration. First and foremost, it is essential for an investor to determine their structure’s function and use. Different buildings have different needs, and different needs have different price tags. When evaluating the expected costs of a building and whether or not a new building is a worthwhile investment, it is critical to consider the many need-based factors that could influence the cost. In assessing what your needs are and, in turn, the potential expense of your investment, consider the following questions:

Oral Surgery Associates


A building like Oral Surgery Associates has much different interior needs than a warehouse.

What do you need accomplished in the building? What are you doing inside?
When it comes to business, a building is simply a shell. What’s really important is what’s happening on the inside. The end goal for any commercial construction project is to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of what happens inside the building. Naturally, the process and materials used to maximize the efficiency of a high-tech medical clinic are going to be much different than the process and materials used to maximize the efficiency of a storage warehouse. The process and materials used for one will require different costs than the process and materials of the other.

In the end, what really matters is balancing the efficiency and environment within the building to the cost of the construction.  The key to maximizing the return on your investment is to thoroughly understand and layout the internal operations. This way, you can decide what materials and construction processes are best suited to your project, which will help you find the best value. Trying to achieve a low construction cost could actually be more expensive in the long run, as focusing too heavily on the cost may come at the expense of productivity and durability. Should this be the case, a building’s interior may not facilitate maximum efficiency, and the business may incur high maintenance costs or a loss in time or productivity down the road. Saving money in the short term through lower construction costs does not necessarily yield lower business costs—it could actually lead to higher business costs and render the building a poor investment.

Whereas the success of an online retailer may not be dependent on drawing in consumers with an attractive exterior, businesses such as Best Buy might not draw in customers or reach their maximum efficiency without an appearance that appeals to customers.

Does the appearance of the building impact the business? Is it a sales tool?
While buildings are no more than shells in the business realm, it is sometimes important to have an attractive shell. For some businesses, the exterior allure is essential to drawing in customers. For others, it is entirely irrelevant. Online retailers, for example, may not have any regard for how their building looks. A simple and tasteless exterior would likely be just as effective as an extravagant and attractive one at maximizing efficiency for such a company. On the other hand, retailers that sell their products from their building are very dependent on exterior appeal. Their efficiency can only be maximized if their exterior draws in customers. Therefore, such a business would probably have to invest more in their appearance than an online retailer.

What are the site conditions?
Not all locations are created equal. Different sites have different soil types, incline, and regulation among other things. Building on certain kinds of soil can be much more expensive than building on others. Similarly, building on a steep slope will require more landscaping costs than building on a flatter terrain. Moreover, some areas have aesthetic requirements, in which the exterior must be of a certain material (such as brick or stone) for the building to be located there.

Without understanding a prospective building’s functional and locational needs and their implications, it is impossible for a contractor to accurately predict the costs of a commercial construction project. Attempting to do so would be a disservice to investors which could have long-lasting financial implications. This being said, if you would like to take the time to thoughtfully compile a plan for your facility that incorporates these and other factors and, afterwards, receive a preliminary estimate regarding the cost of your prospective building, please contact us at tbrown@brownwegher.com.