by | Aug 6, 2021

The construction industry added more than $900 billion to the US economy in the first quarter of 2020—its highest level since the 2008 recession. It employed 7.64 million people in February 2020, also the highest levels since 2008. Then, COVID-19 reached the United States, causing the industry to lose $60.9 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and decreasing total jobs to roughly 6.5 million, effectively wiping out two years of GDP gains and four years of job gains.

Construction activities and the workers were deemed essential in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. While construction continued in most parts of the country, several factors resulted in project delays. Economic shutdown and supply chain disruptions jeopardized operations and construction schedules. Moreover, contractors were also hit as the sub-contractors were not able to report to the jobs.

All of these factors contributed to the decline of the construction sector output in the United States in 2020. The decline in the output of the construction sector is also reflected in the real GDP of the country. However, several projects are under construction in various sectors including residential, institutional, and industrial and infrastructure.

The construction industry, however, learned from the 2008 recession and was well-positioned to weather this economic shock. It had better control over its leverage and credit and created a buffer through additional cost savings. While our economy remains a bit unknown with the ongoing global pandemic, the construction industry is positioned to remain strong. Here are 3 indicators that commercial construction is strong in 2021.

    1. The non-residential sectors expected to see the largest year-on-year growth in 2021; healthcare (9.6%), office buildings (7.4%), and commercial construction (6.6%).
    2. Progress in technology, significant improvements in construction techniques, and the use of superior grades of raw materials are some of the factors that have boosted the construction market in the past few years. Firms invested and moved toward advanced construction materials, such as durable or high-strength concrete, geosynthetics, geotextiles, and steel.
    3. Corporate profit is expected to return to growth throughout 2021 and prompts an uptick in public and commercial spending to open new locations and hire more workers.

If you are currently in a position where your business is growing, you have capital to invest in a new building, and you need additional space, here are 5 things to consider before developing a new commercial building:

1. Evaluating Building Location

Choose a location that is zoned for commercial development. You may want to consider a location that allows for easy traffic access. There may be other developmental and infrastructural plans for that area which could affect your commercial investment positively or negatively.

  1. Planning, Zoning, & Permitting

Each type of commercial building comes with its own set of necessities. Be sure to account for how customers and visitors will approach and use your building. Have the building designed to accommodate employees, customers, and all of the unique needs your business might have.

Consider your use of technology and modern amenities. In commercial building construction, you must ensure that you’ve done everything correctly in terms of zoning laws and permits. Doing this as early as possible is the most important step before beginning construction. Certain places may have restrictions on height, floors, color, etc.. A construction general contractor can help you with all aspects of planning, including contacting the local zoning office and ensuring that your project complies with all of the local area’s requirements.

  1. Budgeting and Financing

When deciding to construct a commercial property for business use, you must be careful to make sure your money spent returns a profit. To help you avoid such misfortunes and make this job easier on your end, hire a contractor who can help you.

Create a list detailing the expenses that will be incurred in constructing the building, from big expenses such as cement, equipment rentals, and wages to small expenses. It is important to consider maintaining an extra 10% of the allocated budget as a reserve in order to meet any unforeseen expenses that may arise.

  1. Selecting an Architect & Contractor

Business owners should consider how much time they want to personally devote to their project. Many businesses lose customers during a construction project because their management teams are more focused on the new building and less on their regular work performance. Hiring a construction management team and using the design-build method for your project is a great solution for this.

  1. Getting to Know the Team

When contacting your project professionals, be sure to thoroughly explain what your needs are in terms of budget, timeline, and building requirements. Acquaint yourself fully with the main people who you put in charge of your project: architects, designers, and project managers. You will be working with them for many months or even years. Maintaining good communication with them will help everyone involved to deliver your project with all needs met.


As you look to select an architect and contractor, it is important to understand how the team will work with you throughout the process. There are three unique contracts that most general contractors work under. These include:

Design-Build Construction

With design-build projects, Chief Construction, serving as the sole contractor, provides the client with a single contract for all design and construction services. This assures a unified flow of work from the project’s initial concept to its completion.

Construction Management

The construction management specialists at Chief Construction help with the overall planning and coordination of a project from start to finish. We’re proud of our record of producing projects that are functionally and financially viable.


With this project delivery method, the project owner holds separate contracts for design and construction.

Out of these three methods, the Design-Build contracts frequently provide the most benefit to the owner. Design-build requires a high degree of collaboration between the designer and the builder. Hence, they work together as the project progresses, seeing various benefits like more coordinated tasks leading to higher quality results. Here are 8 reasons to go with a Design-Build contract:

  • More effective teamwork. In the Design-Build method, the contractor handles both the design and building process and the owner is also encouraged to get involved. When an issue is encountered, all these key players sit together to develop a plan on how to resolve the matter and keep the project on track and on schedule.
  • Total accountability. When the designer is also the one who builds the project, much more attention is given to the plan, pricing, and schedule, making the result better than when the designer and the contractor are from different groups.
  • Continuity of workflow. The same people are involved in the project from start to finish, which adds efficiency and effectiveness to the process. Tasks and schedules are planned more effectively since the contractor already knows the skill level of his members.
  • Expertise in both design and build processes. Design-build firms employ both designers and project managers to work together. This then lets the firm achieve the best of both worlds. In addition, design-build firms usually have a solid partnership with reliable subcontractors.
  • More valuable professional advice. The designer and builder act together to develop the best design and plan that they can submit to the owner and guide him to the best possible outcome. Design-build refines a process from beginning to end and manages the chaos into orderly steps.
  • Owner involvement. With the general contractor holding the design and build contract, there is only one accountable person for the project. This makes it easier for the owner to maintain communication and expectations.
  • Closer Collaboration. The involved parties need to be in a clear understanding of the project timeline and what else should be done in the field. Collaboration is better when people are on the same team and obliged to maintain a harmonious work relationship.
  • Time and cost savings. One of the most significant benefits of hiring a Design-Build firm is the quicker turnaround of the project. With both the designer and the builder in the same team, they are able to manage hundreds of timelines that need to coordinate in lockstep. Furthermore, owners, designers, and builders can revisit major decisions during construction without change orders or additional fees. The traditional construction process often costs an additional fee when making changes. With additional fees for professionals avoided and turnaround made quicker, a savings of approximately 6% of the project costs can be achieved.

If you are looking to build a new commercial building, the time is now. The market and economy are positioned well to take advantage of low interest rates, sustainable building products, and a strong construction partner. While the traditional construction method is still used today, there are several reasons why the design-build delivery method works much better for new construction and renovations.

Contact Chief Construction to get started on your build today:



About Chief Construction

Founded in 1954, Chief Construction is headquartered in Grand Island, Nebraska. What started as a small local construction company, is now one of the premier construction companies in the Midwest, specializing in design-build and construction management.


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Chief Construction is your premier Midwest construction company since 1954. As design-build, general contracting and construction management specialists, we focus on the entire process, concept through completion.