Commercial Construction Process: Part I


A new commercial construction project may be the largest expenditure a person or company ever makes. As a result, even for seasoned professionals, the process is exciting, but perhaps daunting at the same time.


Start with a discovery call

You don’t need to go-it-alone. You can call Bob Moore Construction at any stage and we’ll help you get pointed in the right direction (we’ve been at it for 70+ years so we have experience in this realm)

Finding a location

Unless you already own the land, you will likely need a real estate developer or broker to assist in site selection and acquisition. The developer or broker can get preliminary info from a civil engineer on build-ability and make sure the site has promise. If you want a real estate developer at your side, check out this directory.


However you finance the project, you’ll want a budget before you finalize the land purchase and move forward with full design. Our experience, knowledge of the local markets in Texas, and database of historical costs allows us to provide highly accurate estimates based on preliminary information. Even with limited information at early stages, we can usually provide a budget within 10% of the final costs.

Selecting an architect and engineer

A qualified architect and engineer are critical to your project’s success. Check out resources such as the American Institute of Architects ( for member firms. We’ve also provided a directory on our website. Look for experienced designers with expertise in your project type. We usually recommend an initial meeting to introduce the team and make sure the team works well together.

Program and Prepare Schematic design

In schematic design, programming the project begins in earnest. Your architect and engineer will create a rough draft of the site plan, floor plan, and possibly sketches or renderings of what your building could look like.

Hold a Pre-development Meeting with the City

Many cities offer a pre-development meeting. Take advantage of this offering. These meetings are a crucial step in making sure your project has the proper heading. Each city is slightly different in how they run pre-development meetings, but topics generally discussed include; Zoning, Fire Code, Road Improvements, and Utilities to name a few. To help simplify your search, we have provided links for the City Planning & Development Departments for Fort WorthDallasHoustonAustin, and San Antonio.


Design Development

Now that you’ve prepared a schematic design and had an initial meeting with the city to make sure the project is headed in the right direction, both you and the architect have a better idea of your building’s layout, it’s time to finalize it. The design development process will see things like doors, windows, and other structural details finalized. The result of this process should include floor plans, site plans, elevations, and other drawings more closely resembling the completed building.

Construction Drawings

Once all the details have been agreed upon by you and the architect, construction documents can be produced. These will include finalized floor plans, site plans, elevations and, more importantly, specifications for construction materials and details. Unless a major unforeseen issue arises during the construction process, these documents will reflect almost exactly what your final building will look like.

Finalize Your Cost

The construction documents you received in the last step are very important for finalizing your cost during this process. The construction documents allow your contractor to receive competitive and complete bids from subcontractors and vendors. Allow your contractor two weeks to review the construction drawings and specifications. At Bob Moore, we use BuildingConnected to send plans and specs to subcontractors to ensure adequate subcontractor bid coverage. Your contractor will send the proposal with the cost breakdowns and clarifications for your review.

Contracting With Your Design-Builder or General Contractor

Now, the construction drawings and specifications can convert into the contract documents and the cost can convert to the contract amount. Fortunately in this industry, we have a general consensus on contract language that has been honed over time by The American Institute of Architects (AIA). These are industry standard contracts and guidelines for contracts that they have developed since their inception in 1857. Bob Moore can use these AIA documents to assist in drafting the contract, preparing the exhibits, and have it ready to execute.


The permitting process begins with the Pre-Development Conference and continues through design. Once construction plans are complete, your contractor can submit for building permit. The permitting processes vary from city to city, but an experienced design team and contractor can help expedite the process. Here are some links for permit information for Fort WorthDallasHoustonAustin, and San Antonio.

Finalize financing

The final step before construction begins is to finalize your financing. At this point, you will probably have a bank in mind that you’ve spoken with about financing for your project. At first, this may seem like one of the most daunting pieces of the process. But it doesn’t have to be. Here is a guide on what to expect in the loan process. After financing is in order, you are ready to begin the next part of the process: Construction.


Your general contractor will work with the entire project team to provide an accurate project schedule. The schedule should track the critical path of the project by analyzing sequence of activities, lead times, and key milestones. A more detailed three-week look-ahead schedule will be provided on a weekly basis.


The groundbreaking ceremony is a great opportunity to generate publicity about your project as well as introduce your company’s employees to the new project.

If you are seizing the moment to generate interest and publicity for your project, you and your company leadership along with the developer, architect, and general contractor can gather with local officials, such as the mayor or city council members and state representatives to speak with PR and media professionals about the project and economic impact it will have on the local community. Large projects can even garner some big names. Our project with GM Financial in San Antonio was attended by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Likewise, a Bob Moore project in Arlington was attended by US Senator Ted Cruz.

Regardless of the size of the project, many owners have groundbreaking ceremonies. Even if it’s a private ceremony limited to your company’s employees, groundbreaking ceremonies are a great way to celebrate the realization of the investment you’ve made.

The Houston Chronicle has a good article on planning your groundbreaking ceremony.


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