If you have been in residential construction for a while, you might wonder what it’s like to work in commercial construction. Your basic skills will transfer nicely, making this career change entirely possible. However, there are several things to consider before making the switch.

Project Scale

Commercial projects are much larger and more complicated than residential jobs. The job site may be far more chaotic, with lots of different things happening at once. It’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed. To combat this, learn to focus on what is right in front of you. Your supervisor will let you know what the schedule looks like and what you need to do when, so don’t fall into the trap of overthinking and overplanning. But plan to remain flexible. On a big commercial project, things can change rapidly.

Regulatory Differences

Regulatory guidelines on commercial construction projects tend to be both more stringent and more complex than those governing residential construction. From energy efficiency and fire protection to accessibility and lighting requirements, you should familiarize yourself with all of the relevant guidelines.

Larger Teams

Residential construction teams tend to be relatively small. But on a commercial site, you could be working alongside dozens of other skilled trades professionals. If you’re a people person, this could be a good thing. But if you prefer a quieter worksite and the ability to work with a small team of people you know well, commercial construction could be a challenge for you.

More Complex Logistical Challenges

Supply chain issues have hit all parts of the construction industry in recent years. However, the logistics of commercial projects tend to be more complicated, which means that the challenges are also more complex. Materials are often sourced from far away, and some of them could be quite specialized. You’ll have to learn to roll with the punches and problem-solve on the fly, doing your part to help prevent massive delays.

Ready for a New Skilled Trade Position?

At Great Lakes Skilled Trades, we specialize in connecting professionals in the skilled trades with contractors who need their services throughout the Great Lakes region. If you’re a skilled trade worker looking for your next position, check out our available jobs today!

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