What's The Difference Between Civil Construction And Commercial Construction?

Unless you are in the construction industry, you probably won't know the difference between a commercial project and a civil project.

Even though there are some similarities, there are also some distinct differences between these areas of construction.

So, what are the differences between civil construction and commercial construction?

We'll take a look at this in the article below.

Table of Contents


What Is Civil Construction?

Civil construction and civil engineering create infrastructure involving anything to do with water, earth, or transportation.

Civil construction is a branch of civil engineering that handles the maintenance, design, and construction of natural and physically built environments.

These environments can include water reservoirs, subdivisions, airports, roads, railways, buildings, bridges, sewer systems, tunnels, and dams.

The civil construction industry comprises individuals, companies, and other interested parties involved in the planning, design, and creation of our infrastructure. 

A typical construction job needs to be up to date on the new trends in the civil construction industry and they need to include planning, creating, and maintaining public infrastructure.

This can include:

  • Work with governments, clients, and other relevant professionals
  • The study, evaluation, and investigation of building sites suitable for the possible creation of infrastructure
  • Adhere to the guidelines created by local government, local bodies, and clients when planning, developing and maintaining infrastructure
  • Create infrastructure plans and get them approved by governing bodies and local authorities
  • Create cost estimates and contracts
  • Tender the contracts and hire contractors
  • Supervise and monitor the construction of the infrastructure to ensure it matches the plan


What Is Commercial Construction?

Commercial construction is construction in the private sector.

Commercial construction companies work on projects for the building and selling of business structures like offices, retail centers, warehouses, and industrial buildings.

A business owner, manager, or developer can hire a general contractor to build or remodel their commercial structures.

Commercial construction projects are overseen and built by a general contractor company.

General contractors work in various categories of construction, like commercial and residential.

The difference between these construction sectors is that residential construction projects are for individual housing projects.

A general contractor could be educated and experienced in residential and commercial construction but may only serve one of these sectors of the industry.

Some general contractors may only work in select industries, so for complex construction projects, make sure to ask your general contractor what industries they serve.

General contractors in the commercial construction industry may also hire subcontractors to work on a project, such as plumbers or electricians.


Differences Between Civil And Commercial Construction

What They're Used For


The main difference between these two sectors is what they're used for.

Civil construction revolves around government and community projects.

A construction job in the civil construction industry could be water structures, waterways, and heavy industries like a shipyard.

Commercial construction is the construction of buildings for business purposes.

The most common examples of commercial construction are commercial offices, malls, factories, and stores.

Contractors in the commercial sector put a lot of effort into ensuring that their project will satisfy a business that runs within the structure.

Civil contractors put their efforts into ensuring their construction design will deliver an economical, environmentally friendly structure.

It has to be a structure that the general public can count on for several decades.



Their Designs

The commercial construction sector works to ensure their structures provide their clients with maximum satisfaction.

The floor plan designs in commercial construction will ensure smooth foot traffic into the building.

The interior and exterior aesthetics of the project have an essential role in commercial design.

Civil construction deals with general infrastructure and government-funded projects.

Civil construction focuses on improving coordination and reducing the time and costs it takes to build a structure.


Their Supporting Infrastructure


Commercial construction infrastructure involves services for the entire structure, including an electrical, HVAC, and plumbing system.

The network is centralized to be able to satisfy all the tenants in the building.

The supporting infrastructure of commercial construction is different from that of heavy civil engineering.

Civil construction is geared towards supporting heavy equipment that helps manage a project’s complexity.

This ensures minimal disruptions and negative impacts on the community.

Their General Oversight


Commercial construction is watched over by business owners and investors since their money is behind the projects.

Commercial projects look to cut costs and speed up the construction process so the owners of the commercial property can start generating revenue.

Civil construction typically mainly falls under the sponsorship of the government or larger corporations.

This means large projects can fall victim to politicization, leading to an increase in oversight and regulatory pressure.


Contact STEVENS For Your Construction Needs

It's an exciting time to be in the civil or commercial construction industry.

If you're looking to start a new construction project, you can turn to STEVENS.

Backed by over 75 years of quality, commitment, and experience, STEVENS strives to be the preferred industrial engineer and constructor of choice.

STEVENS works to provide its customers with the best services possible.

To learn more about how STEVENS can help with your civil construction project, click on the button below to see what they can do for you.



Check out our other civil construction articles:

How Can You Reduce Construction Delays?

What Is The Difference Between Commercial and Industrial Construction?

How To Overcome Remote Work Challenges In Construction


About The Author


I'm Ben Sparhawk, the Content Writer and Marketing Account Manager for the esteemed STEVENS company. As someone passionate about crafting captivating content, I take great pride in creating pieces that highlight STEVENS' capabilities and communicate the depth and breadth of their outstanding work.

In my role, I'm constantly striving to develop messaging that resonates with our clients and effectively showcases the exceptional work that we do here at STEVENS. I believe that communication is the key to success, and I work tirelessly to ensure our marketing efforts are engaging and informative.

When I'm not working, I often spend time with my three wonderful children. Becoming a dad is one of the best things that has happened to me, and I love every moment I get to spend with my wife and kids. You can also find me in the gym, trying to better myself, and I also enjoy spending time outdoors hiking or checking out local parks.