Residential, Commercial, or Industrial?

Residential, Commercial, or Industrial?


While it may be easy for you to tell when your project is residential or commercial, it actually makes a big difference during engineering. There are many differences for designing residential, commercial, and industrial projects, and sometimes these differences can even get in the way of what should be a simple project. Read on to learn about the differences and how you can get ahead of any possible zoning problems in your project.

So just what does each term mean? To start of, residential buildings can be single family homes, duplexes, apartments, or condominiums. Basically, anywhere people live. These are by definition residences. Commercial buildings are workplaces, such as offices, stores, or other distinctive structures used in and for businesses or commerce. Industrial buildings are usually factory or warehouse buildings, where stuff is made or stored for industries. They all have different requirements based on the building code.

There are other differences between commercial, industrial residential that also must be considered. One of these is size distinctions. An industrial building is going to be larger than a single-family home. As such, engineers must keep that in consideration while designing. The differing sizes means that different materials may be used. Perhaps a different style of foundation. Also, there is a distinct difference in materials used for residential and commercial construction. Residential construction relies on cost-effective materials suitable for smaller buildings. Housebuilders often use inexpensive yet sturdy timber frames for the structure of residential buildings. Larger and taller commercial buildings, however, require steel frames for a more resilient, sturdy structure.

Other differences are the clientele. A residential structure may be designed directly for the home owner with all their personal touches. But a commercial or industrial project may be designed by a company, looking for cookie cutter plans that they can re-use all over the country. The clients of a residential project will usually have different priorities than a commercial or industrial project. As such, the engineer must know how to work with each type of client in order to ensure the differing priorities are met.

One of the last differences is costs. While a one of a kind home may have a big price sticker up front, the designs used in industrial projects are typically more expensive. This is due to all the additional calculations and design work needed to fit the requirements of the equipment and machine used in the industrial field. Also, with commercial design, the engineers may charge for the initial design for the first building, but they will also charge a fee to re-use the design for replica buildings in different towns or states. This is because the code changes with each locality and as such, the plans must be revised and updated each time they are used for a new project, even if the design does not change. The cost differences can vary quite a bit between the three different types of projects.

ORB is happy to provide structural engineering for residential, commercial, and industrial projects. Whether you want to build one home, or 100 offices, ORB can get you the design you need. Give us a call today to discuss your next project.

More to come soon.