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There are many phases to any construction project, and building a commercial structure is definitely no exception to the rule. Not only are there dozens of necessary steps to go through, but every city is different in terms of what they require, in what sequence they require it, and what your timeline has to be. Any good contractor, especially one that works in commercial building, will be well acquainted with the city inspections office where they work, because that relationship is crucial in being successful in the industry. Here is a very simplified guide to what is generally needed when taking on a commercial project.


The location for a new commercial building is one of the biggest hurdles to jump through. Not only do you want the location to be ideal for business purposes (this will vary depending on the nature of the business), but the zoning for the location is what really matters from the development side of things. Before moving on a property, you will need to have confirmation from the city that the property is zoned for commercial use. If it isn’t, you will want to know what the process is for getting it rezoned or if it is even possible.


A professional survey will need to be completed before an architect is able to start working on the future build. You will likely need completed and approved architectural plans in order to get a building permit, which you will likely need to get any of the other phases of construction started on as well. While every city is different, be aware that each of the permits you order from the city, like the building permit, can take anywhere from 2–6 weeks if everything is submitted together and correctly.

Building Permit and More

While you should confer with your potential architecture agency to confirm what they include in their service, a seasoned commercial architect in your area should include all of the necessary forms and applications like the site plan, certificate of occupancy application, food and beverage permit applications (if it is relevant), and more. These will need to be submitted with the building permit application, and again, every city varies on what is required for each.

Sewage and Traffic Control

Another thing to look into through the city office will be the process of getting the sewer and water tied into the main line. This will likely require a traffic control plan and permit. When the sewer line is being worked on, you will likely have to block off a portion of the street which requires the appropriate signage for redirection (traffic control). The professional traffic control plan you present to the city office will need to be approved, and those permit dates will need to line up with when the sewer tie ins are installed. You might also want to have the right of way permit dates align with the traffic control permit as well. If you need to install an entrance or exit from the street to the property, this has to be permitted by the city as well because it entails changing the sidewalk and curb. Every city has specified requirements for right-of-way permits, and this is necessary for changes to be made to city property.

Key Takeaway

In conclusion, building a commercial building is no small task. It requires careful planning and execution in order to be successful. T.F. Harper & Associates, LP is an experienced construction company that has the knowledge and expertise to help you build your dream commercial building in Austin, TX. Contact us today for all your commercial construction needs!

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