Ground-up construction projects start with an undeveloped portion of land and work step by step towards a finished building. This can be an attractive route to take for your construction project because it gives you the flexibility to design a space that meets your needs. Whether it’s a design that appeals more to your clientele, or a specifically required floorplan, starting from a blank slate can be a more effective method to get your desired result.

However, with all the freedom and customization it brings, commercial ground-up construction projects tend to be more costly than other construction project types. By starting from scratch, you have to build everything. Compared to commercial remodeling or build-out, there are no pre-existing walls or foundations for you to work off. That’s why it’s important, especially in ground-up construction, to have an idea of what a development project entails from start to finish. Our team finds that the simplest way to do this is to divide each project into three, distinct phases.

Pre-Construction Phase

The pre-construction phase takes some time, as it entails many questions that need answers and proposals that need approval. This phase mainly focuses on due diligence, research, planning, and permitting. It is smart to first assess local community plans, bylaws, and development and planning policies before investing not only money but time in the planning of your building.

Some common steps taken in this phase include:

  • Market analysis and feasibility studies
  • Land or property acquisition
  • Environmental assessments and surveys
  • Concept plans
  • Site plans, development plans, and building plans
  • Permitting
  • Construction financing
  • Value engineering
  • Project bidding
  • Construction schedule & timeline determination


The construction phase involves the implementation of the plans proposed in the pre-construction phase. Having the details already planned out lowers the project risks during this phase. This is the most exciting phase of the project, as you are finally on-site and able to see your plans come to life. Subcontractors will complete tasks hired to do as testing for quality control is initiated. If you’re not building for your own use, it’s common to start marketing the property and initiating the leasing process during this phase.

Common ground-up construction subcontracting services include but are not limited to:

  • Earthwork and excavation
  • Demolition
  • Foundation
  • Structural steel
  • Insulation
  • Electrical and plumbing
  • Walls/flooring
  • Windows/doors


The last phase of a development project is the post-construction phase or operating phase. While this phase is the last for development, it also serves as the first stage of the building’s life. Before the facility goes live to the public, meticulous testing should be done to confirm the functionality and quality of the building meet the expectations defined in the project plan.

Common elements of this phase include:

  • Final inspection
  • Punch list
  • Title Registration
  • Hiring and training of the management team
  • Receive certificate of completion
  • Ongoing marketing and leasing
  • Move-in and opening day
  • Sale closings (if applicable)

View from the Ground Up

“Ground-up Construction, is probably the most fulfilling task we accomplish,” notes Vice President of Construction, Joe Difatta. “You take a bare piece of land and build a structure in its place. Then, the stone comes in for the parking lots, along with the dirt for the trees and bushes, mulch, and plants are installed. The final surface asphalt is laid and then stripped, the place gets cleaned. Finally, you have completed the project. There is a feeling that everyone who has worked on these types of projects feels, whether it’s your first or thirty first, a sense of pride that comes over you, it is hard to explain, but it’s there. The Grand Opening signs are installed, and you hand over the keys to the owner with a smile. You will always be able to drive by and know that you were a part of the team that worked on that building. Construction workers build America, that is just what we do.”

The key to a smooth ground-up construction project is choosing the right general contractor from the start. You want to hire someone experienced and reliable, and whose work speaks for itself.  Contact us today to discuss your next project with one of our construction experts.