One of the most common questions construction managers receive is, “How long will my commercial construction project take to complete?” While the question is valid, it can be difficult to know how long a project will take to complete when the construction process depends on so many moving parts. 

So what does a construction plan even consist of and what factors influence a construction timeline? Read on to learn what determines how long your project will take. 

How Collaboration Affects the Timeline

Collaborators must get on the same page regarding realistic wants and needs. Formal plans and documents must be drafted and agreed upon and necessary equipment and materials must be ordered —, this is just a glimpse of the beginning stages. 

Throughout the entire commercial construction process, incremental collaborators submit and perform their project parts. These collaborators are teams of engineers, designers, subcontractors, and suppliers. The list may be larger or smaller depending upon the confirmed scope of work, and these key players all impact construction timelines. 

The scope of work also details key aspects of the commercial project like size, unique building requirements, and accommodations, increasing project length. 

Construction managers and their collaborating counterparts are also at the mercy of unforeseen circumstances that may arise during the construction of a commercial project like supply issues, inclement weather, and injury. This is one of the reasons why hiring a construction manager to oversee construction operations is so crucial. CM’s can ensure a seamless transition from the beginning planning stages to the completion of the commercial project.  

Below are general commercial construction steps and timelines, followed by factors that influence these projections. 

Construction Schedule and Timeline

A typical construction schedule includes the following events.

Project Specifications

It may seem obvious but project specs directly impact how and when different portions of the construction process occur… There is no real standardized construction project. Even if the same plans are being used, some variables will always change from project to project. Things like the size of commercial projects and the type of construction required influence the length of the project. Interested parties must also consider that the construction process builds upon itself and each step must be completed properly to ensure safety and structural competency.

Unique Features

When thinking about the proposed size of a commercial space, consider whether or not there are unique features which need to be incorporated, specific accommodations, or design elements that may take a little longer to complete. If there are, the general contractor may need to recruit additional support and schedule separate inspections to ensure these features are done correctly, safely, and up to code.

Spatial Changes

A space’s applied changes also play a large role in timeline construction. Below are a few questions to help you understand what the first stages of construction can involve depending on what the initial canvas looks like that makes up the commercial property: 

Tasks like clearing property, major demolition, and renovation requirements involving AC, plumbing, and foundation work all represent projects requiring serious planning, preparation, and logistics. 

Number of Collaborators Involved

Collaboration on construction projects ensures that the experts in the field are the ones completing industry-specific tasks. For example, engineers, architects, and designers all have specialized skills, technology, and experience to provide detailed plans to be used and referenced for the duration of the commercial construction project. 

Subcontractors are also key collaborators and bring their industry expertise and knowledge of building and installation codes as well as insurance and warranty requirements. Subcontractors include plumbers, drywall installers, electricians, roofers, the list goes on, again, depending on the scope of work. 

The number of collaborators can affect the time it takes to move on to the next steps of a project and also how many people have to agree before a decision is solidified and acted on. 

Unforeseeable Factors

CM Experience 

There are common yet unforeseeable factors that can also slow the construction process, which is why hiring an experienced construction manager is imperative to keep operations running smoothly. Knowledgeable CM’s with years of experience, a trusted team of consultants, and relationships with local industry professionals can make tough decisions quickly to keep the project moving forward.


Inclement weather is a huge factor to consider when deciding when and where a commercial building will be constructed. From snow to hurricanes, projects can be prolonged, sites may be damaged, and materials may perform in-optimally in certain climates. 


There also may be supply chain delays depending on when and where the materials are being shipped from. When materials take longer to make and or be shipped to their desired location, the construction process will most likely be placed on hold until these materials arrive. 

Construction Worker Availability

Construction workers also play an incremental role in the construction process. After all, they often complete the bulk of the actual building. If a construction worker is ill or injured in an unforeseen construction site accident, accommodations must be made until it is safe for the employee to return to work. 

Finally, it’s important to note that there may also be slow-downs during the hiring process when CM’s are searching for qualified construction workers due to potential workforce shortages. Although the building process may push forward without a preferred number of workers, it will be far less efficient and take longer to complete.

Trust the Process and Trust Your Construction Manager 

As mentioned above, hiring an experienced CM with connections to the right experts is the best way to ensure your commercial construction project will be completed in a timely, efficient and safe manner. 

Call Decker Construction today at (352) 448-1428, or visit our website to schedule a time to discuss your next commercial project!