When you decide you need more space for your commercial business or need to expand to another location, you have the choice between ground-up construction or commercial renovation. While there are similarities between the 2 processes, there are also some distinct differences. At Decker Construction, we’ve served the Gainesville area as well as North Central Florida customers for decades and helped them meet their commercial construction needs. Read on to learn more about ground-up construction and renovation and what you can expect with each. 

Comparing Ground-Up Commercial Construction and Renovation 

First, ground-up construction is the process of building from scratch an entirely new structure on a cleared lot. This, of course, includes using raw materials to build new foundations, framing, and walls, to name just a few.  

On the other hand, commercial renovation involves modifying your existing building structures to accommodate your business’s needs. The foundation will remain intact, but interior walls may be moved or removed to change the floor plan. This is generally the more cost-effective and timelier option. 

Design Flexibility

This factor may be one of the most important you can consider when deciding between ground-up construction and renovation. When you choose ground-up construction, you are fairly unlimited regarding your design choices. You can turn your company’s site into whatever you want it to be. If you choose commercial renovation, you’re constrained by the structural elements of the existing building, where retrofitting can make some design concessions necessary. 


Determining where you want your business’s buildings to ultimately end up should also be a crucial consideration. You may not be able to find a vacant lot that suits your company’s needs, so in that case, you may want to look at renovating existing buildings. 

Regulatory Compliance  

You may think that renovating an existing building would be straightforward as far as regulations and building codes go, but if you go this route, you may be subject to industry-specific rules or the requirement to make your entire building Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, which can be complex and costly. Building from the ground up lets you predict these factors rather than retroactively having to address them. 


If you’re interested in adding energy-efficient or upgraded features to your building, it’s far easier to bake those into your ground-up design rather than only adding them at renovation, which could be impractical or extremely difficult  for an older building 

Commercial Permitting

Securing permits for a renovation project is usually less complicated than with navigating the permitting process with ground-up construction. In fact, some renovation projects may not require permitting, depending on the scope. 

Hazardous Materials 

When renovating an older building, you may be confronted with hazardous materials like asbestos. Mitigating and removing these hazards can add cost to your project budget and extend the timeline. But, even vacant lots can host contaminants like toxic waste or unsuitable soils. A site analysis can help identify any issues before you decide to renovate or construct from the ground-up. 

Commercial Construction Cost

Your budget will likely play a significant role in determining whether you go with renovating an existing building or constructing from the ground up. Generally speaking, renovating costs less than new construction and is phased out, so the cost is spread over a longer period. But if budget is not a make or break factor for you, ground-up construction may suit your needs best. 

Another cost consideration is property taxes. Ground-up construction is much higher than renovation, particularly in areas like Gainesville with higher property tax rates. 

Decker Is Your Experienced Commercial Construction Partner 

As you can see, there are pros and cons to ground-up construction and renovation, so it’s important to engage the services of a team that can provide you with expert guidance on which will work better for your business’s needs and the quality commercial construction management that brings your project to completion successfully. 

At Decker Construction, we have experience in ground-up construction and renovation on a wide variety of buildings, including level 3 biohazard facilities. We build relationships with our customers based on trust and expertise. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we go above and beyond to serve our customers.