What’s the plan? Important factors to consider when planning for a commercial building

When Conform Developments begins a new commercial building project, a robust and detailed plan is developed well before the first hole is dug.  Because whether it’s a new building, an upgrade, a renovation, a rebrand or a fitout, planning is vital to a successful result. 

What are the most important factors to consider when conducting commercial building planning? We’ll provide a brief outline in this news article.

Commercial building planning – key factors

Stakeholders and end users

For most commercial building projects, there will be a number of stakeholders involved. Meeting the needs of the key stakeholders is paramount. 

However, the stakeholders may not be the people who will ultimately use the facility. These end users should be considered carefully during commercial building planning. Creating a functional and pleasant environment for them is vital. 

For Conform Developments, for example, our key stakeholders are usually the brands we work with. Companies such as Shell, BP and Viva Energy Australia. While the end users are generally the staff who will work in the facility and the customers who will shop there.

Providing a comfortable, clean, stylish, well-organised, spacious and pleasant environment for workers is always important, particularly in the current environment. It helps your staff and business be more efficient and can assist in staff retention. 

Most importantly, if your commercial building is designed to attract customers, having an aesthetically pleasing and functional environment is a must. It will help encourage customers to visit and return again and again.

For your commercial building planning, always make sure you consider all the key people involved during the process.


The budget is obviously an essential part in any commercial building planning. It will underpin most of your design decisions, so needs to be agreed upon in advance.

When conducting your commercial building planning, it’s important to factor in all expected costs. This is likely to include areas such as materials, labour, consultants and government planning and approval costs. 

It’s often wise to maintain a small percentage of the budget for contingencies. While careful commercial building planning provide for all costings, unforeseen expenses can occur on any project.

If budget is tight, there are ways of reducing the cost of commercial buildings without compromising on the design or the overall result. For example, the use of pre-fabricated and modular components that can be assembled quickly on-site. 

Planning approval and other requirements

Every commercial building project is going to require planning and approval from relevant levels of government. It’s vital to understand what approvals you will require for your project. Failure to do so can lead to lengthy delays and cost blowouts. Take a look at the Victorian Building Authority.

The local council in which your commercial building will be located is an excellent starting point in the planning and approval process.

It’s worth remembering that local building approvals may not be the only requirements you’ll need to meet. You may also face cultural, heritage and other planning needs. 

Location and climate

The location of your commercial building is an important consideration during the planning process. 

It can play a significant part in the approvals and permits you’ll need to meet, because all local councils will have different requirements. The location is also important in terms of potential zoning issues and environmental issues. For example, locations that are in bushfire or cyclone zones.  

The climate for the location should also be considered. While all commercial buildings built today should be energy efficient, considerations such as cold, heat, wind and floods need to be factored in.

For many of Conform Development’s clients, the exact location of the commercial building has already been decided. If this is not the case, you also need to plan for this. There are many factors to consider, such as visibility (particularly for retail), ease of access, zoning and services.

Architects, designers, engineers and other consultants

Having professional architects, designers, engineers and other consultants involved in the commercial building planning and throughout the project is vital. As well as being an invaluable player in the process, they’ll help with aspects such as:

  • The latest trends in materials and technologies.
  • The functionality of the building.
  • The aesthetics of the building.
  • Structural engineering aspects.
  • Compliance to regulations.
  • Problem solving issues that can occur throughout the process.

Some architects and designers specialise in different sectors so it’s important to choose those who have the expertise you need.

Commercial building planning summary

There are many people in the commercial building industry that insist that planning is the most important part of the project. And Conform Developments would agree.

Without proper planning, the project is unlikely to be successful. It’s unlikely to meet the needs of the stakeholders and end users. And it’s likely to take longer and cost more to complete.

Can you carry out the commercial building planning yourself? If you have the experience, you might be able to. But most companies will need help.

The best way to ensure that robust and detailed planning is carried out for your next commercial building project is to engage the services of a reputable company. A company with the experience that you can trust to be involved every step of the way, from start to finish.

Conform Developments’ directors have many years’ experience in large industrial, commercial and retail developments. We specialise in service station upgrades, medical buildings, childcare developments and industrial services. 

While new commercial buildings are one of our specialities, we also carry out fitouts, renovations and rebrands. 

Contact Conform Developments today. We can be with you during every part of your commercial building process, including the vital planning phase. 

Scott Traynor

Not one to be pigeon-holed, Scott is a commercial builder, mechanical engineer and a lawyer. He brings 15 years’ experience in large industrial, commercial and retail developments to the business, and is a specialist in development approvals, engineering and commercial building.

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