What Are the Key Differences in Commercial Construction and Residential? 

Commercial construction and commercial building are an industry that refers to the creation of commercial buildings, which can range in size, function and overall scope.

While commercial building projects themselves can vary significantly, there are a lot of unique requirements that must be adhered to in commercial construction.

Best Commercial Building Contractors in The US

AwardEmblem: Top 6 Best Commercial Building Contractors in the U.S.

For example, there are code requirements in commercial building that residential contractors don’t have to consider, such as certain handicap, egress, and fire safety regulations. There are also more complex mechanical systems that are integrated into commercial building processes, and many projects worked on by commercial building contractors also require things like fireproofing, which isn’t usually required for a residential project.

Something else that’s unique to commercial construction and commercial building compared to residential projects is the materials and finishes used, such as acoustic ceilings in commercial projects and drywall ceilings in residential homes.

The following is a ranking of the country’s top commercial contractors and commercial construction companies, based on factors like size, revenue, areas of expertise, and high-profile projects completed.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Commercial Contractors

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that commercial building company):

Top 6 Best Commercial Construction Companies | Brief Comparison

Top Commercial Building Contractors


Key Benefit

Balfour Beatty USDallas, TexasUtilize the SmartStart system to improve efficiency throughout projects
Bechtel CorpSan Francisco, CaliforniaHas completed more than 25,000 projects during their long history
DPR ConstructionRedwood City, CaliforniaFollows smart practices for efficiency of schedule and building construction costs, along with quality
Hensel Phelps ConstructionGreeley, ColoradoIntegrates advanced technology for more successful project management and results
KiewitOmaha, NebraskaHas a large team of LEED-certified specialists
Turner ConstructionNew York, New YorkResponsible for high-profile projects like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Table: Top 6 Best Commercial Construction Companies | Above list is sorted alphabetically

Commercial Construction Trends in 2017

Trends in commercial construction are often unique from residential trends, and they’re affected by factors ranging from politics to the overall economy.

commercial construction companies

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Some of the trends expected to affect commercial construction and commercial construction companies for the remainder of 2017 and into the next year include:

  • Growth: Most estimates show that construction building in the commercial construction sector will grow significantly through 2018. Construction spending is expected to grow quite a bit in general, and this includes nonresidential spending. Along with general construction spending, one area that’s likely to see even more growth, in particular, is spending on highway and street construction, largely because of increased government funding for infrastructure projects.
  • Technology: Technology trends that are relevant to commercial construction companies and commercial building contractors in 2017 include augmented reality and virtual reality, which allow for improved visualization of projects and more collaboration. VR can be used by architects and engineers, but also on the construction site itself.
  • Modular Construction: Modular construction isn’t a new concept, but it’s relatively novel within the commercial construction arena. Modular construction is just starting to take hold in terms of popularity for commercial building projects, and there have been some high-profile projects, including the residential 461 Dean tower in New York.

Finally, another key element that is shaping trends for commercial building and commercial construction is a labor shortage. Many firms are having a tough time finding labor, and that’s not likely to dissipate anytime soon.

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AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Commercial Building Contractors

Below, please find the detailed review of each of the commercial contractors. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these commercial building contractors to score so well in our selection ranking.

Balfour Beatty Construction Review

Balfour Beatty Construction was founded in 1933, is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and is led by CEO Ray Bond. This commercial building company’s parent company is Balfour Beatty, which is located in London.

Key Features of This Company That Led to Its Ranking as One of the Best Commercial Construction Companies

Some of the key reasons Balfour Beatty Construction is included on this list of commercial general contractors and industrial construction companies are below.


As one of the top commercial contractors and commercial construction companies in the U.S. and the world, Balfour Beatty strives to put their focus on innovation and continuous improvements. This commercial construction firm has innovation and technology teams that focus on research, development, and integration of best practices.

They incorporate new technology and processes to make sure clients receive better quality, more efficiency, and more cost-friendly solutions.

They also have a process that focuses on meeting Zero Waste goals.


SmartStart is a process driving projects at Balfour Beatty, one of the leaders among construction building firms and commercial builders. SmartStart is a comprehensive process that focuses on key elements including aligning behaviors and values, integrated project planning, custom process design, and thoughtful development of the systems that will support the project.

This approach was put in place to address issues in commercial building that often lead to inefficiency.

Industry Expertise

One of the big reasons Balfour Beatty is included on this list of commercial builders and industrial construction companies is because they have a wide range of commercial building and construction building industry expertise. Some of the sectors where Balfour Beatty has proven experience and expertise include:

  • Civic
  • Corporate offices
  • Federal
  • Green building
  • Healthcare
  • Higher education
  • Hospitality
  • K-12 education
  • Military housing
  • Multifamily housing
  • Research and labs
  • Retail
  • Transportation

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Bechtel Corporation Review

The Bechtel Corporation is an engineering, project management, and construction company with headquarters in San Francisco, California.

Key Features of This Selection for One of the Top Commercial Contractors

Primary reasons Bechtel is included on this list of top industrial construction companies and commercial building contractors are below.

Company Size

Much of this ranking is about looking at the largest commercial building contractors in the U.S., and Bechtel is among those. It was founded in 1898, and since that time, this commercial construction firm has completed over 25,000 projects around the world. They also have four global businesses, including Infrastructure, Nuclear, Security & Environmental, Oil, Gas & Chemicals, and Mining and Metal.

The Bechtel team includes 55,000 worldwide professionals, and they had more than $32 billion in revenue in 2015.

Featured Projects

Bechtel has one of the largest and most distinctive portfolios in the commercial building industry. Some of their featured projects right now include:

  • Alma Aluminum Smelter — Quebec, Canada
  • Arnold Engineering Development Complex — Tennessee, Maryland and California
  • Athens Metro — Greece
  • Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) — California
  • Channel Tunnel — England-France


Along with goals like keeping building construction costs low, Bechtel also adheres to many values and standards of operation, including a dedication to innovation.

Bechtel is utilizing technology, automation, data integration, and virtual reality to provide new opportunities in construction building, procurement, and engineering.

DPR Construction Review

DPR Construction is a firm of commercial general contractors and a construction management firm in Redwood City, California.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Commercial Contractors in the U.S.

DPR Construction is included on this list of commercial company building firms and commercial general contractors for reasons highlighted below.

About the Company

DPR is one of the leaders among commercial building contractors, having been ranked in the top 50 general contractors in the U.S. since 1997. This national commercial building construction firm works with clients to create the right strategies for them, and they track their performance to ensure continual and constant improvement.

DPR has also been well-ranked based on specific market sectors, including telecommunications, industrial, domestic building/manufacturing, and new contracts.

Core Markets

DPR, one of the top commercial general contractors and construction building firms, has some core markets they focus on with their services.

These include advanced technology, commercial corporate campuses, healthcare, higher education, and life sciences.

These are all areas this construction building firm has proven expertise in and can deliver results while meeting expectations such as building construction costs.


The DPR team has honed their expertise within the framework of sophisticated facility requirements and fast-paced business environments. They recognize the importance of using the right people at the right time, following thoughtful processes, and eliminating waste while maximizing resources. They also use smart building methods, which include:

  • Collaborative virtual building
  • Sustainable construction
  • Preconstruction
  • Special services group
  • Self-perform work
  • Safety

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Hensel Phelps Construction Review

Hensel Phelps is located in Greeley, Colorado, and is one of the largest contractors and construction managers in the U.S. This construction building firm can work with clients through each step of planning, building and managing a wide variety of projects.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Best Commercial Building Contractors

Hensel Phelps is included on this list of commercial contractors and commercial construction companies for reasons highlighted below.

Management Process

As one of the best commercial construction companies and commercial builders in the U.S., Hensel Phelps has experience and insight that allows them to provide efficiency and innovation for each engagement. Their philosophy is based on a technology called Building Information Management. This is what allows Hensel Phelps to stay on track with commercial building costs, while also providing expediency and a higher level of quality.

BIM employs concepts of virtual design and construction, and it’s used across projects, including as a building analytical tool, during the production of building design information for pricing, permitting and construction documents, and in the creation of the Building Assembly Model.

The Hensel Phillips Way

Hensel Phillips credits much of their success as commercial general contractors to something called The Hensel Phillips Way. There are four components of this philosophy, which include:

  • Assigning the most talented people to roles and empowering them as decision-makers
  • Providing people with development, project management, financing,2q and public-private partnership expertise
  • Working collaboratively with all key stakeholders, including property owners, local authorities, financial institutions, and facility managers, among others
  • The use of technology for proforma analysis, financial modeling, project management tools, and virtual reality models

Hensel Phelps Construction - commercial contractors


Throughout their long history, this top commercial construction and company building firm has had many high-profile projects and clients.

Some of their clients, which are from many vertical markets, include Bank of America, Fannie Mae, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Marriott, Morgan Stanley, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo, among many others.

Kiewit Corporation Review

The Kiewit Corporation is an employee-owned Fortune 500 construction building firm based in Omaha, Nebraska. This is not only one of the largest industrial construction companies and commercial builders in the U.S., but also the world.   

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Leading Commerical Construction Companies

Regarding commercial builders and commercial general contractors, the following are specifics of why Kiewit is on this list of top commercial contractors.


In terms of being one of the top commercial contractors, Kiewit specializes across several areas. General areas of specialization for this pick for one of the top commercial contractors include general construction, construction management, design-build, design-assist, and turn-key project development.

Specific specialization areas include industrial complexes, education and sports facilities, hotels, hospitals, transportation terminals, science facilities, manufacturing, retail and special-use facilities, and interior construction with tenant improvements.

Over the past ten years, this pick for one of the premier commercial contractors in the U.S. has provided construction services for more than 1,100 vertical construction projects.

Green Building

Concepts of sustainability and green building practices have been key trends throughout the commercial building industry, and they are something most clients want with their commercial building construction projects.

Kiewit has an extensive team of professionals who are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited. They also have more than $1 billion in LEED-certified construction experience, and they make sure that they integrate the best energy-saving features into all of their projects.


Kiewit, a respected commercial building construction firm, has received many awards.

Some of these include being named as one of the top contractors by Engineering News-Record, and one of Forbes’ America’s Best Large Employees. Kiewit is a FORTUNE 500 Company and has been named as one of the best companies to work for by outlets like FORTUNE.

FORTUNE also named Kiewit as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies.

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Turner Construction Company Review

Based in New York, Turner Construction is one of the largest commercial general contractors in the U.S. and is a subsidiary of the German company Hochtief.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Commercial Construction Companies

Among commercial building contractors, this commercial construction firm ranks well for reasons like the ones listed below.

Notable Projects

This company building firm and leader in commercial building construction is responsible for some of the most famous and recognizable projects in the world.

These projects include:

  • Madison Square Garden Transformation in New York
  • Whitney Museum of American Art in New York
  • Hearst Tower in New York
  • Torre BBVA Bancomer in Mexico City
  • Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care in Philadelphia
  • The Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Lean Construction

In an effort to keep building construction costs low while meeting other standards, Turner uses a lean management approach. As part of this, their culture encourages collaboration, reliability in scheduling, and making efforts to deliver the most possible value for clients. Lean principles are used from pre-construction and throughout the entirety of the project.

Objectives include eliminating waste and utilizing reliable workflows, while also focusing on continuous improvement.


Turner, one of the best commercial construction firms and company building firms in the world, puts a lot of emphasis on innovation as well.

They have the Turner Learning Tree, which is an online platform connecting employees to a library of Great Practices.

Turner also holds a yearly Innovation Summit so employees can come together and work together on best practices, and they recognize innovative solutions created by employees through the Turner Construction Company Award for Innovation.

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Conclusion — Top 6 Best Commercial Construction Companies

Each of the commercial building contractors on this ranking of the top commercial contractors in the U.S. has some things in common. First, they’re among the largest commercial building contractors in the country and often the world.

They’re also responsible for large-scale noteworthy company building projects around the world.

These commercial contractors also have reputations for being innovators in the commercial building construction industry.

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Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

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