As a construction company who has experience in both commercial and industrial construction projects, we’ve noticed some distinct differences between the two in our years.

For a civilian, or someone not trained in construction, you may not see a big difference, but each project presents different and unique challenges and processes.

Industrial vs. Commercial

Industrial and commercial construction includes many different businesses and many different industries like commercial and industrial buildings, land, zoning, products, and more. “Industrial” refers to any business dealing with manufacturing goods. “Commercial” refers to any business done with the sole motive of gaining a profit.

Furthermore, the Oxford dictionary says that industrial is “designed or suitable for use in industry” and that commercial is “concerned or engaged in commerce”.


The design and development of restaurants, offices, shopping centers, retail stores, and hubs of entertainment are dealing with commercial projects. Commercial projects are almost always designed to be aesthetically attractive in order to grab a consumer’s attention.

In addition to the attractive design, commercial sites are typically very well maintained and have a good physical location. Retail centers and offices depend on easy consumer access, good parking, and are usually pedestrian-friendly.

In commercial projects, a contractor may often work with suppliers and subcontractors to meet specific goals. Commercial construction projects may bring in modern design experts who will work with traditional contractors.

Before a commercial site can be ready for business, it must finalize permitting and occupancy requirements that meet local legal requirements.


Industrial is a term used to describe any business that manufactures goods. These businesses could include construction, factories, working with electrical, civil or mechanical processes.

Industrial construction is almost always located on the outskirts of a town. Manufacturing sites factor in the need for special conveyance requirements such as 24/7 shipping and receiving, accessible nearby air or railroad transportation, or access to major highways.

A building design for an industrial plant revolves around floor plans that promote smooth foot traffic and focus on coordinating manufacturing and distribution – these buildings are built for functionality, not style. Industrial buildings are made to support heavy equipment and other equipment that must be made to meet industry-specific regulations.

Industrial projects go through permitting and occupancy requirements to satisfy local entities, just like commercial projects, but these larger industrial projects must meet permitting requirements that comply with many different exacting standards from local, state, and federal agencies.

Industry is the lifeblood of our local economies. When it comes to construction for your business, RE Smith knows how important it is to get the job done fast and get the job done right.

Whether your next project requires industrial or commercial construction caabilities, R.E. Smith Construction offers more than 60 years of experience to offer our clients. From retail stores to banks, from industrial buildings to warehousing, our people are here to build your business. Contact RE Smith Construction at (417) 623-4545 for all your construction needs.