The start of any commercial construction project is always exciting. There are plans to draw, decisions to make, and details to finalize. This initial stage of the process can be one of the most fun parts of the build, but it can also be overwhelming and get out of hand if you’re not careful.

No one sets out to make a boring or ugly building. Everyone wants a building that’s inviting and an accurate representation of the company’s culture and status. However, when trying to create the perfect building, wants can sometimes start to look like needs. So, what’s the best way to keep everything in perspective and on budget? To answer that question, we’ve created this list of tips.

Start Early

One of the best ways to separate needs from wants is to hire a qualified commercial contractor as soon as possible. Any commercial contractor worth their salt will be able to look at the scope of the project and let you know if your budget is realistic. This might not be news you want to hear, but it’s better to hear it earlier so you can adjust if necessary. By cutting costs in the preliminary stages of the project it might free up some money to add a few items from the want list later down the road.


Once your contractor has outlined what features you can and can’t afford with your budget, you can start prioritizing the list of features you can’t currently afford. If there’s anything on this list you think is vital to the functionality of the new building, you can either try to increase the budget or substitute it for a feature that’s currently on the need list. If you decide the project can proceed without having to make any adjustments, this prioritized list can serve as a growth roadmap of features you can add on later.

Get Feedback

Asking the other people who will be using the building what they think is absolutely necessary is a terrific way to determine if a feature is a need or a want. Try to talk with people who will use the building in different ways so you can get well-rounded feedback.

Knowing your needs from wants is a struggle in the majority of commercial construction projects. At Cowen Construction, we can assist clients in prioritizing features and finding cost cutting measures that can allow for more features to be included in the project.