Building Homes or Extensions/Question....


Good day
Good day
What are the main difference with reference to constructing a small commercial building vs a residential building?
If one is interested in learning to build small commercial buildings what are good practical books and resources to study?

Sam, I notice you are in San Fernando that is NOT in California.  Would Trinidad Tobago be considered as being in the Caribbean?  I must inform you that I am not familiar with either residential or commercial work in your area, but I may be able to give you some ideas.  I did a bit of looking around San Fernando on Google, what a beautiful setting.

All building is the same in my opinion, the difference between residential and commercial has more to do with the customer.  The consequences of mistakes just get more major as the size and scope of work increases.  Good building requires good design and engineering assembled by good craftsmen who care about what they build.  This is true whether you build a dog house, a school, a cathedral, or a multistory high rise.  A good craftsman or builder is an accumulation of mistakes he has overcome.  If you have ever built anything that didn't start with level and square, you learn quickly how difficult it is to overcome the problems created by bad beginnings.  The hours and dollars spent can never be recovered and the ultimate project is often flawed.  Until you have had a bad experience you do not understand how crucial early simple decisions are, each project you complete will add to this list of "I'll sure never let this happen to me again" items.  If you have ever worked with a good craftsman who wants to teach you, he will often tell stories about these mistakes - learn from them.

You don't tell your age or what trade interests you.  I'm guessing you are or want to be a contractor.  In the US, there are college courses about building.  They will help you understand the building business - banking, contracts, legalities, terminology, and computer usage. Courses on methods and materials can give you scientific and mathematical background in steel, concrete, glass, paint, and the other things that go into making a building.  There are successful people who make a good living with this knowledge and hiring the other people to do the work.  I think you are talking more about being one of people who know how to do the work.  Sadly, you cannot be a craftsman without the work, the mistakes, the experience, and the successes.

A good construction superintendent understands and can often perform almost all the trades from the shovel to start the building to using the computer to send the final bill.  This knowledge gives him the ability to monitor the quality of work and materials used by each subcontractor and provide an on-time and on-budget project.

I don't know if I answered you at all.  Please feel free to ask me a more detailed question.

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Dan Griffin


I can answer almost all questions related to the total construction process. My expertise is in commercial construction, though I can field most any residential question. I have hands on experience in concrete, heavy equipment, masonry, all phases of carpentry, interior finishes, and I am fairly strong in mechanical and electrical.


I have over 20 years experience as a commercial carpenter and commercial construction superintendent. I have another 20 years experience in facility management for a major school district.

My favorite hobby for he past 12 years has been singing bass in a The OkChorale men's barbershop chorus and the Mature Moments quartet.

I hold a Bachelor's degree in English and Math. I have completed many continuing education hours in the building trades. I hold a Master Carpenter card from the AGC, Associated General Contractors.

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