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What Is the Difference Between Land Development and Construction?


Not all land developers work in construction and not all construction companies offer land development services — though BC can do both for you! With the overlap, we understand how it can be confusing, so we compiled a short guide about what’s the difference between land development and construction?


The Difference Between Development and Construction

Developers make raw land usable for builders to build on. A builder cannot build without a developer, but a developer can develop land without a builder. To put it simply, development is the first step to get a piece of land ready for construction.


Development involves all of the land surveys and assessments, plans out and constructs essential utilities, and ensures all of the permits and zoning ordinances are in place. A builder then goes in and builds everything else.


Let’s break it down even further.


What Does a Land Developer Do?

A land developer takes raw land, obtains the necessary permits and surveys, grading land, creates building lots, and puts in the sewers, the water and electric lines, the streets and curbs. They do not build the main structure. Their job is simply to make sure the land is ready to be built on.


Land developers partner with city councils to ensure the land is constructed in line with zoning laws. When evaluating land for future developments, land developers consider property, economic trends, and zoning ordinances.


They also investigate zoning codes, building regulations, and environmental limitations for land consideration. Land developers must arrange land acquisitions and oversee developers, building firms, and land managers. They apply for areas in which property is rezoned, results studies are conducted, and construction permits are issued.


What Does a Builder Do?

A builder’s job is to handle every stage of your construction project — from the time the foundation is set to the framing, walls, tiling, and roof. In short, a builder builds a structure!


A builder may not be in charge of mechanical details such as electric wiring, plumbing, heating and water sourcing. These can be contracted out and managed by general contractors, which we will briefly go over later in the blog.


There are different types of builders as well.


Production Builders & Custom Builders

Production builders construct a large volume of similar houses every year, in multiple locations and varying markets. Think of these as the “cookie-cutter” homes you see in neighborhoods that follow the same layout and have similar design features.


A custom builder sticks to the specific design of a building architect or designer. Custom houses will never be duplicated.


What Does A General Contractor Do?

The general contractor is the one who ensures everything is up to code and getting done on time. They are usually the main point of contact between the owner and the build team. They manage the build and keep everyone involved focused and maintain the schedule for timely project completion.


It is also the general contractor’s job to come up with the contract for the total cost of construction. They will estimate all the fees depending on the subcontractors, the build’s needs, and the budget.


A general contractor is not to be confused with a regular contractor. They are not the third-party company that comes in to install plumbing, electrical wires, or other mechanical features.


Some Land Developers are Also Builders

In some cases, land developers are also builders. Some companies, such as BC, handle the entire process from conception to reality. If you’re looking to purchase land and build on it, we highly recommend hiring a team that does it all. This ensures nothing falls through the cracks and communication is top-notch between the different teams. It also helps keep you on budget and helps the project stay within the timeline.


If you’re looking for a developer and/or a builder, give us a call at 480-900-1991 or visit us online. We'll be happy to help!


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