5 Minute Read

Maximizing ROI on DFW Commercial Construction Projects

Written by
Mike Mourton
Published on
February 16, 2024


‍In the competitive landscape of Dallas-Fort Worth's (DFW) commercial construction industry, maximizing return on investment (ROI) is crucial for developers. This article delves into effective strategies to optimize ROI, covering cost-saving design tips, efficient project management practices, and insights tailored for the DFW market.

[Insert Image: Skyline of Dallas-Fort Worth with construction cranes]

Understanding the DFW Market for Strategic Planning

‍A deep understanding of the DFW market is essential for making informed decisions that impact ROI. Developers should analyze local real estate trends, demographic shifts, and economic forecasts to identify profitable construction opportunities and avoid over-saturated markets.

For example, as of 2023, the commercial real estate market in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area presents some notable trends and conditions, including:

  • Leadership in Commercial Sales: Despite experiencing a significant year-over-year decline, Dallas-Fort Worth led the nation in commercial real estate investment through the first nine months of 2023, with $13.2 billion in transactions. This figure surpassed the investment numbers of other major cities like Los Angeles. The decline in investment activity is partly attributed to high interest rates and challenges in the office sector due to remote work trends. The bulk of DFW's commercial property investments was in apartment sales, followed by industrial deals and retail transactions​​.
  • Top Market for Investment: Commercial real estate investors have ranked Dallas-Fort Worth as the number one market for investment among the top U.S. metros. This preference is driven by the shift towards high-performing secondary markets, especially in the Sun Belt regions, which are favored for their strong job and population growth prospects. The multifamily and industrial sectors are the most sought-after investment areas, with a significant preference for traditional multifamily investments​​.

[Insert Image: Market analysis graphs and maps of DFW]

Cost-Saving Design Innovations

‍Innovative design can significantly reduce construction costs without compromising quality. Techniques like modular construction, energy-efficient designs, and the use of sustainable materials not only save money upfront but also reduce long-term operational costs.

Modular construction, demonstrated to great effect by the gate replacement project at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, offers numerous sustainability benefits. It generates less waste than traditional construction methods, as much of the construction is offsite in manufacturing plants where excess materials can be recycled and reused. Additionally, modular construction projects can utilize renewable green materials, such as recycled steel and bamboo, which have lower environmental impacts compared to traditional materials. 

What’s more, modular construction allows for a faster building process—often 20% to 50% quicker than conventional methods. This efficiency leads to cost savings and has been particularly beneficial in promoting affordable housing. Moreover, controlled working environments in modular construction avoid weather delays and offer cleaner and safer working conditions

[Insert Image: Innovative modular construction project in DFW]

Efficient Project Management for Cost Control

‍Effective project management is key to keeping construction projects within budget and on schedule. There are several critical strategies and practices for managing construction costs effectively, namely: 

  • Accurate Cost Estimation: Before the project begins, conduct a thorough and realistic estimation of costs. This includes not only direct costs like materials and labor but also indirect costs such as administrative expenses and equipment rental. Utilizing software tools for cost estimation can improve accuracy.
  • Detailed Project Planning: Develop a comprehensive project plan that outlines all aspects of the project, including timelines, resources, materials, and labor requirements. A well-defined plan helps in anticipating potential issues and preparing contingency plans.
  • Effective Budget Management: Monitor the budget closely throughout the project. Regular budget reviews allow for early detection of cost overruns and the opportunity to make adjustments before they escalate.
  • Change Order Management: Change orders are inevitable in construction projects, but they need to be managed effectively. Establish a clear process for reviewing, approving, and implementing change orders, and assess their impact on the overall budget and timeline.
  • Procurement Strategy & Labor Management: Develop a strategic approach to procurement. This includes negotiating favorable terms with suppliers, bulk purchasing where feasible, and timely procurement to avoid rush charges. Efficient labor management, including proper scheduling and avoiding overtime unless absolutely necessary, can significantly control labor costs.
  • Lean Construction Practices: Lean construction principles minimize waste and maximize value. This approach focuses on efficient use of resources, elimination of waste, and continuous improvement.

[Insert Image: Project manager overseeing a construction site with digital tablet]

Leveraging Technology for Enhanced Efficiency

‍Incorporating technology like Building Information Modeling (BIM), drone surveys, and automated machinery can streamline construction processes, enhance accuracy, and reduce labor costs, contributing to higher ROI.

BIM software in particular represents a transformative technology in the construction industry, offering a collaborative approach to the design and management of building projects. BIM software allows for detailed 3D modeling of a construction project, providing a clear visual representation of the building before construction begins. This visualization helps in making informed decisions and detecting potential design issues early. The software also streamlines the planning and design process, reducing the time required for drafting and reworking plans. This efficiency translates into shorter project timelines and cost savings.

And speaking of costs: With BIM, cost estimations are more accurate, as the model provides a detailed representation of the building, allowing for precise calculations of materials, labor, and other costs. It's a significant step forward in digitalizing the construction industry, leading to smarter, faster, and more cost-effective project delivery.

[Insert Image: BIM model on a computer screen with construction site in background]

Navigating Regulatory Compliance to Avoid Unforeseen Costs

‍Staying abreast of DFW's construction regulations and building codes is crucial. Non-compliance can lead to costly fines, which can be substantial, depending on the severity of the violation and the specific regulations involved. Non-compliance can also lead to work stoppages or delays. Correcting compliance issues often requires additional time and resources, which can push back project timelines and increase costs.

Developers should invest in thorough compliance checks throughout the project lifecycle—and choose a construction partner that’s known to be well-versed in local codes and regulations, and that has a reputation for prioritizing regulatory compliance as part of its risk-management strategy.

[Insert Image: Construction legal documents and DFW building codes]


‍Maximizing ROI in DFW's commercial construction market requires a multipronged approach to each project. By understanding the market, employing cost-saving designs, managing projects efficiently, leveraging technology, and ensuring regulatory compliance, developers can achieve successful outcomes with optimal financial returns.

[Insert Image: Successful commercial construction project in DFW with financial charts indicating ROI]

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Mike Mourton
Managing Partner, Ashton Commercial Construction

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