“When your office lease expires, opting to stay in place and upgrade your existing space can yield significant savings. However, successfully achieving such cost reduction requires careful attention to and management of a wide variety of issues in what can be a complex project process.”
These TIPS WILL HELP ENSURE A SMOOTH TRANSITION DURING AND AFTER YOUR OFFICE UPGRADE.
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
Before renovating your space, make certain that relocating isn’t a better option. Develop an understanding of your total space requirements with your architect or designer based upon factors such as growth and desired future functionality.
MAKE ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENTS
Unless you have temporary quarters available, it will be necessary to vacate parts of your space and conduct multiple “mini projects” in successive phases. It’s important that this phasing strategy be considered from the outset of the design process.
ESTABLISH BUDGET CONTINGENCIES
Truthfully, the total cost of a project can’t be fully known until all the work is done. For new construction projects, a rule of thumb is to start with a 10 percent design contingency in the budget, which may be reduced as the work is developed. Retaining existing layouts and refurbishing items such as doors and wall and floor finishes where feasible is a primary method of scope control.
COMMUNICATE AND MANAGE EXPECTATIONS
In many ways, the positive perception of a renovation project by the occupants is as important as the implementation of the work itself. Any change in a workplace brings with it potential anxieties, particularly when the impact is not well understood. Presenting plans, renderings, and sample boards to the broader staff to communicate the vision and intent of the renovations is a good way to get the news out and dispel concerns.
INVESTIGATE ALL SITE CONDITIONS
A challenge with modifying a built-out space is that many conditions (primarily related to infrastructure) that can impact the work are concealed and cannot be easily observed. Ideally, the owner should provide a complete set of architectural and engineering ‘as-built’ documents. If these are incomplete or not in existence, it’s usually worthwhile to incur the expense of a site survey to create them.
IDENTIFY THE RIGHT CONSTRUCTION STRATEGY
Bringing the space designer and general contractor on board early in the process can be advantageous. The benefits include the ability to realistically assess the feasibility of proposed phasing and sequencing, or even to recommend different methods than the design team might come up with on its own.
LEVERAGE THE CONTRACTOR’S FIELD REPRESENTATIVE
For in-place renovations involving substantive construction on more than one floor or in multiple phases, it’s worthwhile to consider having the contractor provide on-site representation with a full-time field superintendent or project manager. Above and beyond the normal requirements for administration of the work, this professional can serve as a useful representative.
While every job is different and each has its unique set of circumstances, some portion of these items will be applicable to most in-place renovation projects. Taking the time to become aware of the issues and assembling a competent team of professionals to advise on, design, and execute the work with them in mind will maximize your chances for a successful outcome. For more on the topic see Erik Hodgetts’ “Seven Stephan to Surviving your Office Renovation”
PUREALCHEMY DESIGN is an award-winning expert in the realm of commercial space design.
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