A recent article published in The Guardian shares that improving the visual appeal of a workspace can boost productivity and enhance the image of the organization. Consequently, an increasing number of businesses are looking at renovating their workspaces to improve the aesthetic appeal and/or increase convenience for their employees. However, office renovation projects are extremely challenging as you must deliver quality service in accordance with the timelines set by your clients as every minute spent is a cost in itself.
An office renewal project can involve either a few basic repairs or a complete change in the building structure. A little smart planning can increase your chances of handling an office renovation project successfully within the stipulated timelines.
Here are four commercial construction tips that will help the office renovation process flow smoothly.
- Understand Your Scope of Work and Ask Questions
Is your client planning minor cosmetic modifications or major architectural and structural modifications? A business may choose to renovate its work area for varied reasons. Maybe your client wants to renovate his/her office space as per the building construction code or wants to change the structure merely to suit his/her business requirements.
Talk to your client and understand the drivers of the decision to renovate. He/she may want to upgrade the infrastructure, install a new technology, change the layout for a new tenant, or enhance the aesthetic appeal of the area.
Your client may or may not be the owner of the property. If he/she is renting the office space, you will have to deal with the owner and/or the tenant depending on the nature of the contract.
Before you propose a design for his/her office, listen to your client’s requirements and ask questions to clarify doubts. Discuss the timelines and check for physical and financial barriers, if any. Will you have to renovate the area when the office is occupied or in phases? This is also a good time to assess your client’s budget and see whether or not it will support his/her quality expectations.
Considering the above-mentioned points will help you solidify your project goals and clarify doubts early on.
- Survey the Property and Its Neighborhood
Take time to investigate the site of renovation and the surrounding neighborhood. Organize a meeting with your client and/or the building’s owner and ask for the building’s structure drawings, and other architectural and engineering documents.
You do not want to incur heavy redesign costs or stop/delay the renovation due to unforeseen conditions like a toxic mold due to water seepage, the presence of asbestos, or a weak pillar that can collapse when the work is on. Involve your design team in the preliminary survey to avoid any such construction surprises that could adversely affect the renovation process.
Conduct an evaluation of the existing state of the site, such as the age and the condition of the walls, the utilities, and the electrical and mechanical systems. Review the certificate of occupancy, which will tell you whether the property complies with the building codes issued by the local government. Consult the building inspector and review the zoning, seismic, and fire requirements.
Apart from employees, your client will have customers visiting his/her office area. If the project includes renovating the entire building, think of how you can enhance the curb appeal of the workplace. Consider an attractive landscape and plan for ample parking space.
The underground parking must be easy-to-use and well-lit. Install ventilators and exhaust fans for air circulation and alarm-activating devices for emergencies. Self-service machines such as parking lot card dispensing systems can be installed for convenience and keeping a track of the number of visitors.
The above research will demand extra time, effort, and money; however, it will enable you to eliminate the common issues faced during the renovation.
- Involve Your Team When Designing the Renovation Strategy
Your team will be responsible for implementing the office renovation strategy. Involve people from the required disciplines early on to keep them in loop and develop a sense of ownership towards the project.
Include your architectural or interior design team whenever you meet your client. This will help you design a foolproof renovation plan. Hire a qualified and experienced general contractor at the planning stage to ensure accurate test-fit planning and efficient use of resources. A general contractor having immense field experience can offer you valuable inputs and validate the feasibility of your renovation plan.
Make a realistic schedule for renovation taking into account the material lead time, potential changes in the plan, and other factors that warrant consideration. Communicate the timelines to your team members and allocate responsibilities accordingly. Set aside ten percent of the funds as contingency budget to proactively plan for and handle unforeseen setbacks.
Craft a well-thought-out renovation plan with your team and consider the costs of construction, material, labor, new furniture, and electronic equipment required.
Involving your team in each phase of the renovation project will keep them informed of the plans, help them prepare for challenges, and encourage them to come up with creative solutions to overcome them.
- Implement Safety Precautions
Safety is crucial especially if you are undertaking the renovation when your client’s business operation is on at the site. With your client’s employees moving around the office, you need to take extra safety precautions to avoid accidents.
Get your team and the client together and work out a plan that complies with the guidelines stated by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the renovation of workspaces. Keep electrical appliances and wires away from passages that are commonly accessed. Close the aisles being renovated and place warning signs to alert employees and visitors of the work in progress.
Create a construction schedule that can help you cover most of the noisy and messy tasks during weekends and post-working hours to minimize distraction for the employees. Ensure the workspace is clean by eliminating debris and dust in a timely manner.
Managing an office renovation is a huge responsibility. As a professional, you need to anticipate and factor in the various challenges you will likely face in the process and plan to overcome them proactively. The above-mentioned commercial construction tips will enable you to transcend the challenges in the renovation process and help you complete the office renovation successfully.