A Guide to Surviving an Office Renovation

When your office lease expires, staying put and upgrading your current office space can yield substantial savings. However, achieving such cost reductions requires cautious attention to and managing a wide range of issues within a potentially complex project process.

The following are essential factors to ensure your office renovation goes as planned.

Make Space for Enhancements.

If you cannot access temporary accommodations, you must vacate portions of your space and execute multiple “mini-projects” in successive phases. This phasing strategy must be considered from the beginning of the design process. Whenever practicable, it is preferable to renovate entire floors at once. Finding additional vacant space or transitional space where staff can reside temporarily is essential to achieving this objective. If expansion is part of the plan, expanding the new area can establish the necessary capacity for the expansion. The number of disruptions and transfers your employees must make will be minimised with careful planning.

Create Budgetary Contingencies.

The true total expense of an undertaking cannot be determined until all work has been completed. A rule of thumb for new construction projects is to begin with a 10 per cent design contingency in the budget, which may be reduced as the work progresses. Frequently, an additional 10 per cent is allocated for construction contingencies. The same is true for in-place renovations, but there are additional concerns. Incorporating expenditures for phasing, temporary protection and partitions, and other requirements unique to this form of work is also required. Consider a budget for additional overtime hours, which can be authorised as necessary to halt or reschedule disruptive construction tasks. Having an experienced construction professional on the team during the design phase is the most effective method to ensure these considerations are made.

Communicate Expectations and Manage Them.

In many ways, the occupants’ positive perception of a renovation project is just as crucial as the actual execution of the work. Any change in the workplace carries with it the potential for anxiety, especially when its effects are poorly understood. The vision and intent of the renovations can be effectively communicated to the broader staff by presenting plans, renderings, and sample boards. This is an effective method for dispelling concerns. In addition, creating physical mock-ups can enable employees to test out the proposed design, and providing excursions and updates during construction can keep employees abreast of the work’s progress.

Investigate all Site Conditions.

A difficulty with modifying a built-out space is that many conditions (primarily infrastructure-related) that can affect the work are concealed and difficult to observe. Ideally, the proprietor should provide a comprehensive collection of “as-built” architectural and engineering documents. If these do not exist or are insufficient, it is usually beneficial to incur the cost of a site survey to create them. The more precise the depiction of actual conditions, the closer the proposed work and associated cost estimates will be to reality. Even with such drawings, a responsible design team will ensure that critical conditions are accurately reflected by conducting spot checks. Because work on mechanical, electrical, and sewage systems typically accounts for as much as two-thirds of total construction costs, conducting probes above the existing ceiling to validate critical clearances and layouts is essential.

Pritam Chakrabortty
Pritam Chakrabortty
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