Renovation is often a better option than a rebuild for a refreshed office.
To renovate or to build, that is the question. People usually consider updating their location in lieu of building new for one of three reasons. Location—if it’s a great place for you and your customers, it’s best to stay; time—you could have little to no down time depending on your scope; or money—no one said a renovation is cheap, but you do have the ability to make impactful changes for a smaller price tag and you’re using what you already have. Facelifts also pique interest. People who may have never stepped foot inside your business before, may see your changes from the street and want to check it out for themselves.
So now that you know why to renovate, what should you consider when tackling this project?
1. Be in the know
One of the key components to keep in mind when renovating your space is the existing information. There are two components to this: existing building information and the current code requirements. Your consultant must do a thorough job gathering all the information to ensure you have all the pieces. Depending on the scope of your renovation, this could include existing structure, plumbing, mechanical and architectural drawings. It’s also important to be aware of your local code. You could run into a “you touch it, you update it” requirement, meaning you may have to weigh if adding a whole new bathroom stall is worth it if you just wanted to update the finishes. If you see your company there long term, it may be valuable to do so.
2. Talk money upfront
Talking money makes people very uncomfortable, but the fact of the matter though is if you’re honest with your consultant about how much you want to spend, they can help you stay on track. Hire a consultant that has renovation experience, set a scope and budget that align, stick to it and don’t forget the unexpected. When renovating, there’s always something that will rear its ugly head that you could not have foreseen—but if you plan for it, you can have more control of your scope. By sticking to your plan, you can at least prevent scope creep.
3. Plan your attack
As mentioned before, having a focused and defined scope is important during a renovation. But one of the largest aspects is to decide whether your business will stay open during a renovation. There are benefits to both closing and staying open. Obviously, if you stay open your customers can still come in and your employees can still work, however, your renovation will take longer. If you close on the other hand, you can get the work done more quickly, but obviously can’t work. As part of your scope, you should also be considering efficiency of both the building and your employees. Renovating is the perfect time to improve mechanical systems, workflow for your employees, and of course your customers’ experience.
While you and your company may be excited to renovate, expect pushback. Everyone has their opinion and most people aren’t afraid to voice it, especially when it comes to changing a familiar environment. Don’t take it personally but make sure you are listening to your clients. Your customers are more important than the walls around you, so ensure they remain your priority.
Kristen Payne is an Architectural Designer at FTCH, a civil engineering, environmental, architecture and construction management firm.