When business is booming but the quarters are starting to feel cramped, it’s time for an office renovation. Realizing your business needs room to grow, you’ve already put the wheels in motion. You’ve got a workable plan, a reasonable budget, and a realistic timeline – so you’re ready to go full steam ahead on the renovation, right?
Well, not quite.
You shouldn’t move forward with your renovation until you’ve covered these five absolutely crucial points, ideally with the help of a qualified contractor. These important issues could cause huge headaches if they get pushed to the backburner. They could potentially even bring your business to a halt if a small problem suddenly becomes a much bigger one through code violations, safety issues, and other concerns.
Review the Certificate of Occupancy
Certificates of occupancy, or “COs” will vary from state to state and even county to county, but the function is the same. COs determine how many individuals a building or area can safely contain. This is a particularly important consideration if your office renovation is reducing the size of an existing work environment, or you anticipate a large swell in the number of employees, such as during a wide-scale company merger. Even if you don’t expect big changes in your staff numbers, a missing or outdated CO can effectively block other necessary filings, such as building or business insurance.
Understand Existing Violations on Your Property
Maybe you’ve learned to work around annoyances like that dripping sound coming from behind the wall, or that one place where the ceiling tiles never seem to stay up. While that perseverance may have worked in the short term, it’s a losing strategy when it comes time for remodeling.
Certain structural or improvement work can’t even be started until looming issues are shored up. Waiting to find them out the hard way will knock your project timeline and budget momentum off-balance. That’s why getting a once-over by a professional contractor before planning your renovation is a smart step.
If you do find violations – and chances are there will be at least one or two, even in a modern office – resolve to fix them the “right” way before renovations. Patch fixes and cover-ups will just end up reducing the benefit of your renovation as paint starts peeling, floor tiles crumble, or temporary coverings give way.
Review Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing
The skeleton of your office structure needs to match your ideas, and that means discussing the reality of where infrastructure can be installed or modified with your contractor.
Every great project starts with a vision, and that includes your company renovation. That vision, however, may have bathrooms where they can’t currently be installed, or office machinery where no outlets exist. Heavy items like ornamental aquariums, for example, may require structural study. Installation of walls may depend on the presence of support beams and studs. Knowing what can go where will help you keep your vision on track and your renovation goals achievable.
Check the Building’s Envelope
Worker comfort and low utility consumption are both key to hitting peak performance. That means investigating your building’s envelope – the area surrounding the walls and doors that dictates airflow and HVAC efficiency.
Very tall ceilings, for example, may let more heat and air conditioning escape, driving up your bills. Shifting offices from one side of a building to another may seem simple, but if insulation is lacking, the new location will need to be adjusted accordingly to optimize energy use. Even the location of air vents, doors, and windows can have a big impact on envelope suitability in relation to the location of your staff.
What Are Your Facility Requirements?
If you’re remodeling, you should aim to create an office where effort and time never need to be an efficiency bridge. For example, you shouldn’t have to duck around structures in heavy traffic areas, nor should important machinery or storage areas become difficult to access. Offices should be easy to locate and move between, and common work areas should be close to other staff facilities whenever possible. This will not only keep your business functioning as normal, it will also help with staff morale and efficiency.
Finally, it’s worth noting that short-term remodeling projects are often part of a more long-term renovation plan. Take stock of the areas where your company – and your needs – grew from the beginning to today. Then, extrapolate for the future: will those same areas need more attention, or will resources start flowing to other departments? While you shouldn’t base the entire renovation around the idea of theoretical future staff or facility components, they should still factor into the planning phase.
Also, check out our Ultimate Checklist for Starting a Building Remodel Project.
From Concept to Completion – ACA Remodeling Contractors
Get the advice you need before staring a commercial or residential renovation project. This project is important to you, so have it done right the first time. ACA Remodeling will make sure the entire process – from start to finish – is free of worries and hassle. Call ACA at (610) 692-7188 or contact us online any time.