If you’re leasing any space, a commercial build out might be necessary to tailor it to your specific needs. A tenant going through this experience for the first time will naturally be overwhelmed. Unfortunately, this also makes them vulnerable to mistakes. Mistakes that can be costly and detrimental to the health of their business. Here are five pointers to avoid some costly mistakes commonly made during a commercial tenant build out. Remember that a commercial build out can be a long arduous process. We hope these tips help your project go as smoothly and cost efficiently as possible.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Be sure your budget accounts for the unexpected and unforeseen. Nothing kills a budget and schedule like the unforeseen. If you carefully review your lease, you’ll likely see terms stating unforeseen conditions are your responsibility. This has certainly bit more than one tenant in the rear end through the years. We recommend setting aside at least a 5 to 6 percent contingency to cover unforeseen situations. Sometimes there’s just no sign of a problem until a wall is opened up or a ceiling is knocked down. Being prepared with money set aside is your safest bet.
Keep Materials & Finishes Current
There are many options available when it comes to flooring, fixtures, wall coverings, and finishes. While you don’t necessarily want to break the bank by selecting the newest top-of-the-line options, you also don’t want marked-down already dated selections. Be sure any styles or color schemes you pick will still be in fashion 3 to 5 years from now. You don’t want today’s remodel looking dated in two years.
Make Sure Your Contractor Stays on Schedule
Don’t trust project management to the hired contractor or the landlord/property management company charging you a fee for project oversight. It’s imperative you make sure your contractor maintains their schedule. Request a weekly update chronicling their day-to-day activities and progress. You need constant reassurance that they’re on target to complete your project on time and on budget. This requires communication. This is also important since you’ll need to plan out other tenant responsibilities accordingly. You’ll need reassurance that your target move-in date is good to go. This way you can schedule movers, furniture delivery/assembly, equipment installation, WiFi, and security setup prior to move-in.
Make Sure There’s a Walk Through Upon Completion
Once your commercial build out is completed, the punch walk is the moment of truth. Have a construction punch list ready to check off every item you need to look for. Walk through the site alone before your walk through with the contractor. This way your walk through with them isn’t a discovery session. You can make note of anything you observe that you need to run by them. You should also walk through the space at different times of the day to observe different shades of lighting. Any imperfections you see, whether it’s the functionality of doors, the location of electrical sockets, poor lighting, rough patches in the wall, or anything that looks unfinished needs to be pointed out. You need to make sure the contractor is accountable.
Be Sure You Fully Understand Contractor’s Warranty
Most contractors have a 1 year period where they’re accountable for repairing anything that malfunctions. Make sure you clearly understand all warranties – whether it’s the contractor’s warranty or the manufacturer’s. Know who to call if anything goes wrong and ensure you’re not paying fees for things your warranty covers.