Planning Office Refurbishment - Do It Right From The Beginning. Five Easy Yet Important Steps.
Have you been occupying your office premises in Milton Keynes, London, Oxford and Cambridge areas for a long time and now the interior looks outdated? Are you looking for the best method that will allow you to improve the look of your office from its former drab self? If you are, then you are in good luck. Office refurbishment and office fit out are age old methods that allow overcrowded and disorganised office establishments to improve their look. Furthermore, it enables office owners to organise and create a modern look that adds more space for storage, staff members and other stuff.
You may be asking why office refurbishment should be the preferred method and not moving offices since this would allow you to occupy new and modern premises that have all the modern amenities already in place. Well, office refurbishment is much better than moving offices as it allows you to continue benefiting from your current leasehold which means, you don’t have to pay a lot in terms of rent and other service charges. Furthermore, it helps to eliminate the need of printing new business cards to inform your clients that you have changed location.
The one thing you need to know about office refurbishment is that it requires care, proper planning and management for it to be successful. How do you prepare for a successful office refurbishment exercise? Here are steps to ensure that you do it right from the beginning.
1. Choose the right architect
In order for your office fit out project to be successful, you need to hire the right architect. Selecting the best is not an easy process as there are factors you need to consider. First and foremost, you need to choose one based upon their qualifications. The right architect for your design and build project must have the right education. What does this mean? The right candidate needs to have undertaken an architect training program at an internationally recognised institution. This will impart knowledge and skills necessary to work and complete projects in the real world. Secondly, the right candidate needs to be highly experienced. They should have a portfolio of past office refurbishment projects they have completed successfully which means they should be ready to provide references for you to check. Thirdly, there is the matter of service fee. At the end of the project, you have to pay the architect for services rendered. While a fee is best negotiated when the scope of services is determined, it should be a factor to be remembered.
Lastly, the right office fit out architect needs to be accredited by an internationally recognised body. Accreditation helps to ensure that professionals conduct their work with high standards of ethics. This means, they approach every project with professionalism ensuring high quality results in a timely manner. Furthermore, accredited professionals have to adhere to a set of health and safety standards which prevent injuries and accidents from occurring at the project site.
To find the right candidate, start by creating a list of potential architects in your area. Since you know the complexity of your project, determine if you need a specialist or generalist architectural firm. Once you have crossed the dos and don’ts, make the right decision for your company.
2. Select the right style for your office
Now that you have selected the right architect for your project, it’s time to sit down and come up with a suitable design and build that will improve your brand. Today, modern offices reflect the corporate culture and mission of the company. It is important to tailor the layout and design in order to complement an office environment that focuses on collaboration, communication, openness and visibility. Here is an example – if you desire to incorporate higher panel heights, you will provide your employees with plenty of privacy but this depends on the type of work being carried out in the company. You can also opt for a mid panel height which helps to create openness while still ensuring your workers have their own sense of space.
Since space planning is a huge undertaking, there are factors to be considered. They include space restriction, team diversity, team roles, accessibility, sound pollution, art, sculptures and lighting among others. Working with an experienced architect who has employed a team of design professionals will ensure that all the above factors are considered. Different designs in form of blueprints and CAD drawings will be provided to give you a preview of how the end product will appear.
3. Budget for the project
A budget is critical to the success of any project because without it, you will not allocate the right resources to vital components of a project. Since budgeting is the process of creating a plan of how you will spend your money, you can finally prioritise your resources ensuring the successful completion of your project. This is where your accounting team comes into play. The first thing you need to determine is how much you are willing to spend? What do you want incorporated into your office for example furniture or interior décor? As the office owner, determining the costs of every item you want incorporated will not be easy. This is why you need an internal office refurbishment team. They will work with the selected architect to know what it required.
So, what will your budget include? If you are planning for a category A fit out, you have to consider costs for raised floors, suspended ceilings, basic internal décor, basic heavy duty carpeting and others. If you opt for category B fit out, costs you have to consider include final finishes and branding, fitting out of reception areas, installation of IT equipment, installation of furniture, installation of audio visual and telecoms equipment among others. See 10 steps to reduce your office fit out costs.
3. Choose a right contractor
When choosing the right fit out company for your workspace, there are a lot of considerations to take note of. At this point, you would have to entrust the responsibility of delivering your project to a fit out contractor. This is where the controversy lies because there are lots of registered companies offering this service and they are all competing for your custom. First of all, you should begin by compiling a list of fit out contractors that you are interested in and start arranging meetings with them. You may be wondering, how can you recognise the best office fit-out team to hire? See How to choose office fit out contractors.
4. Create a realistic schedule
It is a common misconception among office owners that office refurbishment should be much quicker as it involves an existing building and the only thing that needs to be done is make a few upgrades and office fit out. This is not the case because office refurbishment is an extensive process that needs proper planning and execution. This is why a schedule should be created and implemented. It acts as a guide and allows the architect and other team members to successfully complete the project. When creating a realistic schedule, there are a few things you need to consider. They include material lead times and potential tenant disruption. Start by selecting the date when the project should be completed and then work backwards. Why? This is to ensure that the project runs smoothly without the need of sacrificing the quality of construction work or even over budgeting. It is wise to allocate sufficient time for each project task.
5. Prepare for set backs
One thing every project manager has to contend with is setbacks. Even when you have created a realistic schedule, issues will crop up during the project which may delay or extend the completion date. The good news is that you can set yourself for success by preparing for any future hurdles the project may face. In order to understand the full scope of possibilities, it is important to research on previous renovations. Since your architect is present, he or she can be able to spell out the mistakes that need to be avoided from the start. This helps to ensure that the whole project is not caught unawares. This is why it advisable to set 10% to 15% of your budget to go towards unexpected expenses. This gives your project extra padding allowing you to resolve any issues that may arise quickly, easily and painlessly.
Every project needs to be planned because it helps to create a roadmap that not only ensures the successful completion of the project but contingencies to help in resolving issues on the way. As an office owner, renovating your office is a must if you want to stay relevant. It is wise to seek modern designs that work well with your corporate culture. For a successful office refurbishment project to occur, you need to hire the right architect, create a budget, develop a realistic schedule, select the right look for your new office and prepare for setbacks. Doing so will help to ensure that your project is completed within the set period and so you will not over budget, you will eliminate noise pollution for other tenants and your staff will get to move into the upgraded office quarters with the right time.