Top tips on managing a commercial refurbishment project

There are several reasons why a company may need to refurbish their business premises. Whether driven by the desire to sell the property, requiring to refigure or remodel the building having recently taken occupancy (through purchase or lease) or whether needing to undertake a programme of works to comply with the terms of the lease, commercial refurbishment projects often involve far more work than initially anticipated and can quickly overrun in terms of both timescales and budget.

Here, we give some advice and tips on how to achieve a successful outcome.

Keep the brief in mind

As described above, there can be several reasons why you need to undertake a commercial refurbishment project. These circumstances will often dictate the amount of work and the level of finish that need to be met – if you own the property and plan to operate your business from there for a long time, you will likely want to take a considerable amount of time deciding on the best possible layout, also investing in obtaining a hardwearing and quality finish. If you are simply refurbishing to meet the obligations of your lease, less time will need to go into the planning stage, and you will want to limit your budget so the works meet the minimum required standard, but do not exceed this.

Budget properly

Budgets to complete commercial refurbishment projects are often vastly underestimated, which can lead to a temporary stall in the works, or even risk the project not being completed at all.

Appointing a property consultant to put together a Budget Cost Estimate and/or Programme of Works can give a true and accurate idea of costs from the very outset. Clients can ensure that they have necessary funding in place, or means to ascertain it, before the project begins. Where the estimated project costs come back outside of budget, it is possible to redesign and reconfigure plans in order to keep it within the client’s financial constraints.

It may even be possible to split the works you want into a number of phases, spread over the course of a few years. This is something an experienced property consultant will be able to advise on and help you plan out. 

Have a contingency plan

Depending on the extent of the project, it may be necessary to relocate staff on a temporary basis, or attempt to house staff in one area of the building whilst another area is being worked on. Whichever route you go down, it will be necessary to have a plan for how they will continue to conduct their work effectively.  Be sure to factor any associated costs of housing/relocating staff into the budget, including a contingency for if the programme of works falls behind schedule.

Appoint a professional

It can be tempting to try and save money by using internal resource to manage large projects. However, without the necessary experience, projects can quickly slip in terms of timescales, and despite best attempts, this will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on budgets too. Appointing a professional consultant to advise throughout the process, ideally at the very outset, will usually save time and money in the long run.

Lea Hough are routinely appointed to manage commercial refurbishment projects and have recently undertaken a number of projects for well-known clients across Lancashire.