October 12, 2013

Five Things You Need to Know About Your Office Refurbishment Project

Most business properties are leased – and yet the usual responsibility for keeping commercial or business premises maintained lies with the company. That means refurbishment is generally up to you: and that means you get to negotiate changes in your rent figure or lease term with your landlord when your refurb is complete. Have a look at these five important pieces of refurbishment advice to ensure you start your project in the best possible way.

Talk to your landlord early 

While the responsibility for refurbishment is normally yours, the final say-so in any matter of changing the interior of the building rests with your landlord. The earlier in the process you get him or her involved, the more certain you can be that all of your planned changes fall in line with his or her wishes. And remember: the quicker you can speak with your landlord, the more time you have to discuss changes in the rental figure or lease period.

Look at the building’s energy use 

With energy prices a serious concern, a refurbishment project is the ideal time to think about investing in a more sustainable way to power your processes. Full refurbishment, which involves taking the building back to its brick bones and redesigning the layout, gives you the opportunity to install new heating and lighting systems. Normally, the cost of doing this is prohibitive because you’re paying for someone to take walls down, pull up floors and rebuild when they have finished – but when you have the walls down anyway, there’s no extra to pay.

Make sure your contractor has the right kind of insurance

There are multiple kinds of builder’s insurance. At the very least, yours should have a large public liability insurance. This will bear the cost of any misfortune suffered by members of the public as a result of the building project. It is also advisable to ensure that your contractor is insured against the possibility of liquidation or other circumstances in which it is impossible to complete the project.

Be realistic about your contingency fund

Almost all building work runs into unforeseen problems – hidden vice, changes in planning law and simple errors of calculation are all par for the course. It’s important to have a sizable contingency fund in place for anything that goes wrong. In the case of a major refurbishment project, it is not unrealistic to set aside 25 per cent of the budget for contingencies. When you cost out the project, be sure to discuss contingencies in depth with your quantity surveyor. It is his or her estimate of the costs of materials that will guide your final contingency figure.

Get the neighbours involved

Whether it’s a single floor or a whole warehouse to rent South Africa has plenty of business properties that are used by more than one company. So why pay for the full refurbishment yourself, when your neighbours may be willing to chip in where your plans would benefit them too? If you’re building a new server room, for example, why not find out if the companies you share with would be interested in building up their own data storage capacity by renting some of the new space from you, or by helping out with the initial investment.

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