Smart planning in the early stages increases your chances for a successful office renovation. follow these steps to help your renovation process.

1. Identify Goals

To solidify specific project goals, answer certain questions and address areas of concern upfront. These include:

What factors are driving the renovation (e.g. updating infrastructure systems, installing new technology, upgrading finishes, new tenants, changes to the function of the space, a desire to enhance aesthetics)?

What issues will affect the schedule of the project? Will work take place while the building is occupied, or will it involve phased moves?

What is the budget for the project? Does it include all available funds; has any money been left for contingencies?

2.Put Together an Effective Team

One of the most crucial elements in a seamless renovation is having the right project team for the job. Establishing a team early, with all the required disciplines, builds a strong group that will work well together and develop a sense of ownership toward the project.

The first step is to find the right architectural and/or interior design team. If an established relationship with a design team is already in place, the project is one step ahead. If not, it’s important to do some upfront research by soliciting proposals and conducting interviews to narrow down the list of prospects.

3.Do Your Homework

To eliminate problems that frequently occur during renovations, the project team should conduct some upfront research on the building receiving the renovation. Although this research will require some added spending, it’s far less expensive when compared to the cost of dealing with site problems later. Further, site homework can be budgeted into the project if conducted as early as possible.

One helpful step is to conduct a thorough evaluation of existing conditions. The evaluation should address:

The age and operating condition of all mechanical and electrical systems.

The condition of the building and its ability to support any renovations.

The quality of existing utilities.

The accuracy of past site evaluations.

4.Develop a Realistic Schedule

A misconception is that, because renovation work involves an existing building, it should be quicker than new construction—but that’s not always the case. The key to an effective project schedule is to keep it realistic.

A schedule should be developed after careful evaluation of all issues that drive the timing of a specific project. Material lead times and potential tenant disruption are just a few examples that warrant consideration. First, start with the date that the renovated space must be ready; work backward. Be sure to allocate sufficient time for each project phase.

5.Prepare a Contingency Budget

Even the most carefully planned project can be hit with a few surprises. To handle any unforeseen setbacks, it’s wise to set aside a contingency budget of approximately 10 percent. This contingency fund should be developed above and beyond the allocated budget for the project. That way, any unexpected costs can be handled while staying within formal budget parameters. A contingency fund can provide some breathing room.

Taking a proactive approach helps minimize the pitfalls that can sneak up during the construction process. While it requires some upfront consideration and legwork, proactive planning greatly improves the likelihood of a high-quality, cost-efficient project of which the project team and owner can both be proud.