Commercial Office Upgrades: Timing Matters
Early attention to goals, budgets and schedules can ensure renovations of commercial office buildings deliver benefits
When it comes to scheduling renovation projects in commercial office buildings, it is critical that the timing for all steps in the project schedule be realistic. Too often, outside forces place unrealistic time constraints on managers, forcing them to either cut corners or to take steps that increase renovation costs in order to meet these deadlines. It is far better to address unrealistic time constraints before the project actually begins.
To develop a project schedule, managers can work backwards from the date the space must be available. Be realistic, and evaluate each step in the process — specifications and plans development, regulatory and code reviews, tenant relocations, demolition, and equipment delivery times. And remember to consider possible weather delays.
The time of year when the project begins also will impact both scheduling and costs. Managers should avoid situations in which a new roof is scheduled to be put on a facility in the middle of winter or during the rainy season.
Look at the timeline developed by the schedule. Is it realistic, and does it meet the expectations of building owners and tenants? If not, managers must discuss options, including decreasing the scope of the project or increasing funding to accelerate the process. Again, the time to do this is while the project is still in the planning stages, not once construction has started.
James Piper, P.E., is a national facilities consultant based in Bowie, Md. He has more than 35 years of experience with facilities maintenance, engineering and management issues.