by Nat Wysor and Alex Dubanowitz
From evaluating sites to executing an interior build-out, a relocation is a major undertaking. With expert planning and the right team, however, it’s possible to create a less stressful and more predictable, cost-effective experience. The following are four keys to implementing a successful workplace build-out.
Define Your Operational Requirements
For most organizations today, forecasting space needs is more challenging than before and the popularity of remote work has altered the planning equation. New office concepts emphasizing amenities, collaboration and flexibility have replaced individual workspaces and conference rooms.
As you begin to review potential sites, some facilities will be better suited for your needs than others, but critical differences may not be obvious. With the right expertise on hand, you can determine whether a facility can accommodate the infrastructure or space layouts you need within a reasonable budget and timeline.
Create the Right Team
Beginning your relocation with the right team will help ensure that critical details are uncovered early to inform decision-making. Your project team should include an owner’s project manager (OPM) who can advise on planning, budgeting, and vendor selection. An experienced OPM can help you make vendor selections in alignment with your goals, culture, budget, and project.
Having worked with many vendors, an OPM will know which firms they trust for collaboration. The more smoothly your consultants work together, the more efficient your project will be. If sustainability or diversity, inclusion, and equity are important to your organization, your project team should have expertise in these priorities.
Once project consultants are selected, your OPM will ensure that team contracts are aligned with the timetable, deliverable deadlines, and scope of work.
Explore Your Building Options with Costs
Every space has challenges. An experienced OPM will be able to assess the condition of the space and engage the right expertise to uncover potential pitfalls. They’ll identify issues that may affect timing and costs and determine which components can be reused or replaced.
An OPM can provide a perspective on your project budget that factors in the landlord’s tenant improvement allowance. An OPM can also help your broker scrutinize your work letter for unexpected provisions that affect costs.
Manage Cost and Schedule Drivers and Risks
Every build-out has risks, as well as distinct cost and schedule drivers, and it’s important to anticipate what those drivers will be. Cost drivers encompass finishes, systems, labor, site conditions – and delays. Most cost savings are gained early in the work letter negotiations, design analyses and pricing evaluations.
Certain aspects of your build-out, including furnishings, equipment, IT, security systems, and relocation services, typically aren’t included in the construction budget. If you plan to build to LEED, or other certifications, you’ll need to factor in resources necessary for procurement and certification. The fine print of your tenant improvement work letter may reveal additional costs.
You’ll gain cost and scheduling advantages by bringing in your project management experts as early as possible in your site selection and build-out process. With insight into market conditions and reasonable expectations, you will be better positioned to negotiate the best lease and equipped for a build-out.
Nat Wysor is principal and Alex Dubanowitz is EVP, corporate services lead at Redgate.