When planning to build-out an office space, designing the layout is just one part of the process. Many considerations need to be carefully evaluated as well as steps to go through.

Many crucial aspects of the project should be ironed out even before the construction starts. While some of these issues seem minor, they can impact the overall project. For instance, the lack of proper documentation might affect your business permit application or insurance coverage, later on.

Much thought and thorough planning are vital during the initial stages of an office build-out project. Your decisions can have a major impact on the ambiance, functionality, and efficiency of your space in the long-term.

Starting right and laying the proper preparations and groundwork ensures smoother office build-out and eventually moving in. This means shorter construction time, less hassle, fewer mistakes, and less spending. If it is your first time building an office, initiating the project can be a challenge. So, how and where should you start building an office space?

Pre-construction Stage

Before any wall is demolished and new partitions built, everything starts with the pre-construction stage. This stage lays out the foundation of the entire office build-out project and is a crucial step in the process.

The primary objective of this stage is to ensure complete, reliable, and comprehensive information that all parties (owner, general contractor, and sub-contractors) will use later in the planning and implementation. The project team can refer to these data in making the right decisions on cost, schedule, implementation, work progress, and quality of work.

You need to gather documents on the property, such as site development, structural, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical plans. Usually, these documents are handed over to the tenant once the lease agreement has been signed.

Site inspection

Initially, you need to check the site before making any plans, nor starting the construction. Here you will visualize how the office will be laid out, the ambiance, and the aesthetics. If you are retrofitting an old space, you can review the existing structures and consider their incorporation into the design. This should save you heaps. During the site visit, you can identify the limitations of the project.

Once you have an idea of how the office space will look like, the general contractors will take over to plan out the technical specifications. There will be design coordination meetings together you’re your consultants to evaluate your vision and its feasibility. Building owners should expect changes in the final layout as specifications are identified. These meetings are important to set out realistic costing, design, and schedules.

Interior design and space planning

In this stage, a design is developed based on your requirements. If you have organic consultants, they will prepare and finalize the floor plan which you will use later when looking for general contractors. This includes provisions for electricity, mechanical, structural, plumbing, and other requisites of your office space.

The design is intended to facilitate a smooth and efficient flow. It should also catch people’s attention and promote your branding. Space should be properly partitioned and arranged to ensure functionality.

Documentation

As mentioned above, paperwork is important before you can start the project as well as move into a new office space. You need clearance from the property owner, construction or work permits, and an insurance certificate for the work. The type of documents needed depends on your local authorities and the type of project. Some documentary requirements include building licenses, electrical, fire, plumbing, waste management, and safety permits. In most cases, securing permits and licenses is part of the general contractor’s responsibilities.

Likewise, you need to review the construction contract documents. Some essential documents include the contract agreement, schedule, scope of work, billable items, cost estimate, drawings and plans, specifications, and insurance details.

Bidding

After the design and planning stage is completed, you can then look for general contractors who will carry out the project. Ideally, you need to get at least three bids from different contractors so you can have an idea about a reasonable cost. Alternatively, you can set a ceiling budget where contractors can decide whether to bid on the project.

Tenant build-outs experts from AFS General underscore the importance of requesting a cost estimate from contractors. Having a clear and itemized budget can prevent overpayment, cost overruns, loss of money, delayed project completion, and subpar material and work quality.

Hiring a build-out contractor

Whether it is your first time to handle an office build-out or you’ve done this before, you’ll need experienced partners throughout the process. A reliable general contractor can help you with every aspect of the construction project. They can guide you from planning to various details of the build-out down to moving in, ensuring that your requirements and needs are all met. Hiring experts can help manage your stressors and guarantee a successful project.

These are the necessary steps that you need to go through when building office space. Make sure everything in this phase is in order because all of the other processes will depend on this stage.