Thursday, 9 August 2012

10 Reasons Why a Commercial Renovation is more Complicated and Costly than Residential

Commercial renovation in progress, photos by
Photos: Wo-Built’s Commercial Building Renovation Project in Progress
2012 @
About to embark on your first commercial renovation?

Here are ten things to keep in mind, especially if you’re tempted to gauge your impending commercial project against residential renovations.

  • 1. Design / engineering costs are higher. Due to larger size, greater complexity and/or other factors, commercial renovations require more upfront time and energy to be planned properly.
  • 2. City requirements and permitting process more onerous. The City scrutinizes commercial renovations to a greater degree; asks for more engineering reports; etc.
  • 3. Services are much more expensive. From mechanical systems through to electrical, sprinklers, fire alarms, HVAC, etc., commercial-grade services and systems require more time and effort to upgrade, relocate, work with and work around.
  • 4. Fire/life safety requirements. These are numerous and require a high degree of precision and reliability, including emergency lighting and exits, addition of alarmed push-bars on emergency exit doors, etc. Attempting to change any emergency exit routes may lead to all sorts of project complications or delays.
  • 5. Studs are metal. Metal studs are more expensive and more time consuming to work with.
  • 6. Hospital-grade wiring and electrical systems. If you’re upgrading medical treatment rooms, standard commercial-grade wiring simply won’t do. Hospital-grade wiring is uniquely designed to meet the parameters of sensitive medical equipment.
  • 7. Rules of the landlord. No doubt the landlord will want to have a say in how the project proceeds, making sure none of the building’s rules are broken and the disruption to other tenants is kept at a minimum.
  • 8. Rules unique to residentially tenanted buildings. If the building is mixed residential / commercial there are additional rules and restrictions that must be adhered to that can complicate and/or delay a project’s progress.
  • 9. Location of bins. This might not seem important, but renovations produce a lot of building waste. The farther bins are from the worksite, the more time is spent getting rid of waste.
  • 10. Even relatively simple things become much more complicated. Take adding a bathroom for instance: you’ll likely have to drill through existing concrete structure which will require scans or x-rays (if they are permitted) which are not always conclusive. It should be wheelchair accessible, requiring more real estate.
Bottom line? Make sure you’re working with a design / build contractor you can trust; someone who will keep your interests top-of-mind as they work through the many challenges and pitfalls that any commercial renovation project is bound to present.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build
links: MSN Real Estate: 10 things contractors won't tell you
Learning a few tricks of their trade will help you ensure you get the job done right and at a fair price.
By SmartMoney 10 Tips for Commercial Real Estate Investing
"Any plan to invest in commercial real estate calls for right mental attitude, enormous patience and foresight. Not only do they take time to buy and close the deal, but also to repair, restore, remodel and resell. This apart, you should also be prepared to spend long hours of research, cultivate the right business relationships and take crucial investment decisions at the appropriate time...."
By Lincy Stewart Commercial Remodeling: Commercial Construction Versus Residential Construction
by wecomparebooks Medical Facilities - Building Image and Branding of Your Spaces

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