The Ins and Outs of Renovating Your Business

Your business’ building is put through the wringer, whether you know it or not. Each day, a slew of corporate meetings, spilled cups of coffee, and thousands of footsteps wear down your office’s ability to handle the next big thing. While most buildings are built to last, every business needs a touch-up now and then — and that’s on top of the regular maintenance you usually invest in your business’ building.

Whether you just bought a new office building or you’re looking to spruce up the building you already have, there are a few legalities to consider before renovating your business. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and a few housing codes ensured that the buildings lasted for thousands of years thereafter. If you’re considering renovating your business, don’t forget these top tips.

Ask yourself why you’re renovating the space

What do you hope to get out of this renovation? If the building is falling apart, that’s one thing. However, remodeling a perfectly good building better have a reason behind it.

After all, updating the building’s aesthetics is one thing, but performing an entire overhaul of the business is another. If all you need to do is ditch the 80’s-style carpet and install new windows, you should not have to allocate large numbers of resources to get the job done.

However, there is something to be said for a building that isn’t functioning at its best. For example, no warehouse would hope to survive if the layout features tight corners and narrow corridors. This idea can be extended to the modern office space. Is there a big room for important meetings? Does your office feature smaller rooms for intimate phone calls? How is the natural light in your office? Writing down the problems and identifying why and how a remodel will solve these issues is vital before the remodeling process can begin.

Of course, simply updating your office will be a lot easier than completely transforming a space. For example, a restaurant will likely have to undergo extensive remodeling if they are trying to transform an old office building. Keep in mind that you might be better off finding a different building if the project is too big — or too expensive — to handle on your own. There’s no shame in identifying better building for your business’ dream.

Perform an inspection

Any good lawyer will tell you to perform a thorough inspection of the property before going forward with any renovations. That way, you can identify any current violations the building may have. Noting these important issues should be at the top of your list of solutions when you begin renovating your business. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time and money on a building that would be better off sold or torn down.

After all, building codes change from year to year, and if you’re operating in an older building, there are likely a slew of problems that need addressing. Rely on a lawyer to get you into contact with a reputable environmental analyst or home inspector. Many law firm funding options come directly from the customer, but sometimes attorneys are able to get a kickback from contractors and analysts that are tied to their law firm. Regardless, these inspectors will perform a thorough sweep of the property, making notes of any violations that need to be urgently addressed. If you find that the building isn’t worth the cost of the renovations, you might want to cut your ties short and run while you still can.

These include small issues like updating your furnace all the way to huge issues like problems with your foundation and major electrical issues. Unfortunately, you never know what to expect until the inspection is finally done. Talking to your lawyer can give you a better idea of what you can expect to pay at the end of the project. However, your lawyer might also be able to argue against certain code violations in your defense. Before you start establishing your budget and begin renovating your business, always rely on the help of an experienced lawyer to streamline the process.

Cut down what cannot be done

Your lawyer will also help you reign in any outlandish ideas you may have had at the start of renovating your business. If you wanted to install a pool in the backyard, your lawyer will be the one to tell you what permits are necessary and if the venture will inevitably be a code violation on the property. You might be able to argue some points, but at the end of the day, the law is the law: the last thing you want to do is sink money into a project that won’t last.

On the other hand, you might need to shell out a little more money for necessary features in your building. For example, heating and AC repair are vital for the comfort and safety of your employees. So are adequate bathrooms and washing facilities depending on the number of occupants the building is expected to hold.

Offices will also need to invest in safety precautions, including first-aid kits, disability accommodations, security systems, and a new fire sprinkler system design to match the layout of the new building. If these features aren’t readily apparent after renovating your business, as the owner, you could be slapped with some serious fines.

Your lawyer can help you work out the necessities of remodeling your building. After all, you might be an expert in digital marketing and you’re not expected to know everything about renovating a business. Your lawyer will help you review the certificate of occupancy (CO), get the necessary licenses to start the renovation process, and ensure that all your ducks are in a row before the first hammer falls.

Establish a budget

Now that you know what to expect, you can start crafting an ideal budget. This amount can range dramatically depending on the size of the building, its age, and a number of other factors. Call a number of professional services to get estimates and then be sure to add on a few more dollars — typically a couple of thousand dollars.

That way, you can budget for any additional issues that might pop up. After all, your inspectors can only be so thorough. Unless they are tearing down the walls and performing the construction process with you, it’s likely that they will miss one or two problems when you begin renovating your business. Sometimes, roof damage can only be detected when drywall is taken down.

Breaking your budget into various parts will help you better organize the essentials in your renovation. Some lawyers recommend breaking down your budget into a few different categories, including: the cost of tear down, the cost of rebuilding, accounting for any new appliances that are needed, and budgeting for furnishings, including office decor.

Lawyers and accountants will also recommend breaking down each category into individual parts. However, it’s important to account for the cost of general contractor labor in these components. For example, the furnishings budget should include one column for furniture, one column for kitchenware, one column for office supplies, one for electronics, and another for decorations. While the latter might seem extraneous, establishing an office “vibe” is essential for boosting employee morale and engagement throughout the day. If your workers are happy to come into the office, whether that’s because of your new office art or the new layout of your company, your business will flourish as a result.

Get the work done

All that planning has led up to this: the actual renovation. This is the part that truly requires patience on your part — luckily, most of the stressful parts have been quelled by the help from your lawyer. Now, you just have to wait for your general contractors, electricians, and plumbers to get the job done.

Most remodeling jobs take between six weeks and a few months. The cost can range anywhere from $3,000 for smaller renovations all the way up to $15,000 for lengthy renovations. The process might be lengthy but it will all be worth it in the end. Talk to your general contractors throughout the process to stay on top of any changes that need to be made. For some parts of the remodeling process, you might be able to confine work to one half the building. Installing specialty shutters shouldn’t take long, but tearing down complete walls might put your employees at risk. So, of course, this depends on the type of remodeling being performed so it might be better to invest in a temporary workspace or recommend that your employees work from home during this process.

Above all else, keep your lines of communication open. Talk to your contractors regularly and check in on your employees often. This is a time of change and some employees might need a little extra support throughout the process. Sharing updates about the project can help quell nerves and keep trust between bosses and their employees strong.

The finishing touches

Once renovating your business has wrapped up, it’s time to put on the finishing touches. This includes moving the furniture, hanging the wall art, and plugging in computers to the new electrical system in the building.

Before this takes place, however, you might want to consider hiring a maid service. These professionals will whip your business into tip-top shape before your employees make their way back into the office. Between dirty work boots and dust from renovations, you can assume that the place will look less-than-perfect. If you want to make an impact on your employees, hiring a professional cleaning service will ensure your business looks beautiful for months to come.

If you’re not the most artistic person, you might also benefit from hiring an interior designer to help improve the layout of your office. Interior designers have ample experience in making a drab space an exciting place to work. If you’re at a loss, interior designers can help you decide the vibe you want to express and find the right tools to get there. Rest assured that you’re never alone when you want help renovating your business.

You will need a host of individuals to help you throughout the remodeling process. From maids to general contractors to lawyers, all these services will help make renovating your business a walk in the park. For more tips and advice, rely on your local lawyer before diving into a renovation project.

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