Top NINE Tips for Crushing Your Tenant Improvement – PART TWO

By Cheryl Osborn, President and Founder, CASCO CONTRACTORS



(Continued) Most companies value their work space and it is an intrinsic part of how they do business – functionally and culturally.  Leasing or buying a new workspace that requires tenant improvements seems like a natural part of the growing or downsizing process but it carries its own set of issues that need to be addressed.  There are several things to keep in mind when going through this process but I am here to highlight the NINE MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS WHEN TAKING ON A TENANT IMPROVEMENT.

OH SH**!!!

Make sure your budget allows for the unforeseen.  As much as we want to protect ourselves from any costs or delays associated with changes, the unforeseen is what can kill a budget and a schedule.  Know the terms of your lease, but unforeseen conditions are likely your responsibility.  I like to keep at least a 5% contingency to spend on items that honestly could not have been known prior to opening up that wall or knocking down the ceiling.


Know you are getting the best end product and the best finishes available. With so many options right now, the prices for things like flooring, wallcoverings and interesting finish options do not need to break the bank.  Also, make sure the color schemes you pick will still be current in 3-5 years.


Make sure the contractor maintains their schedule.  Ask them to submit a weekly schedule chronicling their activities and how it ties into your construction completion date.  This is important during the process so you can plan all of your responsibilities as a tenant – i.e. tele data cabling, furniture delivery and installation, security work and most notably, your actual move in date.


Time for the punch walk – the moment of truth.  Be aware of ALL items you need to look for – functionality of doors, HVAC maps that tell you which thermostat is controlling the air, that the power is in the correct place for your equipment, walls are all completed and look good in all different shades of lighting throughout the day.  This is the time to pick up on any imperfections and hold the contractor accountable.


This phase encompasses the warranty period – the first 1-2 years (depending on the contractor’s warranty) where they will be available to fix any equipment that goes bad, any lighting or electrical work that malfunctions or plumbing and appliance issues.  Make sure you fully understand your contractors warranty and you know who to call if things go wrong so you are not paying expensive maintenance fees for things that are covered under your warranty.

Tenant improvement can be a long and arduous process so it is important to understand these important tips to make sure that things go as smoothly, quickly and as cost effectively as possible.