10 Things You Need to Do Before Remodeling a Commercial Space

Commercial remodeling can be expensive and time-consuming. Worse still, the remodeling could go wrong, costing you a lot more. In 2017, there were about 1,116 complaints filed for mistakes in renovation by contractors.  

Before engaging in any commercial remodeling project, it’s crucial that you take the necessary steps. They’ll save you from having a remodeling nightmare. The steps also ensure every penny goes into its intended use.  

If the building to remodel is changing ownership, you need to be extra cautious. Let’s delve into the essentials for planning for commercial remodeling.

1. Check the Certificate of Occupancy (CO)

The CO is a legal document that shows the uses of a property. It distinguishes office space from a private residence, restaurant, or educational premises. In most cities and towns, there’s an online database where you can download a copy of CO for a specific property, says Bobby Blue Plumbing Rancho Cucamonga.

Changing the details of the CO is costly. In some cases, it’s impossible to shift from one use to another. Additionally, any other purpose you intend to use the backyard of the premises for must be allowed in the CO.

For example, if your primary business is a gym but you wish to have a small eatery at the backyard, and the CO must recognize this. In such cases, it’s always easier to lease or buy space that suits your business type.

2. Review any Existing Violations on the Property

If the property you have your eyes on hasn’t had occupancy for some time, you may want to find out why. The possible reason is that it may have some violations attached to it. For example, someone might have one some work without a permit.

Some functions could be faulty, or the building could be under some legal disputes.

As you go for a permit, these things will be scrutinized and discovered. If the violations haven’t been found by this time, you could be faced with a costly stop-work order.

3. Review the Structure

If the first two conditions are in order, it’s time to check if the premises can handle the weight of your business. Some of the things to check are the mechanical, structural, plumbing, and electrical. For example, if you’re changing a premise from clothing retail to a car showroom, check that the floor is strong enough.

You also need to check that the walls are load-bearing and movable, just in case you need to change the plan. In other words, ask for the limits of the design before signing along the dotted lines.

4. Decide to DIY or Hire a Professional

If you’re handy and the commercial remodeling entails simple tasks, you may do it yourself. A professional contractor comes in handy if the tasks require a particular set of skills. Besides, consider how much time you have for the remodeling as DIY may take more time.

A designer will go a long way in easing the pain of redesigning and decorating. Professionals also will get sizeable discounts for materials from furnishings suppliers.

5. Do Your Homework

Upon deciding to hire a contractor, get some reliable recommendations from friends. Once you have a few names you’d like to consider, do some digging to establish their reputation. Call the appropriate consumer affairs department to verify if they’re licensed.

Other essential things to check before hiring are their bond number and certification, lien history, contractor’s license, and insurance certificate.

You may also wish to search the Consumers Affair database under “Dataset by Agency.” This is an online search that lists all charges, inspections, complaints, and violations by contractors.

6. Budget for Electrics

It’s recommendable to upgrade electrics in an old building. Old-fashioned fuse boxes, round pin plugs, light switches, and fabric-coated flex are some of the things to replace.

Installing a new consumer unit guarantees you of efficiency in energy consumption. So, if you’re taking an owner builder loan, be sure to factor in the cost of electrical installations.

7. Beware of Damp and Rot

Depending on the condition of the building, it may have suffered dampness and rot. Some of the visible tell-tale signs are watermarks on floors and walls. Condensation may also be visible on windows and walls.

Look out for fungus that can destroy timber. It’s a common occurrence in poorly ventilated conditions, mostly appearing on roofs and under floorboards in old buildings.

These two conditions may call for replacement of gutters, blocked pipes, and ventilation spaces.

8. What’s the Condition of the Roof?

Broken or poorly fixed roof tiles need to be noted. It would not help much to renovate the walls, windows, and floor and leave out the roof. If the damage is extensive, the renovation may call for the fixing of a new roof.

9. Have Everything Written Down

While it’s very tempting to have a verbal contract, it’s a wise idea to note down everything you need. Put it in writing eliminates some of the mistakes that arise out of misinterpretation. When your contractor has something to refer to, they’ll ensure they get everything to your specifications.

It also serves to remind you of anything you might forget to have done. Written contracts save your warranties from being misplaced.

10. Have a Slightly Higher Budget and Extended Timeline

Commercial renovations can be a real headache if you don’t plan appropriately. Budgets and deadlines are essential in this regard. It’s a hard fact that the remodeling may not be complete within the time you set.

Besides, you may spend more than what you initially planned. Sometimes, your indecisiveness on some matters will drag the project. Other times, a product you need will be out of stock.

Plan for all these eventualities, and you won’t find it hard to forge forward despite the little inconveniences.

Successful Commercial Remodeling

When leasing or buying a premise for commercial purposes, you may need to remodel it. This depends on its condition and age. Your type of business also determines the outlay of the premises.

Commercial remodeling takes time and calls for money investment. In the end, you want the money you invest in the process to give you the satisfaction you want. As such, it’s vital that you first inspect the condition of the building.

This will help you determine whether it’s better to renovate or find new business space altogether. Other essentials entail checking that your business meets the certificate of occupancy requirements. Once you’re done with the renovation, your business is ready to start.

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Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.