Regardless of what type of space you own or occupy, or what industry you are in from healthcare, to business, to manufacturing, to hospitality and more, planning and budgeting is the most essential step in any successful, and profitable, space renovation or build.
Even those who are seasoned at funding renovations or building projects can sometimes inadvertently overlook or underestimate elements that drive up a budget.
What follows are steps you can take, and expenses you should always include in your planning, to help stop runaway project dollars.
First, here are two recommendations worth considering:
- Always, always, always get three bids from three different contractors or vendors. Even if you have a long term relationship with a contractor, they come highly recommended or have a 5-star Google review, get three bids. Doing so will provide you with an appropriate range for what your project should cost, assuming all the bids are based on identical specifications. Bids that come in much higher or lower can alert you to overcharging or lower quality materials or workmanship, and help you make the best decision for your needs.
- Seriously evaluate the benefits of hiring an owner’s rep. This person’s job is to shepard you through and manage all the details of the entire project from start to finish. They will facilitate communications across your construction team, monitor and track expenses to keep the project on budget, and create and manage the project schedule.
Next are five expenses that must be anticipated and factored into every reno or building budget:
1. Construction contingency
This is the amount of money that should be set aside to pay for additional or unexpected construction costs if they arise. Even the most carefully thought out plans may change due to unforeseen events or a shift in conditions. Building in 5-10% of the total construction budget as a contingency is wise. You may not need it, but having it will act as a financial safety net.
It’s easy to be blindsided by the investment for signage. It is very often an afterthought or assumed to be a low budget item. There is no “average” price for signage and it can vary widely depending on your space and requirements. When thinking about signage, determine both the interior and exterior needs. Most exterior signage will benefit from lighting which will require power, and potentially special materials. Planning for these conditions up front is most cost-effective while contractors are on-site and conditions allow for easier access. Depending on where the job is located, some towns require special permits or police presence to direct traffic which both impact cost. Interior signage may need special graphics or branding to align with your new space, impacting cost and lead times. Finally, most interior and exterior signage will require professional installation.
3. Commercial furnishings
Most likely you will want to budget for commercial, or contract furniture. Contract furniture is built to withstand high magnitude wear and tear, and is manufactured to much more stringent specifications that include stronger framing and higher quality textiles and surfaces appropriate for specific commercial conditions.
4. Window treatments
High quality windows are important. Equally so is how they are covered. An investment in commercial coverings can provide UV control, glare prevention, privacy, as well as energy efficiency, and improve the overall experience inside your space.
5. Custom or heirloom decor
If you want to make a statement with furniture or decor that is above and beyond the ordinary, heirloom pieces, bought or custom made can create a unique mood and atmosphere. Similarly, expanding your visual palette to include atmospheric items of special curiosity such as sculptures, history walls, or fish tanks are worthwhile efforts as long as the items are accounted for in your upfront planning and budgeting.
The build process can sometimes be overwhelming to those who are not familiar with it. Engaging a professional design team can guide you in developing a realistic plan and budget so you can create the environment you envision, at an investment you can well afford.
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