With over 50% of Americans working from home, slowly but surely, we’re seeing people start to trickle back into their office spaces. Before your team comes back, you may be contemplating making changes to your office to better support your team’s comfort and safety.

Therein lies the reason why we’re seeing several office managers carry out construction projects.

Office construction projects can create beautiful communal spaces, roomier cubicles and can let more light into the areas where your team spends the most time. They can also be costly and riddled with mistakes.

This post covers common office construction mistakes in hopes of helping you identify and avoid them when managing your next project.

1. Not Bringing Contractors Into the Design Phase

A common workflow for construction projects usually starts with designers coming up with designs. Then, project managers take that design to several contractors who will bid on the job. After bids come in, a contractor is selected and gets to work.

While that process is functional, we like to see contractors get brought on during the design process as opposed to after the designs are done. By having contractors’ feedback on design passes, they can make recommendations that may lower your project’s costs substantially. They can also help you find a machine shop and other suppliers early on so your build can get started the moment you land on a design you like.

2. Forgetting to Ask for Improvement Credit

Construction can be expensive. Because of that, one of the most costly offices construction mistakes you can make is not asking your landlord for tenant improvement credit before getting to work.

Tenant improvement credit is usually reserved for new tenants and is a way to entice people to move into a commercial space. If you’re new to a building and haven’t signed your lease yet, you should absolutely demand improvement credit before you commit to an office.

Even if you have been moved in for a while, asking for improvement credits could have favorable results since commercial building owners have little leverage in today’s work from the home environment.

3. Signing Lease Renewals Without Making Asks

If your lease is up for renewal, don’t just sign an extension. Make asks of your landlord that might aid your ability to complete your office construction project.

Demanding improvement credit is just one of many things you might ask for.

For example, if your building owner disallowed you to add new windows to your office in the past, make that ask a contingency for you renewing. Again, commercial building owners have little leverage in today’s economy so they’re going to be more willing to work with you.

4. Asking Your Landlord to Manage Your Project

Some landlords will offer to manage your commercial building projects for you. As a matter of fact, some will demand to be at the helm of your project per their property’s policies.

If possible, push to have your landlord simply offer you credits/permissions and to leave labor to you.

When landlords manage projects, their focus will be less on creating a custom space and more on making your space feel turn-key and generic enough for the tenant that comes in behind you.

5. Keeping Contractor Agreements Vague

Contractors are notorious for going over budget. While that’s not always the case and there are plenty of great contractors out there that do a great job of estimating costs, we recommend not rolling the dice.

The best way to ensure your project gets carried out as planned is to have agreements written in as detailed a fashion as possible. That way, there will be very little confusion regarding what’s expected of parties.

We’ve seen plenty of contractor agreements get put in front of courts or arbitration professionals that don’t hold up because office managers left too many details to handshake agreements. Don’t be that office manager.

6. Forgetting to Get Inspired

If you’re going to spend money on office construction, take time to make sure you’re getting what you want.

There is a ton of office design inspiration you can dive into by browsing photos online or talking to design professionals. The more immersed you are in the possibilities, the more likely you’ll be to come across ideas that you’ll be excited to see built into reality!

7. Keeping Your Team Out of the Loop

Remember, you’re probably not the only person that works in your office. If you have a team that’ll be sharing your space, get their input on design ideas you’re considering.

Investing in office construction just to have your team hate what you’ve done is an investment that, in our opinion, isn’t worth making.

8. Causing Costly Damage During Construction

Your building’s owner has original office schematics that will let you know where electrical work is, pipes, support beams, and more. Pour over those schematics thoroughly so you don’t make the mistake of causing costly damage as you build.

Making that mistake can send your project over budget and might be dangerous.

Avoiding Office Construction Mistakes Will Save You Time and Money

Most people are so focused on the building when they’re managing commercial construction projects that they don’t consider office construction mistakes. We hope our post has heightened your awareness around mistake potential as being cognizant of what can go wrong can significantly decrease your risk of running into adversity.

Should you need more guidance on mistakes, your office construction budget, or anything else, we welcome you to browse more of the helpful content we have available on our blog.