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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on August 3rd, 2018

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4 Commercial Remodeling Tips All Property Managers Should Know


A good commercial remodel will improve the functionality and appearance of a commercial space, whether that's an industrial site, an office building or a retail store. Commercial remodels typically add value by making the space more comfortable for customers, more efficient for staff or cheaper overall to maintain. In addition, commercial remodels are a way for owners to invest in their property. Without regular upgrades, many commercial spaces will quickly become obsolete.

Common commercial remodels often involve updating a major system in the building, like the roof, bathrooms or even the layout of the building itself. Sometimes remodels involve improvements to the outside instead of the inside. If you're a property owner thinking about making upgrades to your commercial space, start thinking now about the goals you wish to accomplish.

At Litchfield Builders, we help commercial property owners to decide which changes are right for their building. Below are four of the commercial remodeling tips that we like to pass along to property owners when we meet with them for a consultation.

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Safety Features to Include

Many commercial remodels focus in some way or another on new safety features designed to keep employees or clients safe. Usually these safety features are written into the building code. An older building that has not been renovated in a long time may be due for building code updates. Renovating a building that lacks modern safety features will often trigger these code updates.

Any building owner who has not renovated their commercial property in a long time should budget for safety improvements like changes to the fire doors, widening of hallways or doorways, or structural changes like retrofitting. Sometimes these upgrades can be very costly, so property owners must get bids that include these changes before beginning to budget for their commercial remodel. Once they know how much they can expect to spend on safety upgrades, then they can begin to plan for their remodeling project.

Consider Energy Efficient Updates

Energy efficient updates are another popular feature that property owners seek to make when they begin a large scale renovation. There are a number of changes that can often be made on older properties to make the building more sustainable. At Litchfield Builders, some of the most common energy efficient upgrades include:

  • Solar Panels. Solar panels make it possible for a building to generate its own power. Some solar panels will generate all the power the building needs, while other solar panels will generate only a portion of the building's total power.
  • Water Reduction and Water Collection. Businesses that use a lot of water, like industrial sites and businesses that perform a lot of landscaping, often benefit from water reduction measures. Water barrels, tankless water heaters and low-flow fixtures can all help reduce the use of water on a commercial site.
  • Reclaimed materials. Reclaimed materials add beauty and character to many commercial sites. These materials can come from nearly anywhere, including old industrial sites, barns and old demolished homes. Reclaimed wood and metal are both popular for use in show rooms, office buildings, retail spaces and even restaurants.

While they're making sustainable upgrades, many building owners will also look for ways to improve their building's exterior envelope. Improving the building envelope can help reduce energy consumption while also making it easier to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the building.

Budget Carefully

Budgeting is a crucial step to engage in before beginning a commercial renovation. Without a proper budget, a building owner may not know how much he or she can realistically afford to spend. This can lead to burdensome expenses and may even cause financial difficulty after the project has been completed.

Budgeting is a multi-step process that usually involves determining how much the total renovation will cost, how much the property owner has on hand to spend, and how much the property owner will have to borrow to finish the remodel. To make a budget, the property owner may need to meet with lenders as well as commercial contractors in order to get an estimate.

At Litchfield Builders, we produce a commercial remodel cost guide. This publication can help during the budgeting phase of the remodeling project.

When budgeting, many commercial property owners take into consideration the ROI of the project. The ROI, or return on investment, is the amount that the property owner can expect to get back when the property sells. ROI can justify large remodeling expenses, if the owner is planning to sell the property soon.

Features To Include

So, what should be the focus of your commercial remodel? Every commercial renovation is different. The part of your building that you choose to update will depend on your business needs.

Office Space

Removing walls and changing office layout makes it possible to fit more people into an existing space. For many businesses, this type of renovation makes growth possible. Often, removing walls and creating an "open floorplan" gives businesses the flexibility they need to add more people without creating crowding conditions in their office.

Bathroom Upgrade

A bathroom upgrade can help business owners save money on water usage and can also help reduce the spread of germs in the office. Installing touchless features improves sanitation, while installation of low-flow fixtures can reduce a business's water consumption considerably.

Parking Lot Improvements

Repaving a parking lot can clear up traffic problems while also enabling a business to add spaces for more cars. This makes it possible for a business to serve more customers without making significant changes to the building. In the case of an office building, a parking lot upgrade may enable the business to support parking spaces for more employees.

Landscaping Improvements

Beautiful landscaping upgrades can help attract customers while also making the property easier to navigate under poor weather conditions. For example, improving the pathways that lead to the building entrance can make it easier for customers to reach the building in winter, when snow and ice covers the ground. Landscaping improvements can also help keep the building cool by adding shade trees to the property.

Kitchen Upgrades

Kitchen upgrades are common for restaurants hoping to save money on energy consumption or improve customer experience. Installing ENERGY STAR kitchen appliances can make the business more sustainable while also reducing the amount of time it takes to cook a meal for a customer.

Get Started Today

So, you're a commercial property owner who wants to make upgrades to your commercial property? What's the focus of your remodel? Have you budgeted yet to find out how much you can afford to change in your upcoming renovation? Leave your comments in the box below. At Litchfield Builders, we can help you decide what type of commercial renovations will be most productive for you on your commercial property. We can also help you decide which renovations fall within your budget.

If you're a commercial property owner or manager hoping to improve the appearance, functionality or value of your commercial property, it may be a good time for you to take on a commercial remodeling project. Learn more about commercial remodeling with our free guide Sustainability and Green Building In Commercial Construction, that outlines popular green remodeling trends, eco-friendly materials, sustainable site design and more.

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About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.