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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on February 8th, 2024

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Budgeting for Commercial Renovations in Connecticut

Commercial | Commercial Remodeling

Creating a budget is an important part of any commercial remodel process. To create a budget, you'll list your goals, assemble a team, approve designs and shop for financing. Budgeting for commercial renovations in Connecticut can be an involved process. It's important to have a solid budget in place before beginning your project, so start early and give yourself adequate time to create a budget that works for your business. 

In this article, we'll discuss each step at length and share tips to create an effective budget for your commercial renovation project in Connecticut. This is an important part of ensuring a successful and cost-effective outcome. Here's what to know.

Know Your Goals

What do you hope to accomplish with your commercial renovation? Knowing your goals can prevent scope creep that could lead to ballooning costs and an extended timeline. Create a list. Know your goals in detail and be prepared to discuss them with your team. 

What problem or problems are you trying to solve? Make a list of current needs and consider projected growth or future changes that may affect how you use your space. Many businesses will assemble a committee of people to discuss these issues at length. Exploring the topic to its fullest extent can help you make decisions regarding your remodeling goals. 

Start Planning to Secure a Loan

At this time, you may also begin exploring financing options. Getting pre-approved for a loan can help you determine how much you're able to borrow and pay back. You won't be able to secure a loan until you have an idea of your project cost, but it's helpful to research this topic beginning now. Find out which documents lenders require for business loans and begin assembling those documents during this early phase. 

Assemble a Team

Assembling the right team to finish your remodel is crucial. The team of people you hire will determine the quality of the remodel as well as the price. 

Owner's Representative

You might be a good business owner, but how much do you know about the commercial remodeling process? Often, business owners or managers hire a third party, called the Owners Representative, to help see the construction process from start to finish.

Often, the Owners Rep is someone with a construction management background. They understand the construction industry and know the construction firms in the area. This person will be your project manager, intermediary, consultant and guide as you navigate the complexities of a commercial construction project. 

Architect, Engineer or Both

Connecticut statute requires an architect or engineer to be involved for any commercial construction project over 4,000 square feet. Whether you need an architect, engineer or both depends on the scope of your project. Engineers are required for projects with structural or mechanical work, while architects are involved in the design.

If you're not sure whether your project will involve an architect or engineer, contact an architect. If an engineer needs to be involved in the project, the architect will fold them in. 

How do you shop for architect? Many business owners use word of mouth to find architects in their area. Consulting with other business owners who have performed similar work on their buildings is a good way to find an architect you can trust. Plan to shop around and meet with multiple architects before choosing the one for you. 

Once you've found an architect you can trust, they'll create designs for your project.  This may be the first big expense of your commercial remodel. 

Your architect will discuss your project budget and create a design that is intended to fit that budget. Unfortunately, the architect can't guarantee the final cost of construction. After the design is finished, you'll shop for a contractor. Your contractor will determine construction costs. Sometimes, architects are able to create designs that easily fit the client's budget, but there are often variables architects can't anticipate.

If you're on a tight budget, be conservative in your design choices. The more features that you add to your design, the more likely it is that your finished design will be too expensive to build. 


An experienced architect will likely have relationships with contractors in your area, and can refer you to construction outfits are a good match for your particular job. Meet with at least two or three contractors to get bids before signing a contract and starting the work. The best contractor may not be the lowest cost contractor.

Don't sacrifice quality to reduce the cost of your project. Check references, look through their portfolio, and listen to the recommendations of your architect as they will know which contractors make the best team members on a large commercial project. 

Secure Financing

Once you know the projected cost, it's time to secure financing. Shop around for a loan with lenders you trust. Organizations and government agencies like the Small Business Administration and the Connecticut Small Business Development Center often help connect small businesses with loans. Check your bank as well. Know the payment schedule and terms, monthly payments, interest rate and consequences of default before signing up for a loan.

Once you have a loan, then your budget is set. Communicate your final budget with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

It's a Team Effort

Assembling the right team is the most important thing you can do to make your project will be a success. It takes communication and trust to see a project from start to finish. Need more information about finding the right team? Download Litchfield Builder's free guide to hiring a contractor. You can also call Litchfield Builders with questions about budgeting for commercial renovations. With over 25 years of experience in the Connecticut commercial construction industry, we're happy to guide clients through the renovation and remodeling process. 

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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.