Tenant Improvement Projects – Things to Remember
Planning tenant improvement projects used to be simple -- design rows of private offices with cubicles in front and don't forget a storage room and reception area. Modern offices are much more variable. While the key to a successful project is to customize it extensively to your needs, there are still a few rules of thumb that can make any project better.
5 Tips to Planning Tenant Improvement Projects
Don't Forget the Wires
Your users have spoken, and they love wireless devices. However, the more wireless devices that you have, the more you bump up against two basic problems:
1. Wireless devices need wires for power.
2. Wireless spectrum for both wi-fi and cellular data is limited.
The solution to these problems is easy. Provide as many traditional connections as you can. Power outlets allow your workers to stay juiced up, and adding traditional network wiring back into your tenant improvement projects can solve the bandwidth problem. While not every device will get plugged in, giving fat data pipes to shared equipment like printers, scanners and servers and to power users who have significant network utilization will make those devices work better. It'll also also keep them off of the wireless network, conserving bandwidth for others.
Recycle When Possible
Many companies try to do their tenant improvement projects in a green fashion. However, many recycled materials cost the same or more than newly manufactured projects. If you'd like to go green and save green, reuse what is already in the space. Ceiling tiles, modern lighting fixtures, doors and the like from the previous tenant are frequently in good enough shape to be reused, saving you from both paying for removal and from purchasing new materials.
Be Open to Being Closed
Like many companies, you probably are considering an open floor plan build-out. An open tenant improvement plan is more flexible, less expensive to build and can bring productivity benefits. However, while you might want to keep your workspaces flexible and open, don't forget to create defined spaces that will help make your workplace yours. This could include small meeting rooms, in-suite cafes, or any other closed areas that can both define spaces and define the groups that are using them.
Leverage LED Lighting
Advances LED lighting fixtures have two obvious benefits -- they consume less power than other technologies and they are longer lasting, necessitating less maintenance over time. However, the newest LED bulbs have an additional benefit -- the ability to change colors. Studies are starting to show that fixtures that mimic the shifting color of natural light over the course of the day have positive impacts on both employee health and productivity.
Look Up.... Once.
In a tenant improvement project, even a few dollars per square foot can make a difference. One way to save money and create cooler, more flexible space is to eliminate the traditional acoustic tile ceiling. Open ceiling offices aren't just industrial-chic, though. The higher space feels larger, while the open space means that your maintenance team has one less thing to clean while having easier access to lighting, HVAC and wiring systems that run along the ceiling for repairs and retrofits.
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Phill Tomlinson is a commercial real estate broker with Commercial Properties, Inc. (CPI) in Scottsdale, Arizona, and owner of the Leveraged CRE Investment Team specializing in investment sales and tenant/landlord representation in the Phoenix and Scottsdale submarkets. Phill applies over 21 years of experience in the Real Estate industry helping investors and owners maximize their returns.
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