Unless they are designing and constructing office space from the ground up, business owners and their teams are always working with someone else’s creation. Even buildings that are gutted to the shell can present challenges. Reconfiguring an office space that is partially or fully finished can be even more problematic. Following are some “can’t overlook” considerations and proven strategies to ensure your office build-out achieves your goals—and provides the payback you anticipate.
- Will the office space be open or closed, or will it be a mixture? Is team collaboration or employee solitude more valuable to your work product? If hard walls are important, ensure these are built into construction drawings before crews arrive.
- How will common areas be designed and arrayed? What about storage, mail, copy and specialized training areas? Will you need a full kitchen? Will a simple conference room suffice, or do you need an auditorium setting? Little tweaks, like designing kitchens and bathrooms in a block near the center of the space, can save thousands of dollars.
- How many workers need specialized task accommodations, such as high-lumen lighting, extra receptacles, stand-up desks, and other considerations? If you are uncertain, add 50% capacity to your electrical and lighting designs—it’s much less expensive than expanding them later.
Cabling and Networks
One area where build-out mistakes are common (and can be very costly) is in the layout of cabling and networking components. Today’s “networks” involve far more than a server and a few desktops networked for information exchange and Internet connectivity. The modern office network may also incorporate cameras and access control devices, A/V systems, phones, printers, and other Internet or locally connected equipment.
Following are some pointers.
- An often-overlooked asset for an office move is a network map. Different from the diagrams used in network architecture design, this diagram shows every piece of equipment and connection—whether planned for current or future use—that should be connected before move in.
- Cabling is a crucial element of a wired network and yet is often overlooked. All cabling runs should be completed before walls are closed and ceilings are lowered.
- Wiring and server closets should be conveniently and centrally located in an area that is easy to physically secure. Avoid outside walls where heat transfer could be an issue or prepare to install extra insulation.
- Power requirements and connection types for equipment, from phones to switches and even built-in jacks, should be confirmed prior to construction build out. Models change, and manufacturers don’t always do a great job of warning their customers.
- Don’t expect contractors to install routers, switches and servers. Work with your IT provider to plan for that effort and leave sufficient time before staff arrives to work in the new location.
During any interior office construction project, the major components are always built and installed in a particular order: 1) walls, ceiling and infrastructure; 2) floor finishes; 3) furniture (e.g. desks, cubicles and conference room tables). Build your plans around this workflow and you will save both inconvenience and money.
At Carmichael, we highly recommend utilizing Business Transitions 360 for their office furniture and relocation services. They provide a single source solution for buying and selling office furniture at a reasonable price. Not only does Business Transitions 360 assist in the buying and selling of furniture, they also offer decommission and broom sweep services, low voltage cabling and furniture installation services. Their expertise makes relocating offices an effortless experience.