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Steps to a Completed Design for Office Renovation and Fit Out Project

In today’s rapidly changing global environment, there is considerable uncertainty as to what the short-term future holds for the economy and restriction of movement. Both of these have the potential to cause delays on construction projects. We will look at the options available to businesses that are looking to modernize or relocate their premises, such as office renovation and fit outs, and would like to develop a design while limiting exposure to risk.  Also, to proactively respond to future challenges, businesses might want to engage the services of a project manager not only to maximize real estate options but to ensure a structured approach in planning, controlling and managing resources and capabilities of their business as well as to obtain timely results that are aligned to their business goals and needs of today.

Before embarking on any commercial office renovation or fit out project, a considerable amount of time should be spent on strategic planning to identify real estate opportunities that present maximum ROI potential with the least possible risk. Then, carry out a cost-benefit analysis to make an economically feasible decision in addition to a business case to prove the necessity of a commercial office renovation and fit out project. Don’t forget to factor in the full life-cycle cost. Early engagement with the relevant line of business leaders is also important to ensure ‘buy-in’ from internal stakeholders throughout the project. A good project manager or project management consultant, such as CBRE with its sound project skills and expertise, is more than equipped to take these projects.

After obtaining approval for the business case, the project will enter into the project initiation phase which is the first phase within the project management life-cycle. The formal appointment of a project management consultant is required at this stage as they are held accountable for the overall success of a commercial office renovation or fit out project. During this stage, the project management consultant will review the transaction management activity, project timeline and scope to highlight any potential budget and schedule impacts. Test-fits will be developed to ensure that the area in question is sufficient to support the business requirements. It is also important during this stage to understand any due diligence requirements and possible pre-funding that may be needed for the project.

As the project moves into the second phase, or the project planning stage, the project manager’s focus will be on identifying the additional consultants necessary to assist in delivering the project. An important decision at this stage is whether the project will be delivered using a traditional approach, where a design is developed and a main contractor is appointed to construct the works, or if a design-and-build contractor will be selected who will assume the design and construction responsibilities for the commercial office renovation and fit-out. The consultant team may include technical due diligence specialists, interior designers, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers, structural engineers and IT/AV consultants, amongst others.  The project manager’s planning will also involve the development of a project execution plan which will detail exactly how the project is to be delivered, including each of the stakeholder’s various roles and responsibilities, along with the delegation of authority for approval and communication protocols. A detailed procurement strategy will also be developed to illustrate the various packages of work to be tendered as well as the recommended shortlist for each package along with a timeline and budget for each of the contracts.

If the office renovation and fit out project is to be delivered using the traditional approach, which is recommended for larger fitouts and those with more specific design requirements, a tender process will be conducted for each of the consultant work packages; and each design consultant is to be appointed before entering the design phase of the project.

During the design phase of the office renovation project, which is the third phase, the project manager along with the appointed interior designer will conduct interviews with leaders from each line of business to further develop the business requirements. It is important to note that these interviews are a critical input to the design process, and it is meant to be nothing more than a fact-finding exercise and not a ‘wish list’ from each of the respective business lines. The overall responsibility of determining the final list of design requirements will be determined by the project steering committee, consisting of the business’ senior management team. A workplace strategy study can also be very useful in this stage to maximize the design efficiency of the office and ensure it is aligned with the business needs.

The project manager will then run the design management process by conducting a series of design coordination meetings and ad-hoc workshops with the relevant design consultants including the ID designer, MEP engineer and IT/AV consultants as required. There will be design milestones presented for the concept design, schematic design and detailed design stages for approval through the process. The final output will be a package of fully coordinated construction drawings that are based on the business needs and will enable the main contractor to construct the design effectively.

If you are you in need of an experienced project management consultant to assist your office renovation or fit out project, contact CBRE.

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