At Office Changes we understand that when you choose office refurbishment in your workplace, it can be a daunting task, with a million and one things to organise whilst, at the same time, maintaining a functional business without disruption. There is also a minefield of legislation to follow and numerous pitfalls that so many organisations fall prey to.
From a base of expertise, we have tried to make things a little easier for you.
So here are our top 7 Office Refurbishment Mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Avoiding the Issue: Make sure you leave enough time…
Refurbishing your offices is, even for a smaller entity, a substantial and potentially stressful exercise. Yet so many companies leave organising their projects to the last minute.
No matter how good their refurbishment contractor, the design and consultation periods are insufficient, access to longer lead time products is reduced and the project cannot be produced at the highest level because it has been carried out at “breakneck” speed.
2. Not Completing a Workplace Audit: Know where you’re starting from…
When refurbishing, all too much emphasis can be applied to the how the installation will look.
Of course reviewing your day to day operations, through a detailed workplace audit, is ultimately more important. Not only does it outline a platform from which to design the new space from, but it also gives an insight as to how to be more innovative and efficient.
3. Staff Opinions Matter: Get everyone onboard…
One of the major benefits of a well-designed office refurbishment is gaining an improvement in staff productivity and morale. Addressing staff issues with your current workplace and identifying areas that they would like improved for the new environment means that your staff are participating, positively, in the design process, and are less likely to resent the changes when they occur.
4. Not Preparing a Design Brief: Get what you want and need…
The common difference between a good project and an excellent project is usually how meticulously the design and consultation period was conducted. The first and most important planning element is to observe points 1-3 and to then create a clear and concise design brief for how the new premises are to accommodate your organisation now and in the future, in achieving your strategic goals and in demonstrating your brand and culture. This will ensure you get exactly what you have in mind for your brand.
5. Overlooking Regulations: Make sure you are covered and protected…
Refurbishment projects, small to large, are, for the most part, subject to various approvals.
Certain works can require Planning Consent and virtually all projects will need Building Control approval.
A non-compliant workplace means you could be open to a whole raft of future problems, including prosecution in the event of an incident occurring, as a result of substandard, unapproved work. A non-compliant space is also unlikely to be covered by your insurance. The design process must incorporate all relevant regulations as a priority.
6. Being Safe: Select your contractor carefully…
Operating a safe site is not just about informing the Health and Safety Executive.
Ensuring Health and Safety commences at the design stage with a Pre-Construction Safety File, in which the proposed design is assessed to establish associated risks at the earliest possible stage.
As the design process continues risks are continually considered and ultimately addressed with methods for safe construction in a full Construction Phase Safety File. The moral and commercial dangers in not complying with Health and Safety Law can be extremely costly, and not just fiscally. Responsibility for compliance rests, ultimately, with you the employer so you should select your contractor carefully.
7. Forgetting your Landlord: Buy them a coffee – Get to know your landlord…
The better your relationship with your landlord the more successful your project is likely to be.
You will, after all, require their consent and cooperation. Communicating your intentions at the earliest stage will reduce the likelihood of potential delays and ensure that the landlord’s requirements are met in the design phase.
A License for Alterations is generally required as part of the lease documentation and should be completed as soon as the design is finalised to gain approval well in advance of work commencing. With this establishing the rules for conducting work, concerning access, use of the lifts and noise etc., is important so that the project can be planned properly and safety procedures adapted accordingly.
And there you go, our top 7 mistakes all take place long before any work takes place on site.
Allowing enough time and planning your project thoroughly is absolutely the key to success. Selecting a contractor with the knowledge and experience to walk you through or completely manage these scenarios may be as equally important as vetting them for the quality of their workmanship.