Common refurbishment mistakes and how to avoid them

Common refurbishment mistakes and how to avoid them

So, you’ve acquired a new property, or maybe you feel your existing premises needs a new lease of life.  You have started to think about a new design or fit out, but are worried about the costs and if it’s even necessary. It can be difficult to determine what, when and how much you should remodel, or even know where to start.

Perhaps you have a budget in mind but you’re unsure on the design or layout.  Or maybe you’re concerned about wasting money on replacing fixtures and fittings that could last a few more years.  Maybe you just don’t know how much a fit out will cost you and you need some guidance on what you need to budget.

Undertaking a refurbishment project can be stressful but it really doesn’t have to be! In this short article, we tackle some of the most common challenges in undertaking a fit out and how to avoid disappointment.

1. Skipping research and rushing the planning stage

We have all heard stories of building owners that decided to undertake renovation works without adequate research.  As the project progresses, unforeseen costs start to mount up, delays creep in, and the end result is disappointing.

Make sure you spend enough time on your research and planning stage.  Rushing this process almost always ends up costing you more time and money.  Not only will you feel better prepared and in control of your project, but it will help mitigate the risks of unforeseen costs.

2. No collaboration

Collaboration is key to ensuring your project is a success.  Make sure you engage with your stakeholders and end users so the space you create is fit for purpose.  Gather feedback from those that use the space the most to get ideas on where improvements can be made.

If you are partnering with a contractor from the offset, try to choose a company that has a design team they are used to working with. A contractor with a good working relationship with a design team is more likely going to include them in the planning stages and consult with them at critical stages. Click here to read more.

3. Only focusing on appearance

Refurbishment projects provide an opportunity to enhance the facilities of a building, increase operational efficiency and reduce energy waste.  Look beyond the visual aesthetics of the space and consider all the factors that would impact occupational comfort.

Review the accessibility of the building for those less abled, its weatherproofing, lighting and air flow.  If your heating is controlled by sensors, have you considered where these will be located once works have been completed?  Do you need to upgrade the electrics? Is there an opportunity to move over to smart technology or reduce your energy waste?

These are important questions to ask yourself – they not only help ensure your space is enjoyed by the end user, but they help ensure the project delivers value for money.

4. Dysfunctional layout design

You need to envision your design through the perspective of your visitors or employees. Ask yourself – is my layout functional, easy-to-navigate and purposeful?  Remember to cater for every aspect of your buildings requirements and make sure the rooms flow.

Ask yourself – have you accounted for high and low footfall? Is there adequate spacing to allow people to easily walk through the building? Is my layout compliant with building regulations and does it provide a safe route out in case of emergencies?

5. Replicating other designs

You might have looked at other organisations and taken inspiration from them which is great as a starting point. However, never try to mimic what you see somewhere else – what works well for one company might not necessarily be right for your business.  Your designs should reflect your company values and set you apart from the rest.

6. Ineffective budgeting

Do your research before starting any refurbishment project.  Don’t just look at the cost of materials and labour, but also factor in any potential expenses from unexpected or underestimated costs – these are typically identified within your contingency plan.

Be mindful of your expenditure and hold back from making any impulsive changes to the programme of works without this first being factored into the designs and budget. Changes to the scope of works is a common cause of project overspend, so make sure your contractor provides you with a quote before making alterations to the programme of works.

If you need help costing up your project, speak to the one of our team today.   We can usually provide an idea of costs based on your square footage and project deliverables.  Alternatively, if you a have a rough budget in mind, we can provide an accurate quote and appoint one of our Project Managers and Quantity Surveyors to cost control and manage the project.

7. Failing to consider long-term business plans

When undertaking a refurbishment or fit out project, think about your long-term plans.  A renovation is likely to be a significant investment, so you don’t want to be making big changes 1 or 2 years after completion.

Factor in any potential company growth that might require you to expand or change the space.  Consider temporary wall partitions or adaptive zones, instead of permanent wall fixtures.   Look at where the electrics are placed.  Will your plug sockets need moving as the company evolves? Will your temperature sensors or building controls need moving if you change the buildings’ purpose of use?

8. Going for the expensive option or going for the cheap option

Picking the cheapest quote from your contractor won’t necessarily save you money in the long term.  Likewise, choosing the most expensive option doesn’t always mean you get a better product or service.  In order to get true value for money, you need to weigh up all of your options and make sure what you are choosing is fit for purpose.

For instance, unless you are catering for the luxury end of the market, you may want to stick to basic and practical fixtures and fittings if you know you will be replacing it in a few years.  That doesn’t mean to say you should comprise on quality though.  The balance is finding the right fixtures and fittings that are affordable, high quality and durable.

We talk our clients through this process when we provide a quote.  We have an extensive, tried and tested supply chain so can easily source high quality fixtures and fittings without necessarily paying a premium.  We have a good product knowledge and can easily find the right materials for the project.

9. Rushing the project

This goes hand in hand with planning.  Make sure your programme of works is realistic and allows enough time for a proper handover.  Failure to set a suitable or realistic plan will only lead to disappointment. Deadlines are either missed or quality is reduced where works are escalated to meet an unrealistic programme of works.

That being said, there are some contractors, such as ourselves, that are experienced in managing projects with very tight timeframes.  It takes a skilled Project Manager to know how to deliver an accelerated programme of works on time and within budget.  Click here and check out our team – see for yourself the types of fast roll out schemes they have managed.

10. Hiring the wrong contractor

Unfortunately, in this sector there are a lot of firms who will promise the earth and under deliver.  Before contacting a remodelling company for an estimate, make sure to do your research first.  Check their credentials and see if they have a good reputation with their clients and suppliers alike. Do they offer expertise in all the key disciplines – project management, post contract support, furniture supply, etc?

When you eventually do meet with them, try and get a sense of their level of professionalism and what it will be like to work with them. Do they clearly explain what the project will involve and the associated costs?

Are they passionate and do whatever it takes to deliver the brief on time and within budget?  We certainly are! And even better, we have an excellent network of suppliers and subcontractors from various disciplines that add real value to our projects.

Let’s chat

Commercial fit outs will always have bumps along the way, but a good contractor will always have your back. As long as you get this bit right, the rest will fall into place!

Speak to us today on 0117 967 5923 or email and discover how we can help you achieve a renovation to be envied by your rivals. Alternatively, click here and check out our previous projects.