5 Questions Owners Should Ask Before Beginning a Commercial Renovation Project

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Upon beginning a renovation project, one of the first things your architect may ask is, “Do you have drawings?”  Often in commercial renovation, architectural plans do not exist and it is necessary to visit the site before the planning phase really even begins. For commercial renovations, it all begins with precise and thorough as-built drawings. It’s an important step to capture all aspects of the project into a concise set of drawings which fully describe the starting point of the project. At first, most owners wonder about the value of this but soon find that as the scope of the work increases, the as-built drawings become even more important.  Here are 5 questions to ask before your project begins.

QUESTION 1: Is it important to adhere to the project budget?

Reducing the overall cost of construction and renovation projects is obviously important to every owner. The investment made up front during the as-built or existing condition survey process, is more than offset by minimizing costly re-work and change orders. In addition, survey services firms record precision measurements at a lower rate than architectural firms.

QUESTION 2: How can I understand the current environment without bias?

A new as-built survey from a third-party provides up-to-date information without the bias of past drawings or future plans. Existing condition surveys create an up to date document package of the interior space as it actually exists. It precisely captures the layout and structure, deviations from the architect’s original design, and changes that have occurred during renovation / remodel.  There are no preconceived ideas about the building’s construction because a professional survey firm is not part of the design or construction process. This means documentation will be more complete and the intelligence gathering process is consistently handled.

QUESTION 3: How can I avoid conflicts of interest when planning?

Owners should work directly with as-built surveyors to avoid conflicts with contractors and subcontractors. Because As-Built Survey firms continually invest in their equipment to keep pace with the rapid advancements in tools, technology, and best-practices in such a wide array of scenarios, they often act as generators, aggregators, and brokers of critical project information. In today’s world of technology fast, correct, organized information is the very lifeblood of complex projects, and the rewards for leveraging this information is significant.

QUESTION 4: What will help me coordinate project reconnaissance?

Architects, designers, contractors and stakeholders are all important teams to align when beginning a project.  With an as-built survey from a third-party in-hand, owners are able to align with pre-design building intelligence before, or in lieu of, an on-site visit.  Owners sidestep delays that are inevitable when coordinating schedules across multiple professional organizations.

QUESTION 5: Do I have a way to discuss ongoing Facility Management needs?

What’s on the record matters. And not just when it comes to negotiating contracts. Having proper construction documents are crucial to operations in all sorts of facilities. Who’s taking care of updating that information? Often employees do not have the tools to update the stacks of information necessary to manage facilities. For example, in the case of a building doing a renovation, architects, contractors and others will have to track down that construction document information and make sure it becomes current if it’s not already. And that’s when the wild goose chase starts. Accurate and well-organized facility records provided in an as-built survey will always be valuable to progressive facility owners and operators.

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