Are you in need of extra office space but not happy to move? Want to improve the first impression your office makes on visitors? Then it is time to look at the key areas to address when planning an office upgrade. From the evaluation and planning stage, through design, implementation and completion, there are many large steps to take and many decisions to address, to ensure that your office refurbishment project meets your requirements.
These include planning and project evaluation, interior design (including placement of partitions, plumbing, ceilings and walls), communications installations (phone, fax, external networking) and data cabling, and furniture and equipment. As part of this process, of course, attention is needed on latest environmental and health and safety regulations.
Preliminary Evaluation and Feasibility
Before considering a move, it is of course natural that a complete re-evaluation of the use of current space is made. A successful outcome might be that a move to new premises is not needed. Your evaluation and feasibility planning stage of the project will compare options, develop plans and make a final selection. Thus the project could become a refurbishment project and not a relocation plan. But whether the plan is to refurbish and fit out existing premises, or to move to a new location, the next and following steps are the same, which are:
Commercial Interior Design
The first step is to use design skills to implement business requirements. These days this process is carried out with highly sophisticated communications software which can give all responsible project members a powerful tool where designs can be evaluated in real-time via shared documentation and imaging systems. This means CGI created or hand-rendered 3D images of any design scheme to give you a real understanding of how your new office will look and feel. This would help with updates to old office layouts or a complete re-design of shell space in new premises.
Project & Build Management
This step covers the framework of the project implementation process. It will include the finalising of the design brief, site investigation, creation of cost schedules, and of work packages and legal compliance implementation. Then a project design team needs to be appointed – usually a combination of internal decision-makers and appointed outside experts.
Fitting Out Works
This phase includes all aspects of office fitting, including reception counters and waiting areas; storage walls; media walls; internal and external feature doors and ironmongery. The phase is best implemented by appointment of an office refurbishment contractor with a good database of quality approved suppliers. Expertise is needed in mechanical and electrical installation and commissioning including air-conditioning systems. Other specialist areas include data backbone and cabling (including Cat6 cabling) , lighting (including CAT2 cabling) as well as special flooring and ceiling systems.
A detailed furniture specification, based on your criteria and budget is important, as furniture can be procured in a number of ways, tailored to requirements and best managed as a one-off purchase for best discounts and to enable outside contractors to add value on its installation. Advice in this area is especially important in terms of procuring the best ergonomically focussed furniture to ensure staff morale and government health and safety regulations are both fully addressed.
Managing the Move
The project must have an experienced move co-ordinator to ensure nil or minimal business interruption and compromise whist the changes are taking place. Phased moves, logistics and priorities need to be logged and planned to cover existing furniture itineraries, I.T. schedules, work-to-lists, removal of safes and copiers and handover and out of hours supervision where needed.
Health and Safety Compliance, and Risk Assessment
With any move or upgrade, it is vital to carry out a comprehensive management audit covering five main areas of your company. These are: management of Health & Safety; Mechanical & Personal Safety; Fire Protection; Accident investigating and recording; General housekeeping, safety signs etc. It is also vital, of course, that your company policy contains the necessary organisational responsibilities and arrangements for implementation and carrying out the Policy Statement. Safe working procedures must be written to cover specific work activities happening on the premises.
These phases contain within each of them, a need to be up to date with current best practice and to ensure employment of correctly qualified personnel with appropriate accreditation. The 7 steps I have outlined here are designed to highlight the key areas to explore in discussions with any Office Relocation consultancy company as part of your office upgrade procurement process.