Commercial Renovations: Research Before You Lease

Commercial Renovations: Research Before You Lease

When you believe you’ve found the ideal location for your business, preparing to renovate your commercial space during a build out can be quite a challenge. Whether you are moving to a new space to create greater opportunities for growth or launching a new business, planning and preparing for your new business accommodations is exciting. Regardless of your renovation – office build out, retail space, medical facility, or restaurant  renovation – hiring an experienced contractor and construction team is key to getting your project done well, within your budget and on your timeline.

Of course, before the lease is signed and the construction can begin, you should do your own research on the property. With each property comes guidelines and city or county codes which must be adhered to; meaning you don’t want to sign a lease, no matter how perfect the property, if your business can’t meet those requirements. Remember, there are building permits which will be needed, along with a Certificate of Occupancy and other guidelines depending on where your business is located (or moving to). Here’s what you need to explore before you sign your lease or plan any build out renovations.

Check the Certificate of Occupancy

The Certificate of Occupancy details exactly what the potential property is legally available for – office, restaurant, residence, laboratory, etc. In many cities and counties, you can find this information online easily. If you find the space isn’t available for your business, you’ll want to consider other properties or explore the procedure for changing the property’s legal use. Changing use can be time consuming in some areas, but if you’ve found the ideal property, it could well be worth the additional time and expense. Knowing what the Certificate of Occupancy says before signing your lease is key, after all, you don’t want to get the build out process started only to see it come to a grinding halt because licenses and permits can’t be approved without cutting through mounds of the proverbial “red tape.”

Explore Existing Violations on the Potential Property

Examine the property you are considering for possible building code violations. Large or small, these violations need to be addressed before you sign any lease for the property. Whether electrical work has been done without a permit, the sprinkler system isn’t functional, or there is some other open violation, if you lease and begin renovations, you won’t be able to get your needed permits. Any open violation should be corrected before entering into a lease agreement to avoid a stop-work order when your build out is underway. Most cities and counties allow you to research open violations online on buildings in their jurisdiction. Generally, with commercial leases, violations will be addressed by the landlord, but only if specified in your lease. Don’t be afraid to have a general contractor, architect, or inspector walk the property with you to determine potential issues before signing.

Can the Building Support Your Business?

Depending on your business, you’ll want to ensure the building is structurally capable of supporting your business, for example, will walls need to added or removed, etc. And, also if the existing electrical, plumbing, or mechanical infrastructure can handle your business (IT firms, restaurants, and physician offices require a variety of industry specific capabilities).

And How About the Envelope?

A building envelop includes the exterior walls, roof, exterior doors and windows, and the sub floor – essentially all that separates the inside from the outside. It’s often significant in whether the property is compliant with the Americans with Disability Act but can also include dangerous materials (like lead or asbestos) which will need to be handled during a build out or a historic landmark designation which could limit your design changes.

Perillo Construction is ready to help you every step of the way from researching potential properties and pinpointing issues to completing your build out successfully – on time and on budget with the highest quality materials.