5 tips to consider before you renovate your commercial space

By Greg Bell

Investing in commercial property remains a great way to generate income, but it’s important to ensure the property remains in good condition or even undergoes some upgrades from time to time. This means there’s a good chance you’re going to have to renovate the property at some point, or even regularly. Even if the building is in decent condition, changing property laws might force your hand into renovations whether you want to do it or not.

With the prospect of commercial property renovations a constant worry, consider these commercial property renovation tips:

1. Identify why you’re renovating

Renovations are no small undertaking, and they require significant time and money to finish. If you’re going to undertake a project of this magnitude, it’s critical that you understand the reasoning over why you’re doing so. Is this simply for changing the building’s aesthetics? Do you need to upgrade any infrastructure systems? Are you trying to repurpose the property for different functions? Before you begin, identify all the goals you’re trying to accomplish, as this will help you hone in on the specific aspects that the renovation will need to address.

2. Make a budget and stick to it

This might seem like common sense, but as the old saying goes, sometimes common sense isn’t too common. Many people, once they’re already in the middle of a renovation, will opt to upgrade or swap out designs for new features. But in most cases, making changes mid-renovation will ultimately create budget woes, either by extending the length of the project, which boosts labour costs, or by necessitating additional purchases of materials and components. So be sure to make a plan, budget accordingly, and stick to it.

3.Guarantee the structure is up to code

Whether you’ve already made the decision to renovate, or you’re wondering if it’s a good idea, spend some time evaluating the building to ensure it’s up to code. A renovation is the perfect opportunity to put in a little extra effort and resources to bring the building and its systems up to code.

This is especially pertinent now following the Australian Building Codes Board adoption of the new National Construction Codes in May, 2019. This code “is the nation’s defining operational document of building regulatory provisions, standards and performance levels.” The updated codes include requirements for heating and cooling load limits, accessibility and liveability, and it incorporates a performance-based approach to building regulations.

4. Have a well-defined end goal

Once the renovation gets underway, it’s all too easy to keep tacking on new aspects you want to address. Even with a budget and scope already in place, it can be tempting to push the envelope bit by bit to try and squeeze in as many changes and upgrades as possible. It’s important to keep in mind the goal you originally put in place and stick with it. Renovations are all about improving the property’s value and income-generating potential.

5. Consult a trusted commercial property group

No matter how long you’ve been in the commercial real estate game, or how new you are, consider working a trusted commercial property group to assist you in your renovation plans. With so much time, money, and resources needed to successfully renovate a commercial property, as well as the host of factors to incorporate, you can’t afford to make any missteps during a renovation project. Any problems that arise can lead to big cost overruns, which will ultimately impact your investment and any returns on the investment. Working with a trusted commercial property group, like Ray White, before, during, and after your renovation helps ensure you avoid any missteps during this critical project.

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