Keeping commercial buildings operational during maintenance, extensive repair, renovation or refurbishment is a challenge not to be undertaken lightly.
Even when commercial buildings have undergone regular planned preventative maintenance, there will remain the prospect that renovation will be required in the future.
Reasons to Renovate
- The current facility may no longer be fit for the purposes of an expanding business.
- Health and Safety legislation may require changes to be made.
- Branding considerations.
- Technological changes may mean that the current facilities are ergonomically inadequate.
- Appropriate changes may be needed with an increase in customer foot-falls.
- Smart technology may be required to increase control and reduce costs.
Some people may think that expensive renovations can be undertaken and a temporary reduction in profits is an acceptable price to pay. Adding the possible impact on customer loyalty and business visibility may, however, make such an approach untenable.
In any renovation, it is also important to consider what predictable future changes may be required and include provisions for them within the current plan.
Even when a thorough survey has been completed, there will always be unforeseen complications. Being realistic will require an acceptance that there will be interruptions and that no plan can be perfect however painstakingly it is devised.
These issues can be mitigated by employing professional contractors with proven expertise the production of a detailed Project Management Plan with built-in flexibility and defined costs.
Work Options and Other Considerations
There are a number of options available where the business has to continue trading during the renovation period.
Because of cost implications, it may not be feasible to have all the commercial building maintenance work undertaken outside of normal hours (evenings or weekends). Health & Safety requirements, particularly in relation to noise and air pollution, however, may mean that some work will have to be done in this way but with an efficient project management plan these costs can be carefully budgeted for and controlled.
If there are quieter trading periods in the year, it may be worthwhile targeting renovations to these periods to minimise possible trading losses.
In a phased renovation, spaces will need to be segregated so that work can continue. Partial re-location of goods or staff could be considered. Excess stock could be housed elsewhere and inventive staffing strategies employed. For example, internet-based work does not necessarily have to be tied to any particular premises – even short-term home working could become a consideration.
Similarly, using mailing lists to keep valued customers informed of progress will be invaluable in maintaining and possibly increasing brand loyalty.