Your office or business location says a lot about who you are through how you present yourself to the public, including potential clients.  There are many reasons to consider a commercial remodeling project, and in most cases there are multiple benefits to taking on this type of project as well.  Some benefits include energy savings, higher employee morale and retention, and supporting other local businesses by contracting their services.  Additionally, updating the look of your business can even generate good press or serve to re-brand your business.  If your office or business needs to be spruced up a bit, or needs an entire facelift, there are plenty of options to consider when it comes to planning and executing a commercial remodeling project.

When you choose a builder for any project, it is important to have one that has experience—your business cannot afford to settle for anything less.  Lacy Construction is a design builder that can provide a complete construction package, including surveying of the existing building, work flow analysis, code and life safety analysis, structural surveying, additional planning and future casting your facility.  Future casting is the practice of trying to envision your company’s future.  While companies spend a lot of time predicting what sales will be like in the future, they spend surprisingly little time actually thinking about other factors that impact the future.  Jerry Lacy, owner of Lacy Construction, advises to consider what the organizational look to your company would be in 5 – 10 years and then allow your builder to plan the renovations to your facility for that future need.  All of the work does not have to be completed at once but in planning now for that time frame, you will reduce future building costs.  Besides the importance of future casting factors such as business dynamics, trajectory and evolution; you should consider with your builder what to expect during the construction process.  If you need absolute quiet and dust free conditions, you may want to move to a temporary location during the construction work.   Lacy notes that they schedule owner-occupied projects with the least amount of interference and interruption possible.   Nevertheless, there will be noise and dust created by the construction process and he stresses that it is wise to plan accordingly.

One area of most businesses that often gets overlooked is the parking lot.  By keeping your parking areas clean and well-maintained, your clients notice that your business pays attention to details.  Broomers, Inc. offers parking lot cleaning and sweeping services for exterior remodeling, landscaping projects and parking area improvements.  They provide these services to strip malls, shopping centers, apartment complexes, professional office buildings, and churches.  Additionally, they can provide dust controlled cleaning for environmentally sensitive businesses or areas and new construction projects.  Some of their recently completed sweeping projects include: Cimarron Terrace Apartment Homes, the Old Market Lofts commercial parking lot, and the Omaha Children’s Museum after parking lot improvements were completed.  Cindi Goff, owner of Broomers, Inc., recommends that you should contact a parking lot maintenance company when your remodeling project is within two weeks of completion to schedule a thorough cleaning of your parking areas and drives.  A professional parking lot sweeping company can give your facility a crisp clean look by cleaning up excess mulch, sand, and other debris from corners, around islands, drives and dock or dumpster areas.  You can also utilize these services if you are upgrading or renovating your parking lot as a part of your remodeling project.  Goff stresses it is especially important to have your parking lot swept thoroughly before doing any crack sealing, seal coating or paint striping.  Your attention to having sweeping completed prior to the other work will insure that the money you spend repairing your parking surfaces gives you a better and longer lasting product.  Additionally, you can prevent excess deterioration by cleaning sand and salt from your parking areas and drives every spring.  Goff adds that it is also important to keep sand, mulch and other debris from being washed down your curbside sewer inlets to prevent them from backing up which can lead to expensive correction procedures.

If you’re thinking of remodeling, updating or expanding you may want to begin by eliminating clutter and unused items to get a better perspective of your current space and what needs to be accomplished to create the environment you are looking for.  Sandy Hammers, President of Sparkling Klean Inc., says that from a cleaning perspective you should always consider the surfaces that will need to be maintained after the project is completed.  Many surfaces look attractive but are not conducive to high traffic areas.  Dark finishes (black, dark wood hues on doors or counter tops) as well as glass counter tops will readily show finger prints.  Most painted walls cannot be washed without damaging the paint and finish also.  Additionally, porous floors will hold and show dirt and need to be machine scrubbed to maintain a clean appearance.  High quality carpet squares are often less expensive in the long run because you can replace a stained or worn square(s) in highly trafficked areas without replacing all the carpet.  Hammers notes that 75-80% of dust in buildings is due to dirt brought in on shoes.  A maintenance schedule, depending on the amount of foot traffic, should always be used to prolong the longevity of carpet.  Any surface cleaned properly will retain beauty and longevity. Investing in quality walk-off mats outside and inside entry doors will help preserve finishes on hard surface floors.  Choosing high quality and low maintenance materials will keep your newly remodeled space looking new for a long time to come.  Hammers recommends consulting with a designer or builder that has experience completing jobs similar to yours, as they will be able to design a finished product with these considerations in mind that will be functional and welcoming.

Steril Manufacturing Co. has two divisions, Atlas Awning and Atlas Signs and Graphics, who produce a full line of awnings and interior/exterior signage.  According to Steril Manufacturing Co. owner Tom Zummach, signage options that are great additions to any commercial property include custom and readymade signs, electrical and neon cabinets, channel letters, LED features, monument signs as well as window displays.  They are also a full-service digital graphics company offering fleet graphics, banners and trades show displays as well as commercial company branding.  Additionally, Atlas Awning offers a complete line of commercial and residential awnings which include custom made canvas, vinyl, back-lit, retractable and architectural canopies just to name a few.  Steril Manufacturing Co. can also provide welding services, custom sewing, seasonal maintenance and exterior window shades.  As a diversified company, they have the experience and capability to effectively design, manufacture and install all of their products.  Zummach advises, “It is important to have clear goals and objectives when doing a commercial remodel.  An important part of that process is certainly signage and awnings, which are key in aesthetics and corporate branding.  What type of message does the company want to send at completion?  Who will be involved in the process and at what point?  How much time will it take to complete the project?  How much will this cost and what is the return?  These are all important questions that need to be addressed very early in the planning stage. There are a lot of moving parts and players during a commercial remodeling project, so there needs to be leadership, organization and communication to make it come together.”

Superior Lighting also offers many types of interior and exterior products and services.  Their exterior services include monument/pylon signs, illuminated channel letters, custom signs with an illumination option, and one or two panel systems.  Some great examples of their interior services that could be included in a commercial remodeling project include donor recognition displays and plaques, wall and free standing directories, ADA compliant signs, office identification signs, interior wayfinding signs, wall ceiling and projection mount signs, or any type of specialty interior signs.  Pat Weeks of Superior Lighting advises to work with an interior/exterior signage consultant in managing the complete signage development and delivery process.  She adds that it is in the best interest of the client that these types of discussions happen in the beginning stages so that everyone fully understands the overall scope of the project, as well as critical benchmarks.  Every environment is unique, and gathering critical information about goals for the project, including features and functions of the architecture, are key.  Hernandez notes that developing an efficient, integrated environment early in the process is essential for the success of the exterior and/or interior signage program.  Exterior and interior signage is designed to integrate with architectural finishes and the clients’ branding.  Corporate branding in regards to signage is often times not recognized until the later part of the project, and also at a time when the budget it running out, so it is a good idea to strategize right from the start.  Hernandez stresses that appropriate signage is extremely important for the success of a business, and it is the responsibility of the business to give their customers an enjoyable and stress free experience while approaching and navigating throughout the building.  Superior Lighting is honored to work with businesses to ensure this responsibility is met, and that this aspect of your commercial remodeling project is a success.

Another important aspect that should be considered during a commercial remodel is how the finished product is going to improve efficiency.  Mark Pechar of Concept Electric advises that being efficient in today’s business world could be the one thing that puts you ahead of your competition, and the place in which you physically operate from can have a lot to do with that.  Concept Electric is dedicated to setting the highest standards possible in offering their customers the best products available.  They take pride in knowing that once a project is complete, they have provided quality installation in a professional manner, ensuring throughout the construction process that the customer got exactly what they wanted.  Concept Electric provides professional installation of electrical equipment and systems, and they are a contractor that you can trust who will work with you personally to deliver a quality job on time.

What everyone agrees on is there are plenty of ways to promote and increase energy efficiency, especially during a commercial remodel, and with good reason.  A current trend of the general population is to make a concerted effort to seek out and implement greener options in their residences, and this translates into commercial spaces as well.  As individuals, we are all invested in leaving less of a carbon footprint and being environmentally responsible.  At the same time, we are also beginning to expect the same dedication to protecting our environment on the commercial front.  Not only are implementing greener options the environmentally responsible thing to do, they can save business and commercial property owners a significant amount of money after the initial investment.  Moreover, they can convey a great image for your property and thus, your company or business.  Some improvements are more costly or difficult than others, but several easy ways to consider the environment when commercially remodeling include:

• Updating light fixtures to more economical and energy efficient incandescent fixtures

• Updating heating and air conditioning units to energy efficient models

• When it’s time to repair or replace your roof, choose materials that are made from recycled products

• Update plumbing fixtures to those that conserve water and are made of environmentally friendly material

• Install motion responsive or daylight controlled lighting to cut back on use of electricity

• Install skylights or highlights.  The natural light makes for a pleasant work environment as well as conserving energy

• Install rooftop solar collectors as a supplemental energy source

• Improve your outdoor lighting, for areas such as parking lots, by using solar powered light fixtures

If you’re a business or commercial property owner, it is important for you to maintain a certain profit margin.  Investing in energy efficient equipment can cut your costs significantly, effectively paying for itself, and from that point will yield a return that you can allocate to other endeavors or improvements.

One of the many reasons for hiring experienced, local professionals also comes down to following building codes that change by legal jurisdiction.  Local building codes involve processes such as obtaining the appropriate permits, or having inspections conducted intermittently or once the project is finalized.  Finding out about infractions after work has been done makes it much more difficult and costly to correct, as it effectively means the same job will have to be done twice.  Commercial buildings are subject to many more government regulations than residential structures, and they are more likely to receive fines when they break those codes.   Being educated on city and state regulations is part of the reason why trades are specialized, and local professionals are well-versed in their area of work as well as being experienced in legal requirements.  In addition to increased regulations, the purpose of a commercial remodel is usually broader than a residential remodel.  Instead of simply aiming to please a single homeowner or family, the commercial design should appeal to the community and reflect the image of the business.  This is why it is necessary to consider what you are trying to achieve with the remodel.  Maybe your business is growing and you need a larger, better looking space to accommodate new customers or clients.  Or perhaps you want to utilize the space you already have more efficiently, or want to add some energy efficiency updates.   Planning and designing create a partnership, and so should you—with your project manager, contractor, the companies you have hired, and the businesses that will play a role in completing your newly remodeled place of business.