Before commencing with a commercial renovation, several practices need to be thoroughly explored, especially by the client, to ensure the success of a planned reparation and renovation.

Even though the cost implication of a future flooring reparation or renovation needs to be taken into consideration and well prepared for, it still remains a challenge for most facilities. Other challenges include coordinating efforts with the various interested parties, such as tenants and their corporate managers, as well as property owners.

In order to prepare for these challenges and put into practice efficient yet achievable solutions, there are several practices that are advised to overcome these obstacles and turn them into operational realities.

Get involved early

To ensure success, ideally both clients and the professional team need to participate as early as possible in the planning stages. Much of a renovation’s success is determined by its basic design. Knowledge of the building and its infrastructure is also essential in developing those designs, which is why building managers need to meet with architects and designers to discuss these issues.

After a basic design or remedy for repair has been established, planners need to specify flooring to match the design. As planning progresses, incorporating changes often becomes more difficult because project team members tend to be less accepting of changes to design. When several parties are involved in a project and there are several changes, finalising the plan often takes longer than expected. Once the plans for the project are finally confirmed, the work then has to be carried out very quickly to meet deadlines.

Relevant parties don’t want to start repairs or renovations to a building when tenants are working in their peak season.

Be prepared
To prepare for planning discussions and ensure their ideas and repair solutions are implemented, building managers need to research the building’s history, understand tenant needs, make sure that plans and repair methods comply with building codes and meet their department’s long-term goals. It may be that a new floor needs to be laid.

Throughout the repair or renovation, building managers need to say what they believe and make themselves heard. If they have any concerns, these need to be communicated, and the best way to express concerns is to present clear, strong evidence that shows why a strategy will or won’t work. Managers should also clarify their expectations, such as how much they plan to budget for maintenance costs related to particular items.

In addition, while building managers need to be open to new materials and products, they also need to investigate those items to ensure they can meet performance and maintenance expectations.

Setting standards
Costly renovations can be avoided by establishing organisation-wide standards that identify products and materials that have management’s approval before planning begins. If an organisation has established product standards, managers should re-evaluate them during the planning phase and update them as technology improves.

To ensure project success, a formal strategy for repairs and renovations should be compiled. Each phase of the strategy should include a role for maintenance managers and also feature several steps which managers can tailor to fit the size of the project they are working on.

Tenant expectations
Meeting tenant expectations presents its own set of challenges in planning for repairs and renovations in commercial buildings. Tenants often want the renovation to go as fast as possible so as to disrupt their operations as little as possible. While maintenance managers should try to meet tenant needs, they also need to ensure that their requests receive corporate approval.

The process of planning for commercial renovations can be a balancing act for managers. Renovation planning should include clear communication and a thorough understanding of expectations but also requires the insights of maintenance managers to ensure long-term success.

Cover-ups and Catastrophes
During repairs and renovations, organisations try to find the easiest solution to fix a problem; however, the easiest way isn’t always the best way. Temporary solutions to problems cost the organisation more money in the long run than if the job had been done properly the first time around. It is advised that the involved parties look ahead and calculate the long-term effects of trying to mask the problem versus doing it the right way from the get-go.

The costs of carrying out a project the correct way may increase one’s expenses today, but the alternative way will lead to dramatically increased costs in the long run, which is not worth the waste in time and money.

Downtime Concerns
There are several options for reducing total downtime, in some cases to almost zero; however, none of them is free. This is why organisations need to determine whether these options are worth the cost, given the financial impact of downtime, i.e. each organisation needs to decide what losses they are willing to accept and find a solution to avoid this worst case.

Average downtime costs vary considerably across industries and also vary significantly depending on the scale of the business. For a medium-sized business, the exact hourly cost may be lower, but the impact on the business much greater.

The cost of downtime is significantly increased for certain manufacturing businesses, including food and pharmaceutical brands that have to destroy all their goods in the process.

Interesting Facts:
•    Downtime costs manufacturers at least 5% of their productive capacity.
•    Downtime often means that manufacturers lose up to 20% of productive capacity.
•    An estimated 80% of industrial facilities are unable to accurately estimate their total downtime cost.
•    Many industrial facilities are underestimating their downtime costs by 200 – 300%.

Acknowledgement and thanks are given to (comments by George Horn, Supervisor of Operations and Maintenance at Chevron Real Estate Management’s Richmond (Calif) Technical Center, in the article ‘Renovations Require a Maintenance Reality Check’ written by Renee L. Shroades) and for the information contained in this article.