How to Renovate a Workspace

All, Interior Contracting

Detailed planning forms a base to every successful work renovation which leads to creating a checklist. Let’s look at a few steps that shall help you sidestep the possible obstacles that you may face during a renovation or an expansion at a workspace.


Identify Goals:

Determine the goals behind the renovation, this would lead you to the right questions and then the answers to plan the renovations. These would include –

• What are the reasons for renovation – Upgrading the infrastructure systems, incorporating a new design/look, installing the latest technology, changing the functions of the space, new employees/tenants, etc.

• What shall be the approximate timeline for the renovation project, will the space still be occupied or it will have phased moves?

• What will be the budget for the renovation? Will it be inclusive of available funds and the contingencies, if the need be?

• What will be the compliances that will have to be followed during the course of the renovation?

• What will be the quality expectations for all the aspects of the built-out?


Building Team:

Find the right interior design team. With a proactive and good designer team in place, the first important step is covered. Next, bring a contractor on board. The contractor should be involved from the concept stage and the involvement should be till halfway through the design planning stage and then beginning again once the design concept is finalized. With their extensive field experience, the contractors can contribute valuable inputs during the planning of the project’s preliminary budget.


Do complete due diligence while selecting the designer and the contractor. Ask for specific questions in relation to the schedules, budget, mid-way change in designs, etc. do a reference check with their past clients. Involve your Facility Manager as well, they usually have a detailed fit-out manual that helps the facility management team to monitor if the ongoing fit-out work in the property is in line with the guidelines laid down by the managing committee.


Preventing Creep Costs:

To avoid the problems that commonly occur during the renovations, the client and contractor should sign off on all the GFC (Good for Construction) Drawings, as the majority of such projects tend to get delayed because of changes to designs during the course of the project work. In addition to this, the following points should also be looked into carefully to avoid increases in costs and delays in the hand over date:

• The current condition of the building and its capability to support renovations

• The operating condition and lifecycle of the electrical systems and machinery

• The status of the quality of the existing utilities

• Studying the history of the past evaluation and checking if there is any gap between the past and the present evaluations

Request for the local building inspector to be involved as well from the beginning. Ensure that all the seismic, fire, zoning and ADA requirements are adhered to as the current codes. This evaluation might have an additional cost which you can always take account of in your budget. If this evaluation is not undertaken early on it might result in to more expensive obstacles at a later date.


Revised Cost Estimate:

This comes into consideration when there are major changes in the project mid-way, and these changes are the reasons as to why the contracting projects tend to go over budget. The accepted cost estimate must be updated periodically to reflect the estimated cost to completion and also to ensure that there is sufficient flow of funds till the completion of the project. To be on the safer side keep a contingency budget of approximately 10% aside.



A key to any successful renovating project is a realistic schedule. A usual misconception is that since the renovation is being performed on an existing building, it would be faster but that’s not the case with all the projects. Begin with the date that aims for the office space to be ready and then work backward ensuring that sufficient time is allocated to every phase of the project. 


Create a detailed list of all the processes and their contingencies, for e.g. shipping schedules, a timeline for approvals, completion of design phases, construction start and finish dates, as well as operational handover and soft launch. The goal here is to keep the schedule flowing smoothly without compromising on the quality of the work and going above the actual budget.


A proactive approach for any contracting project is having a checklist which shall keep a track of all the processes involved in the project from the beginning to the end resulting in the delivery of the new workspace on the date planned.



SILA works as Turnkey Interior Contractors that deals in Office design and build across India