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    I’m often asked questions like this in the early phases of a tenant improvement. The client has many questions during early phases of an office relocation, and they normally would prefer to pin down the cost question quickly, so they can make a decision whether to move forward.

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DesignLine Architects, LLC
470 E. Canyon Creek Court ,
Gilbert, AZ 85295
Phone: 4807103861

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CASE STUDY– Mesa Office Tenant Improvement

Written By Doug Rusk, Architect

Mesa Office Tenant Improvement

A recent office tenant improvement we performed for a national insurance company showcases a great example of why some businesses are more successful than others.   When you’re an insurance business that focuses all day on helping other businesses and individuals with risk prevention, damage protection and safety & Loss control, it’s no surprise to find they are just as smart at handling their own office tenant improvement in a similar way.

So when Mary, their regional Project Manager, needed a reputable General Contractor for her company’s 2875 SF office tenant improvement project in Mesa, she called Joe Harris, managing partner of AZ Construction, LLC.   Joe’s first move was to confirm this project qualified for the “Permit By Inspection” program offered by the City of Mesa for minor tenant improvements projects.  His second move was to retain Doug Rusk, a principal with DESIGNLine Architects, LLC ASAP, who he knew would make him look good to his client by expediting their design/permit submittal package.  And because our client Mary provided a detailed specification package that described all their project goals, Doug’s design team needed only 21 business days from signed design contract to obtain City approved building permit in order to start construction. And Joe’s team needed only 20 business days from building permit approval to finish construction so the tenant could move in.


And as a result of our team’s continuous communication with the City of Mesa, we discovered that the current drinking fountain code requirement could be reduced to only requiring drink cups next to the break room sink.  So including the plumbing work that would have been required, this saved the client over $1200.

Mesa Office Tenant Improvement – Scope of Work

Overall, the tenant improvement scope of work on this project was relatively straightforward:

– Removed several decorative walls and ceiling elements in the main room.

– Remove the old ceiling work, and replaced with a new 11’-4” high T-bar ceiling, modified layout of lights and mechanical as required.

– Removed glass door wall in order to open up the front entry.

– Built 3 new walls to create one new office and two conference room. Painted Orange contract color on new office walls shown on left in photo above).

– Added all the necessary electrical outlets, power panel updates, lighting and data lines necessary for 12 cubical work stations.

– Updated paint and flooring throughout entire 2875 SF space.


Have you noticed the growing number of unattended office lobbies these days?  In order to create efficiencies in our tenant improvement, we down sized the fancy lobby and instead positioned one of the typical workstations to act as the reception (see image above).

After removing the curved, multi-height ceiling elements and added the new office and conference room (see left side of top picture), we installed a new single height ceiling grid.   We saved $1600 by carefully designing the new ceiling grid and lighting so that we didn’t have to move too many fire sprinkler heads.  Per Mesa Fire Department codes if you relocate no more than 9 fire sprinkler heads, then you will not be required to submit complete fire sprinkler design drawings to the City of Mesa.

Office Tenant Improvement – Location is Key:

So if you’re business will benefit more exposure, consider some of the moves our subject insurance client performed:

Find a prominent corner location on a busy intersection with a gas station next door. – Provides great drive by exposure to drivers waiting at a stop light.

Locate your business between nationally franchised restaurants on one side and a Fed-Ex type postage delivery store on the other side. This will provide continuous walk by traffic that will build familiarity to your brand.

For other great ideas, read this:  Cost Effective Tenant Improvement Ideas


About the Author

Doug Rusk is the principal at DESIGNLine Architects, LLC located in Gilbert, Arizona.  We specialize in residential and commercial tenant improvement for small and medium sized businesses with expertise in space planning and interior design consulting.  We’ll provide your General Contractor a thorough preliminary design packages that will enable an early construction cost estimate to confirm your budget quickly.

Phoenix Architecture FirmDoug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
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