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Why does this Tenant Improvement Cost So Much?

    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
http://designlinearchitects.com

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Tenant Improvement Architects and Your Building Part 1

Tenant improvement architects can help commercial property owners effectively allocate their buildings based upon the needs of the tenants.  Look at the scenario of a retail property.

Post Modern Architecture and the 21st Century

Phoenix Architecture Firms

Tenant Improvement Architect Doug Rusk | 480-710-3861

One of our clients, we’ll call him John, owns a shopping plaza that was built in the early 70’s.  The wiring is up to date, and there’s even Wi-Fi.  However, one of his higher paying tenants wants to expand their store space from 1200 square feet to 2400 square feet.  He was all in favor of it, until the client started discussing knocking down walls.  John fortunately was wise enough to call us for his tenant improvement architectural project. 

It isn’t just for building permits and load-bearing walls that you want to call in a tenant improvement architect, however.  We were able to tell the client which walls weren’t load bearing, as well as help them to navigate the process of building permits with the city.  We were able to recommend builders and everyone was happy with the end result.  John was lucky, because the building was sound.  We’ve had some clients where the retail space was considerably older, and in one notable case was even listed as historically significant, meaning that the bureaucratic process was even more convoluted and elaborate.

The Importance of Hiring a Tenant Improvement Architect

As tenant improvement architects, we know that it is often not possible to change much in the structure of a historical building.  We had a client find out that the hard way.  She bought a beauty salon that was in a historical district of Phoenix.  She called in a builder to knock out a wall, put in a picture window, and thought nothing of it…until the fines and cease and desist orders started coming in the mail.  Seems that there was an ordinance about modifying the building.

She had to pay to restore it back to the way it was, and it was then she called us.  We were able to keep her costs down, and get her back into compliance with the city.  So, as you see, it is a good idea to call in a tenant improvement architect in Phoenix at the start of a project, not at the end.

This concludes part one of our series on tenant improvement architects.  Please be sure to read part two of this series as well.

DesignLine Architects, LLC
470 E. Canyon Creek Court ,
Gilbert, AZ 85295
480-710-3861
http://www.designlinearchitects.com

 

 

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The Process of a Phoenix Architect Part 1

Architecture is a process that results in a finished product.  With that in mind, why wouldn’t you want a process to be followed when you’re looking at either building something from the ground up, or making some improvements?

A Phoenix Architect and Continuous Communication

An architect can help with a project, regardless of how big or small it is

Call in an architect for commercial or residential projects | (480) 710-3861

You know what often separates a triumph from a fiasco?  Communication at all steps of the process is key. While projects undertaken by a Phoenix architect often determine their own courses of action, they usually follow a  pattern.  For example, the first meeting should always be a complimentary consultation.

Architectural consultation should be all about ideas and discussion.  It’s a good time to have your documentation in order, and have field measurements and pictures taken.    At the end of the consultation, it’s a good idea to plan if and how to move further into the design process.

The Architectural Design Process

When you’re going through the architectural design process, you should start to get ideas from your architect.  This in turn leads to a conceptual design.  During this process, things start coming into balance.  What’s practical is balanced by what’s aesthetically pleasing.  On the subject of practicality, your architect is also a guide, and can help you navigate the often complex rules regarding building codes and permits at various levels of government. This is the point that you start entering into the practical phase of your design.

It isn’t as simple as just buying some building materials, hiring some workmen, and putting the building up.  A lot of people have some unreasonable expectations.  A good design will take several weeks to even months to complete.  While you may balk at that time-frame consider this.  Wouldn’t you rather have the building done right, and not have to worry about things like fines or even criminal charges?  That’s why you hire an architect in Phoenix.

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Happy New Year From Your Gilbert Architect

Design Line Architects wishes you and yours a safe and happy New Year.

 

Happy New Year From Your Architect

 

Happy New Year From Your Tenant Improvement Architect | (480) 710-3861

Need an Architect?

Want to Remodel Your Home for 2013?

We can help.  If you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to remodel your home, or even if you haven’t, your Gilbert architect stands ready to assist you.

Design Line Architects, LLC  is an architecture firm based in Gilbert, AZ.

Design Line Architects, LLC
470 East Canyon Creek Court
Gilbert, AZ 85295
(480) 710-3861
http://www.designlinearchitects.com

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Accelerated Tempe Building Permits

By Doug Rusk, Architect

The City of Tempe offers an accelerated process to obtain building permits for minor remodels.

Tempe Buliding PlansObtaining approved building permit  in Tempe has been put on a “fast track” for those who are planning for minor commercial tenant improvement for your business OR for a minor home renovation.  These special programs will significantly shorten the plan review and building permit approval process.

City of Tempe Building Permits

Over The Counter Plan Review

If you meet the following criteria and have a form of payment with you, you may be eligible for an Over the Counter Permit.  The Building Permit may be processed while you wait, depending on the complexity of the project.   Plan check and building permit fees vary depending upon the type of work being done and the valuation.

  1. Minor residential additions not exceeding $10,000.00 valuation, patio covers, interior remodels, detached accessory structures, carport to garage conversions, covered patio to livable, and mobile home permits.
  2. Residential Fire Damage Repairs under 50% damage if the Fire Damage Report is available.
  3. Counter plan review may be provided for commercial Tenant Improvements (TIs) given the following situations:
  • Under 3,000 sq. ft. for Business Offices (no medical offices)
  • Under 1,500 sq. ft. for Mercantile space
  • Under 15,000 sq. ft. for storage of Low Hazard Storage less than 12’ in height.
  • Fire Damage “ Restore to Original” with no structural requirements
  • Depending upon the complexity of the work to be constructed, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) plans for any tenant space under a, b, or c above.
  • All other Occupancies—Multi-Family Residential, Medical Office, Assembly, Educational, Factory or Manufacturing, Hazardous, and Institutional Occupancies will require submittal.

3.    A counter plan review will NOT be provided when any of the following conditions exist:

  • A Notice to Comply has been issued for Construction Without Permits
  • A Change of Occupancy or revision of required exiting will occur upon completion of construction
  • A Use Permit, Parking Variance, etc. is required from Planning
  • Changes to the exterior of the building which will require Planning approval, including roof top changes that add equipment extending above the parapet, exterior lighting changes, window and door changes, paint scheme changes, etc.
  • Residential expansion larger than 25% on retention lots requiring engineering approval.
  • Mechanical, electrical, plumbing which is part of a pending building project or a building project not suitable for over the counter permits.
  • Projects where structural calculations are required.

Please Note:  The counter plan review is usually available on TUESDAY and THURSDAY (only) from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM.   To learn more, call (480) 350-8341 to verify availability of services.

City Of Tempe Building Permits

Tempe house plans

Building Safety Department
21 E. Sixth St., Suite 208
31 E. Fifth St., East Garden Level
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Phone: 480.350.8341
Fax: 480.350.8677

How Do I Know if I Need a Permit in Tempe?

You May Need a Tempe Building Permit, if you’re:

  • Moving a sink- requires the proper extension of plumbing.
  • Demolishing a load-bearing wall- means redistributing weight from above.
  • Changing the home’s roof line framing.
  • Punching in a new window or door- requires a new header that carries weight from above.
  • Altering the footprint of your house.
  • Installing new electrical wiring.

You May NOT Need a Tempe Building Permit, if you’re:

  • Putting in hardwood floor.
  • Installing carpeting.
  • Upgrading your counter tops.
  • Paint

For more Building Permit specific details related to cities that you live or work, click on one of the following links: Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale.

About the Author

A Tempe architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects. No matter what kind of space you need today, we’ll make sure it’s designed for your needs in the future.  This will give you future function built into today’s home addition.  To discuss your Tempe building permit needs, contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at drusk@designlinearchitects.com.

Architect in Tempe

Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
www.designlinearchitects.com

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Case Study – Prescription for a Master Bath Remodel : master bathroom remodel.

Written By Doug Rusk, Architect

Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

When Dawn, a San Francisco Pharmacist, decided to move closer to her grandkids in Chandler, she found an amazing home that was more than what the doctor ordered.   But despite this home’s idyllic location in an exclusive gated Arizona community, Dawn knew that her first move was to renovate her dark, out dated Master Bathroom.

Using a trusted referral for a reputable, licensed contractor, Dawn called Ken from Behrmann Home Basics (BHB) to start work immediately.  Ken knew that a quick hand sketch would help Dawn visualize a few alternate ideas for her Master Bath Remodel.  So he brought in Gilbert Architect Doug Rusk from DESIGNLine Architects to help Dawn make sense of the many design choices available.

With her casual / contemporary styling preference and a flexible budget in mind, Dawn’s main requirement was to remove the Master Bath Tub in order to make room for a large walk-in shower.  Below are pictures of the original Master Bathroom, showing the dated tub/shower combination and two small windows over the vanity.

Master Bath Remodel Architect

Although Doug’s first sketches of Option’s 1 & 2 worked reasonably well (shown above), it was Option #3 (shown below) that Dawn immediately knew was the Master Bathroom renovation she wanted.

Master Bath Remodel Architect

Master Bathroom Remodel – Scope of Work

In addition to removing the Master Bath Tub in order to make room for a large walk-in shower, Dawn wanted the mirrors on the closet doors replaced with a wood paneled door in her Master Bathroom Remodel.  She also wanted an electric hair dryer available to grab at a moment’s notice from one of the drawers under the sink that was already plugged in (SHOWN ABOVE).  For the borders over the shower and the vanity splash, we used colorful glass tile.

Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

Below are pictures taken during the construction phase, showing the framing, plumbing and electrical work inside the walls.  During the short construction phase, the BHB construction team did an amazing job of installing plastic walls with zippers to seal off the construction zone from the main home.

Master Bath Remodel Architect

Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

About the Author

Doug Rusk is the principal at DESIGNLine Architects, LLC located in Gilbert, Arizona.  We specialize in residential design and commercial remodeling 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 firm
 
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
480-710-3861
www.designlinearchitects.com

 

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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.

TENANT IMPROVEMENT  MESA

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.

COMMERCIAL OFFICE REMODEL

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

COMMERCIAL OFFICE REMODEL

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
480-710-3861
www.designlinearchitects.com

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Mesa Building Permit “Shortcuts”

By Doug Rusk, Architect

The City of Mesa offers an accelerated process to obtain building permits for minor remodels.

If you haven’t already heard…  the City of Mesa offers a “shortcut” to obtain building permits for minor commercial remodel.   This special program, called “Permit By Inspection” (PBI), will significantly shorten the Plan Review and Permit Approval process – if your project qualifies.

Mesa Tenant ImprovementCity of Mesa

Minor Commercial Tenant Improvement

Permit By Inspection (PBI)

The permit by inspection program (PBI) is a voluntary alternative to the standard construction document plan review and building permit approval processes for special projects of certain building uses, occupancies and degree of complexity.   The PBI program is intended to provide a stream-lined approach to building permit plan review review and issuance in which senior building inspectors review construction documents in the field and approve the issuance of the building permit.  There is a 20% premium for the PBI process on top of the regular building permit fee and other fees.

Benefits of the “Permit By Inspection” (PBI) Process:

  • – Typically the Permit By Inspection (PBI) is processed in a 5 day turnaround time  (instead of 18 days).
  • – Cuts down on paperwork.
  • – Much of process is done by email.
  • – One contact person who is familiar with the project and special conditions.
  • – Construction work can proceeds as the plan review is taking place.
  • – Quick response time to changing field conditions.

There are currently no written criteria to determine if your project will qualify for the building permit by PBI process.  To learn more, call Clyde at (480) 644-4273.

If your project does NOT qualify for the PBI process, the regular Plan Review Turn-Around Times at this writing are:

Commercial

  • – 5 business day PBI review.
  • – 18 business days review.
  • – 10 day expedite review (100% of building permit fee).
  • – Super expedite review with negotiated turn-around time (200% of building permit fee).

Residential

  • – 10 business day review (5 days for master plot plans).
  • – 5 day expedite review (100% of building permit fee).

Signs

Over-The-Counter Plan Review

The City of Mesa also offers same day over-the-counter plan reviews for the following projects types:

  • – Emergency repairs (water, sewer, gas, electric).
  • – “Like for Like” repair/replacement (gas, water, electric).
  • – Banner Permits.

City of Mesa

Construction Plan Review and Building Permits
55 N. Center St.
Mesa, AZ  85201
PHONE (480) 644-4273
OFFICE HOURS:  7:00am to 6:00pm, M-TH
CLOSED FRIDAYS AND HOLIDAYS

For more Building Permit specific details related to cities that you live or work, click on one of the following links: Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale.

About the Author

A Mesa architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects. No matter what kind of space you need today, we’ll make sure it’s designed for your needs in the future.  This will give you future function built into today’s home addition.  To discuss your Mesa building permit needs, contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at drusk@designlinearchitects.com.

Architect in Mesa

Mesa Architecture Firm
 
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
www.designlinearchitects.com

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CASE STUDY: Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

Written by Doug Rusk, Architect

Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

Nestled among a large group of Sun Lakes retirement homes, where golf carts dot a sleepy street in South Chandler Arizona, stands a home that’s in desperate need of a Master Bathroom Remodel. bathroom remodel, bathroom remodel, bathroom remodel, bathroom remodel

Recent New York transplants, Ana and Ayad, did what most people do when they move into a home that shows signs of mold in their shower; they called a reputable, licensed contractor, who in this case was Ken from Behrmann Home Basics (BHB).  Because this wasn’t the first or the last project that Ana and Ayad would need, Ken knew the first step would be to have a quick hand sketch designed by Doug Rusk, from DESIGNLine Architects, that would help his clients visualize a few alternate ideas for their Master Bath Remodel.  Ana had a very specific idea in her mind for the Bathroom remodel. bathroom remodel, bathroom remodel

Mesa Bathroom Ideas

She wanted to remove the makeup counter, drawers and knee space between the two sinks (shown above).  “This would leave 3-1/2 feet of space between the sink vanities for a nice sized floor plant”, she said.  But because she also wanted the medicine cabinet storage removed also, Doug, her Architect, had another idea for her Master Bath Remodel.

bathroom remodelMaster Bathroom Ideas

He wanted to replace the lost medicine cabinet with storage for a toothbrush, soap and accessories.  So Doug also proposed Option A (shown above) which would instead add a tall cabinet between the two vanity sinks, high enough for the vanity counter to extend behind the false cabinet front, creating a storage niche.  Ana ended up sticking with her original Master Bath remodel vision and kept the space for a healthy green plant. bathroom remodel

Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

Here is the shower converted from a light pink, vintage 1992 ceramic, to a more updated ceramic tile finish, with a textured glass, frame-less enclosure.  Below are a few pictures that show the Master Bathroom remodel.athroom remodel

Chandler <em>master <em>bathroom remodel</em></em>

Chandler Master Bathroom Remodel

Many of the Sun Lakes home, built in the early 1990’s, are well designed and have great bones. Now that these homes are getting a little older, certain areas need updating.  With some strategic planning, the lives of these homes can be extended for another 20 years +.  Intelligently remodeling an existing house to make it last for another generation is also one of the most sustainable things a homeowner can do.

Below we’ve outlined a couple of our primary strategies you should consider for your next home remodel:

1. Limit the scope

While it would typically be ideal to update the entire home, most homeowners have a budget that requires a limited scope; being aware of where dollars are spent allows a homeowner to get the most renovation for their buck. Usually there are certain areas of older homes that need the most attention and we’ve found that the kitchen and bathrooms remodeling are typically most in need of modernizing. bathroom remodel

2. Be Selective

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to stop with a  home renovation. While you’re updating the kitchen, it’s tempting to also update a few things in the living room, and then why not replace too old, hall bath shower enclosure and, then you realize, that awful garage floor needs that speckled paint you always wanted. Before you know it, budget creep occurs. We find it useful stay true to your budget and to specifically define where the remodel is ending.

About the Author

Doug Rusk is the principal at DESIGNLine Architects, LLC located in Gilbert, Arizona.  We specialize in residential and commercial remodeling 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 Master Bath remodel budget quickly. bathroom remodel, bathroom remodelbathroom remodel

Phoenix Architect
 
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
480-710-3861
www.designlinearchitects.com

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Chandler Building Permits – Fast Track

Small Business Benefits from Fast Tracked Chandler Building Permits

Chandler is one small business richer since a new bread making business, Gratifying Grains LLC, opened this week.    The new Mother and Daughter owners, Betsy Moore and Megan Moore, said that “because they only planned on a minor remodel, the City of Chandler offered us an expedited process to obtain our tenant improvement building permits.”

Tenant Improvement Chandler

But they’re not the only ones.  Many new Chandler businesses, who are planning to apply for a minor commercial tenant improvement (TI), have recently utilized this special Chandler program called the Small Business Assistance Program.  According to Betsy, “this terrific program significantly shortened the plan review time and building permit approval process for us. “  Because not all construction projects will qualify for this program, she recommended that people call Martin Perez at 480-782-3138 for more information.

Minor Commercial Tenant Improvement

Small Business Assistance Program

The Small Business Assistance Program is similar, but slightly different, to the Permit By Inspection (PBI) program offered at other Southeast Valley cities.   Here’s how it works.  A four member team from the Development Services staff, called the Small Business Assistance Team, will visit your new tenant space, and then mail you a written letter that identifies any issues of “significant importance” that might have the potential of costing you time and money.  This team is available at no cost and is intended to assist the small business community by helping clients navigate the City’s planning, building permit and licensing process.

QUALIFICATIONS:

There are currently no written qualifications to define a “minor tenant improvement”.  To learn more, call Martin Perez at 480-782-3138.

Chandler Commercial Remodel

City of Chandler
Transportation & Development
215 East Buffalo Street.
Chandler, AZ 85225

Phone:  Call Martin Perez at 480-782-3138 to answer expedited method of obtaining building permits.

How Do I Know if I Need a Chandler Building Permit?

May Need a Phoenix Building Permit, if you’re:

  • – Moving a sink- requires the proper extension of plumbing.
  • – Demolishing a load-bearing wall- means redistributing weight from above.
  • – Changing the home’s roof line framing.
  • – Punching in a new window or door- requires a new header that carries weight from above.
  • – Altering the footprint of your house.
  • – Installing new electrical wiring.

You May NOT Need a Phoenix Building Permit, if you’re:

  • – Putting in hardwood floor.
  • – Installing carpeting.
  • – Upgrading your counter tops.
  • – Paint

For more Building Permit specific details related to cities that you live or work, click on one of the following links: Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale.

About the Author Building Permits, Building Permits, Building Permits, Building Permits

A Chandler architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects. No matter what kind of space you need today, we’ll make sure it’s designed for your needs in the future.  This will give you future function built into today’s home addition.  To discuss your Chandler building permit needs, contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at drusk@designlinearchitects.com. building permits, Building Permits, Building Permits, Building Permits

Architect in Chandler

Phoenix Architecture FirmDoug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
www.designlinearchitects.com

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Early Construction Cost Estimate Confirms Tenant Budget in Gilbert.

Gilbert Construction Costs have Many Variables.

“We just want to convert a storage closet into a small break area and move a few walls. “

“How much do you think it will cost for our remodel?”

Clients call me with questions like these who are considering the remodel or relocation of their Gilbert business.  After the prospective landlord offers a tenant improvement allowance, I’ll get a call asking me to confirm if the offered will be sufficient to cover any costs incurred during the commercial remodel, hoping they will not have to come out of pocket to pay for the construction and design work.

COMMERCIAL REMODEL CONSTRUCTION COSTS

 

Yes the question is simple, but the answer is never easy and usually followed by a series of disclaimers, taking away all value to the answer.

When lease negotiations start to move quickly, the prospective tenant can understandably become very frustrated when they are asked to execute a contract before fully evaluating their financial commitments.  And when the cost of the tenant improvement cannot be established upfront, it makes the decision more difficult to accept any lease offer.

Many Gilbert businesses these days are choosing to make a few minor revisions to their existing office space instead of building a new office building or even undertaking a tenant improvement.  Whether dividing up office space to sub-lease a portion of it, or making changes that improve productivity, or attract customers, companies are searching for ways to increase revenue with minimal expense.

Tenant Improvements Costs are Not Easy to Determine.

Despite the fact that your tenant improvement design may appear to be the same as your last one, in truth it has never been built before.  Many of the workers that have been hired for your project may not have ever worked together in the past.  These new workers may require training in order to address the special conditions of your unique space and be required to interpret a design they have never seen before.  It is this diverse combination of workers as well as the unique conditions of your project that drives the fluctuating, unpredictability in labor cost.

Moving walls for tenant improvements is not as straightforward as most people think.

Actually, walls are not moved at all.

  • – Existing walls are demolished, and new walls in different locations, are built from scratch.
  • – Moreover, changing wall locations requires moving HVAC vents, light fixtures, sprinkler heads, electrical wiring and outlets, telephone and data cabling, and sometimes moldings or wainscoting.
  • – Where existing walls are demolished, entire new areas of flooring and ceiling material are usually needed, because simply bandaging the wounds left by demolished walls would be unsightly.
  • – This means re-carpeting an entire room or an entire office suite, so the carpet matches throughout.

Many subcontractors (trades) are needed to relocate even one wall, so a General Contractor (GC) must be hired to coordinate the necessary sequence of events amongst the various trades. The GC will hire framing, drywall, HVAC, electrical, cabling, flooring, and demolition trades, and charge a management fee about 10 – 30% above and beyond the total trade’s fees.   A minimum amount is charged to make it worth their effort, so small tenant improvement projects in Gilbert can cost more per square foot than large projects.

Construction Cost Estimate

So back to the all important question, “How much will it cost?”

Alternative Approaches to Remodel Cost Estimates.

  1. The traditional, old school approach to answer the question of construction cost, is to completely finish a details set of construction drawings (CD’s), and then request competitive bids from at least 3 general contractors.  Although this traditional method has been used since the beginning, it doesn’t provide the Owner (tenant) with the final construction costs until too late in the game, many times requiring a stressful period of redesign, rebidding and schedule delays.  In addition the General Contractor (the man with the most construction cost knowledge) is kept out of the early design process.  As a result and for many reasons, many design professionals have abandoned this dated approach.
  2. What has proven to be a more preferred, modern approach is called the Design/Build approach.  Once the Architect has prepared a preliminary space plan, the General Contractor is brought in to the team to not only provide valuable construction advice, but also to prepare a reasonable cost estimate to pin down the cost question quickly, so the Owner (tenant) can make the decision to move forward or not.

Generally, the Design/Build approach works like this:

  • – Once your preliminary space plan design is approved, your general contractor will ensure the project remains on budget, by preparing a construction cost estimate to within a +/- 20% range of variability (we can help you choose a contractor).
  • – Then when the construction documents are 75% complete, we will again work with your contractor to refine the construction cost estimate to within a +/-10% range.
  • – And when the final project is bid to the subcontractors, the prices are locked in, assuming no design changes.

About the Author

Doug Rusk is the principal at DESIGNLine Architects, LLC located in Gilbert, Arizona.  We specialize in residential and commercial remodeling 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.

Gilbert Architecture Firm
 
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona
480-710-3861
www.designlinearchitects.com

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