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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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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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Expedited Scottsdale Building Permits

The City of Scottsdale offers an accelerated process to acquire building permits for minor remodels.

If you’re building a minor residential or commercial remodel in City of Scottsdale and need a building permit, there are special programs in place that will significantly shorten the plan review and permit approval process.

City of Scottsdale

If you meet the following criteria and have a form of payment with you, you may be eligible for an Over the Counter Buliding 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.

Smaller Home Remodels/Addition

Scottsdale Building Permits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  For smaller residential remodels/additions, the City of Scottsdale offers a convenient over-the-counter plan review and building permit process, available Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4 PM, opening at 10 AM on Wednesdays.  Plan Review is completed over the counter at the One Stop Shop.

City of Scottsdale

HOME REMODEL QUALIFICATIONS:

Over The Counter Plan Review

–  Home Remodels or Additions less than 1000 SF – no second floor additions.

–  Patio additions and enclosures.

–  Carports enclosures into garages or livable space.

–  Garage conversions to livable space.

–  Non-habitable accessory buildings less than 1000 SF.

–  Solar panels that are in compliance with City of Scottsdale placement guidelines.

–  Properties with non-conforming structures and/or properties, requiring additional research, may be submitted for a standard 20 day review.

–  Projects zoned Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) must be submitted for a 20 day review.

–  During busy waiting periods, only one plan per customer will be honored.

Minor Commercial Tenant Improvement

2.  The City of Scottsdale is now processing minor Commercial Tenant Improvements (TIs) using a two-tiered process that will allow certain types of TIs to be reviewed, and building permits issued, either same day or within 15 days of submittal. building permit, building permit, building permit

Scottsdale Buliding Permits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City of Scottsdale

COMMERCIAL TENANT IMPROVEMENT QUALIFICATIONS:

Over The Counter Plan Review

–  2,000 sq. ft. MAX

–  Group B or M occupancy ONLY

–  Single-story, non-structural

–  No use changes

–  Do not require a Use Permit

–  Do not require a Use Permit

–  Ask for a Counter Plan Reviewer

15-Day T.I. / Commercial Remodel Review

–  Groups A, B, E or M occupancy ONLY

–  Non Structural

–  No use changes

–  No Use Permit required

–  No exterior work* (other than roof mounted equipment that is fully screened)

3.   Projects north of the CAP will require some planning input before approving for over-the-counter review. Please ask to speak with a Planner.

ADDITIONAL INFO:

4.  Fire Sprinklers – Any residential improvement that involves 25% or more of the existing structure; and/or adds more than 25% to the original structure, requires that fire sprinklers be installed in the entire home.

5.  Building Code – Any residential improvement that involves 50% or more of the existing structure; and/or adds more than 50% to the original structure, requires that entire structure must be brought up to the current Building Code standards.

6.  Water & Sewer improvements may be required.

Coffee Bar Remodel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City of Scottsdale

Regular Plan Review Turn-Around Times

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

Commercial

–  15 business day review – Tenant Improvement (See item #2 above)

–  20 business day review –  Downtown Projects less than 3,000 sq.ft.

–  10 day expedite review (100% of building permit fee)

–  Super expedite review with negotiated turn-around time (200% of building permit fee)

Residential

–  20 business day review (5 days for master plot plans)

–  5 day expedite review (100% of building permit fee)

Signs

–  10 business days

–  Get Your Sign Permit Approved in One Review – 10 Steps!

To learn more, call 480-312-2500 at the One Stop Shop 7447 E Indian School Road, Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ  85251

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 Scottsdale

One Stop Shop Permit Counter               Ed Peaser C. B. O.
First Floor, One Civic Center                                   Plan Review Manager
7447 E. Indian School Rd.                                        480-312-2532
www.ScottsdaleAZ.gov                                            epeaser@scottsdaleaz.gov
(480) 312-2500

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

About the Author

A Scottsdale 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 or office remodel.  To discuss your Scottsdale building permit needs, contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at drusk@designlinearchitects.com. building permit, building permit, building permit

Architect in Scottsdale

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

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Tenant Improvement in Phoenix

Tenant-Improvement-Architect-Phoenix

For the Business Owner with Growing Pains

Are you a small business owner who loves working from your home, but has recently found your kitchen table too small for meetings?  Maybe your current leased offices are just getting too small for your new hires and new equipment, but you’re just not sure it’s the right time to relocate?  It might make sense to consider a tenant improvement on an existing or new office space.

With the recent market challenges many businesses are relocating their office for several reasons:

–  Reduce overhead costs with a lower lease payment. With office rents plunging, there’s never been a better time to be a tenant. Many tenants are finding that nearly everything is on the table — from rental rates to lease terms to the size of the security deposit.  And you don’t necessarily have to go through the expense and headache of relocating to get a deal.  To strengthen your hand at the lease negotiation table, let your landlord see that you’re shopping around.  And even if there are several years left on your lease, it can’t hurt to ask for an early renewal in this market.
–  Enhance worker creativity and communication with a larger space that has more natural light.  And redesigning the “flow” of the office might create a more flexible work environment that may mean removing or reconfiguring the layout of some office walls.
–  Find a new location.  Some businesses will benefit from better customer visibility, and others who don’t rely on foot traffic, will benefit from a more convenient, low-cost, utilitarian location.

Tenant-Improvement-Architect-Chandler

Phoenix Tenant Improvement Ideas for a Growing Business

Successful business is about change.  If you are business owner who’s having growing pains, you’re not alone.  Here are a few tenant improvement ideas that might make sense:

1. Reinvent your present office by hiring a registered Architect to help you make the best use of your space. With just a little creative thought your office layout could be more efficient.
2. If your current office is running out of space, move to a building with a bigger office. Starting fresh in a new building will allow the design of your new office to anticipate every need and want.
3. Just when you think you’ve got the space you want, your business will change again. Progress is cyclical.  Finding an office with some flexible space could make sense for the future.
4. Convert an unused room in your home into a storage facility, warehouse or a second office for employees.
5. Utilize business centers. These temporary offices provide a traditional office space for you to work in, and usually come with amenities like internet access, videoconferencing, conference space, office equipment like copiers, and even receptionists.

About the Author.  Tenant Improvement in Phoenix. Tenant Improvement in Phoenix.

DESIGNLine Architects works with small and medium sized companies that have changing needs – a point in their development where the use of a building often starts to become a big factor.  We are trained to design space around a specific use, making sure that everything fits.  Many of our clients have limited resources and we have learned how to do a lot with very little.  To set up a Tenant Improvement Design appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at drusk@designlinearchitects.com.

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

Tenant Improvement in Phoenix.

Tenant Improvement in Phoenix. Tenant Improvement in Phoenix.

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BEFORE you begin your “Scottsdale Home Remodel”

Home Remodeling Scottsdale

New-Home-Remodel-Architect-Designer-Gilbert

 

BEFORE you begin your Scottsdale home remodel project, there are a few important steps to take now, that will prevent surprises later – surprises that might significantly affect your project budget and time schedule.  The detailed steps below will give you an idea of the some of the upfront research needed BEFORE starting your home remodel in Scottsdale. Working with an expert such as an Architect will help you navigate this important process.

1. Read your CC&R’s –

Home remodeling is about change, and major changes to an existing Scottsdale home may be subject to rules and restrictions set by state and local building authorities as well as the legal rights of your neighbors.  Review your Codes, Covenants and Regulations (CC&R’s) you agreed to comply with when you moved into your neighborhood.

2. Scottsdale, AZ Development Standards –

Every Scottsdale home Parcel has Zoning Ordinance and Building Setback requirements and restrictions , including distances that buildings/ structures must be “set back” from the property line.  Setback requirements for your home will vary depending upon the zoning district (i.e. R1-190, R1-7, etc).  Submit a Setback Request to the City of Scottsdale to determine the development standards for your property.  This will help you determine where you can build on the lot, the lot coverage restrictions (if applicable) and wall/fence restrictions.  Looking for the APN# of your parcel? Go to www.Maricopa.gov and select GIS Maps.

3. Fire Sprinklers

If you are improving or adding 25% or more of the existing structure (under roof area), then fire sprinklers must be installed through out the entire Scottsdale home, including enclosed, non-heated storage, garage, etc.  Here’s a link to Scottsdale’s Fire Sprinkler worksheet.  For approximate sprinkler installation costs figure between $1.50 – $3.00 per square foot under roof, depending on complexity.

4. Building Code

If you are improving or adding 50% or more of the existing structure (under roof area), then  the entire structure must be brought up to all current Building Code standards.  For work that is less than 50%, only the new work you are completing on your home must comply with current codes.

New-Home-Remodel-Architect-Designer-Tempe5. Will you need a Building Permit?

There are four types of Scottsdale building permits:

Building Permit

  • – Required for all construction work including patio covers, room additions, carports and garage enclosures, walls/fences, retaining walls, and accessory buildings (storage buildings less than 200 square feet only requires a site plan). Permits will expire if work is not commenced within 180 days of the permit being issued to you, or if the work is not inspected by the city for a period of more than 180 days.

Electrical Permit

  • – Required to install, alter, reconstruct or repair electrical wiring on any building, structure, swimming pool, or mechanical equipment.

Plumbing Permit

  • – Required to install, alter, reconstruct, or repair any plumbing system, gas system, lawn sprinkler supply, water heater replacement.

Mechanical Permit

  • – Required to install, alter, reconstruct or repair any furnace, refrigeration or other air conditioning equipment or system, except portable or window units.

New-Home-Remodel-Architect-Designer-Chandler6. You may NOT need a Building Permit

While most home improvement projects in Scottsdale require a permit (which helps ensure safety standards), there are some projects that do NOT require a residential building permit:

  • – Detached, non-habitable structures smaller than 200 square feet in floor area (a site plan is required);
  • – Patio slabs or sidewalks/drives (not over 30 inches above grade);
  •  – Repair existing landscape irrigation piping (a permit is required to connect a new irrigation system to your waterline);
  • – Walls, three feet or less (except retaining walls);
  • – Low-voltage landscape accent lighting;
  • – Minor repairs or replacement of non-structural items such as glass, doors, hardware, kitchen cabinets, carpeting, flooring or trim work (not affecting a pool enclosure or garage);
  • – Paint (interior/exterior); repair drywall, plasterboard, paneling or stucco (insulated stucco systems require a permit);
  • – Repair or replace existing evaporative coolers or air conditioning units without increasing the unit size or capacity;
  • – Repair or replace existing plumbing fixtures in the same location;
  • – Re-shingle or retile a roof when the same material is used.

7. Scottsdale Permit Fees

For a fee schedule, refer to www.scottsdaleaz.gov/onestopshop and select “Fees” Or you can contact the One Stop Shop at (480) 312-2500.

8.  Home Improvement Forms & Guides

Looking for plan submittal information for major or minor remodels built in Scottsdale, AZ, then click here.

About the Author

A Scottsdale 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 set up an appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at drusk@designlinearchitects.com.

Architect in Phoenix
 
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona

www.designlinearchitects.com

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Cost Effective Tenant Improvement Ideas Phoenix

Compiled by Doug Rusk, Architect

Commercial Tenant Improvements

It’s been said that image is everything.  So when your customers walk into your office lobby, it should make a professional impression on them.  Enhancing the image and branding of your commercial offices doesn’t have to cost a lot.  There are many cost effective tenant improvement ideas listed below that we call “memory points” that will help your customers remember you, and improve the probability of that all important repeat business and referral.  Making only a few of these small changes will significantly transform your office space for the better.

Enhance your Reception/Lobby

tenant-improvement-Architect-Tempe* Adding texture and color to the wall directly under your reception counter is a great investment.  Like the front entry door, your reception desk can be very impressionable to your customer.  And depending on your office’s current theme or style, stone, brick veneer, wood or metal accents could be added.  Limit your palette to 2- 3 materials and colors.

* Upgrading the counter top material of the raised portion of your reception desk will focus your investment to just your customer’s reach.

* Adding a few new plants and painting the walls with a splash of sophisticated color is a very cost effective tenant improvement.

 

Dramatic Architectural Designs

tenant-improvement-Architect-Scottsdale* There are many ways to add dramatic architectural elements.   And surprisingly they can be cost effective tenant improvements.  A Phoenix architect can provide invaluable insight and design ideas.

* By inserting a few columns, beams, arches or lowered ceilings with wood or stone accents into your lobby,  your customer can’t help but see your company’s image as more successful and professional.  And the limited use of diagonal or curved element will add just the right amount od architectural drama needed to strengthen the room’s focal point.

* By adding these distinct architectural elements, it will improve your customer’s experience and help them remember you.

Upgrade Ceiling Treatment and Lighting

tenant-improvement-Architect-Chandler* Adding some architectural details to the existing T-bar ceiling in your lobby or conference room is a small, but effective, enhancement.

* Adding three (3) pendant lights over the reception desk is a very cost effective tenant improvement idea.

* Make your lobby more inviting by reducing the harsh florescent lighting and providing the ability for both bright and dim light.

 

Low Cost Commercial Office Remodel Ideas

tenant-improvement-Architect-Gilbert* Open the conference room up to the lobby with a glass wall.  Both rooms will feel larger and this  cost effective tenant improvement will also help convey your corporate policy of transparency.

* Add etched glass (or frosted film) to your conference room window located at a person’s sitting eye level.  This cost effective tenant improvement will provide privacy and reduce visual distractions.

* Hanging a world map on a prominent wall will convey a “global” image.

* Add or enhance your company’s sign and logo behind the reception desk.

* Modifying your window coverings will make a significant change, softening the window wall and absorbing sound where many hard surfaces exist.

* Enhancing you lobby’s coffee table will improve the center of the seating area.  And your customers will also love more comfortable seating, if required.

* Enhancing your company’s monument sign out on the curb and freshening up the landscaping are also good ways to improve your company’s image.

Keeping your existing customers and finding new ones are top goals of most business owners, right?  Implementing at least one or two of the “memory points” listed above will add value to your Tenant Improvement.  And improving your customer’s experience of their office visit will help them remember you in a professional light, and improve the probability of that all important repeat business and referral.

Phoenix Architecture Firms

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

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Why does this Tenant Improvement Cost So Much?

By Doug Rusk, Architect

“We just want to tear down a few walls and convert a storage area to a small break room.  That can’t cost a lot, right?”

Tenant-Improvement-Architect-ScottsdaleClients asked questions like these 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.

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

Tenant Improvements are Not Always Easy

Moving walls for a tenant improvement is not as easy as you would think.  Actually, we don’t really move walls.  Existing walls are demolished, and new walls are built from scratch in new locations.  Also, changing wall locations requires relocating 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 recarpeting an entire room or an entire office suite, so the carpet matches throughout.

Many construction trades are needed to relocate even one wall, so a General Contractor 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 subcontractors, and charge about 20% above and beyond the total subcontractors’ fees.   A minimum amount is charged to make it worth the effort, so small tenant improvement projects cost more per square foot than large projects.

Tenant Improvements Cost Estimate Provided Quickly

DESIGNline ARCHITECTS offers an alternative Design/Build approach for tenant improvements that will pin down the cost question quickly, so you can make the decision to move forward.    We’ve developed a three-step approach:

Tenant-Improvement-Architect-Gilbert Identify your budget and design goals, and offer a low cost conceptual design package.  Once you approve the conceptual design and scope of work, we will work with your general contractor to confirm the approved design is on budget, with a construction cost estimate to within a +/- 20% range of variability.
Once the conceptual design and budget align, we will finish your final design phase.  Then when the construction documents are 75% complete, we will again work with the contractor to refine the construction cost estimate to within +/-10% range.
And when the final project is bid to the subcontractors, the costs are locked in, assuming no design changes.

About the Author

Architect Phoenix DesignerTo set up an appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at drusk@designlinearchitects.com.   DESIGNline ARCHITECTS will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects.  We will also help you to make decisions that will enhance your business by guiding you through the entire commercial remodeling process from concept to completion.  We will ensure your tenant improvement will look more attractive and welcoming, while also increasing efficiency and comfort for your employees.

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