Swinerton In the News

Swinerton Builders Colorado: May 01, 2014

Engage Professionals Early in Today’s Busy Marketplace

Considering moving to a new office space or expanding your current workplace in the next 18 months? Read this insiders insight drafted by Swinerton's own Bret Hall and Brad Rettig for a spring Colorado Real Estate Journal issue.

Considering moving to a new office space or expanding your current workplace in the next 18 months? Have you engaged any experienced professional firms for your commercial real estate needs? With Denver’s healthy level of economic development and construction activities, starting discussions with your professional services team at the infancy of the process is paramount to success.

For a variety of reasons, firms in the construction, design and engineering industry are busier than they have been in recent years, impacting access to professionals, skilled labor, materials and equipment. In recognizing that the availability of this talent pool and goods are critical aspects to a successful project delivered on budget and schedule, here are some things to consider when planning that next move, expansion or remodel:

Start discussions early
Engage a broker prior to your lease expiring, particularly if you are considering moving into a new building that is in planning or design, or under construction. A qualified broker can foster negotiations between current and prospective landlords that will begin a relationship before the lease expires, particularly if your intention is to relocate.  

Allow time to design
Architects incorporate your firm’s culture and climate into a design that will aid in attaining business objectives and accomplishing employee recruiting and retaining goals. Today’s office environment has morphed in recent years, with the workplace providing more open and collaborative space and less private offices. Through design, an architect guides you in decisions on layout, materials and systems that drive value and reinforce realizing your firm’s ambitions.

By planning ahead, and with an appropriate amount of time for architects to design your space, the drawings they produce will be more complete and of a higher quality than if the design was rushed due to looming move-in dates. Also during design, client service-orientated general contractors can accurately validate the construction schedule and cost at any point in the project’s evolution.
Architects work with engineers and contractors to ensure the best finishes, furniture and critical systems – such as HVAC, electrical, telecommunications, security and others - for your business. Collaborative conversations among all team members early in your move or expansion timeline provides sufficient time for these professionals to thoughtfully design, revise, plan for and carry out your vision. 

Select contractor in advance
In today’s market, having a well-qualified general contractor on board during the design phase presents numerous benefits. In addition to confirming construction costs and realistic schedules as the project progresses, an experienced contractor makes recommendations for permitting options, confirms material procurement for quality installations, and assembles the proper mix of subcontractors, vendors and labor resources with the right skill set and experience to successfully deliver your project.

Nothing can derail a construction schedule faster than material deliveries happening later than the contractor needing them on site because client or designer decisions were not made in a timely manner. Certain materials, such as light fixtures, HVAC equipment and flooring, can take between six and 12 weeks for delivery once ordered. Many tenant improvement durations aren’t that long!  Selecting the contractor early prevents the project from being built under a compressed schedule due to material delays.

While many talented contractors are capable of building under a shortened project duration and maintain a strong, high-quality subcontractor following, certain drawbacks can occur under this scenario, such as not getting the materials or finishes you want, or not receiving competitive subcontractor pricing if the pool of resources is small. 

Subcontractors working under a condensed timeframe typically increase labor costs with additional shiftwork and night-time hours. As the amount of people working or number of shifts increase under a compressed schedule, jobsite safety becomes amplified, requiring more supervision dollars by a contractor to ensure a safe and incident-free jobsite.

As construction wraps up, proper time for the contractor to perform closeout and systems commissioning are essential to verify that your future operations run smoothly. Activities performed during closeout range from validation of materials and products used, to assembling completed warranty information, to providing accurate as-built drawings. Thorough commissioning troubleshoots sequence of operation, tests and authenticates system reliability, and provides training and turnover to your designated staff to ensure systems remain operational after you take occupancy.

By and large, when it comes time to move into a new office building or expand your current space, the commercial real estate community offers a wide variety of professionals who can assist you in your firm’s goals.  Engage these professionals in early conversations for the best results in today’s busy marketplace.

-By Bret Hall & Brad Rettig (for the Colorado Real Estate Journal)