How to Remodel a Commercial Building

by Stephanie Lee - Updated September 26, 2017
Office improvement

Remodeling a commercial building requires you to consult with a team of experts to get the most value from your renovation efforts. Depending on the type of building and its function, things to consider include obvious renovation costs, as well as hidden costs such as the possible loss of rental income if the renovation is not completed on time. If you know what you are doing and have the right team behind you, remodeling commercial buildings can be a very profitable venture.

Have a budget in mind when undertaking a commercial renovation project. Having some guidelines will keep your expenses in check. If necessary, speak with a local bank representative about possible financing options.

Think about how you would like to remodel the building. The process could be as easy as a redesigning the interior or it could require demolition. Your budget will also dictate the direction of the remodel and where you should allocate your funds. Consider the building's purpose and its function. If you plan to lease the space to tenants, the kind of tenants you bring into the building will give you an idea of how to go about the remodel process. For example, if you would like restaurateurs as tenants, then having kitchen space available should be considered in the remodeling process.

Work with an architectural firm or with designers from a commercial contracting company to design an appropriate layout for the space. A layout can also be executed using a computer program, such as AutoCad, which places layers to the design on paper. Be sure to communicate your needs and interests for the space to the designers so they can take all this information into consideration. These plans will need to be submitted to the local planning department for consideration and approval.

Hire a contractor to overlook the project. The contractor's primary task is to renovate the space according to the plans, within budget and on time. Undertaking this step yourself is very risky if you do not have the necessary skills. Penalties and legal liabilities, such as fees for code violations or tenants suing because of structural damages, will ensue if you cut corners and do not have an experienced team in place to complete the project. Cutting corners in the remodeling process also means it will be more difficult for you to sell the building in the future if it is not structurally sound.

Communicate with the contractor to see if a project manager has been assigned to the project. Most contractors hire a project manager to work closely on a particular assignment. The project manager is the liaison between you -- the client -- and the building manager, if one exists. The project manager is involved with scheduling, and he makes sure the renovation moves forward. Disputes also would be handled by the project manager, who coordinates the delivery of materials and vendor shipments. The contractor will have a team in place to work on the remodel and bring in the required machinery, materials and labor to complete the project.

Supervise the project from start to finish. While the contractor and project manager will be responsible for the bulk of the work, you want to make sure they are doing it according to your vision. Once the remodel project is complete, the building is now open for business.


  • When brainstorming remodel ideas, it is important to make sure the space is functional for wide range of businesses rather than specific to just one. In the case of a vacancy, it will be difficult to lease the space if you geared the remodel project to suit a particular type of business, risking the exclusion of others.

About the Author

Stephanie Lee began writing in 2000 with concentration on food, travel, fashion and real estate. She has written for Amnesty International and maintains three blogs. Lee holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Irvine, and an M.B.A. from Concordia University.

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