As technology expands and sustainability becomes an important feature businesses try to include, many commercial properties are getting renovated. Hybrid work models are becoming more popular and businesses that have been closed are looking to re-open and get back to business. Sounds like the perfect time to renovate. Before you get started, you should become familiar with the renovation process. There are a lot of important steps and once you know these, you can keep your project organized, and your renovation project will be a success.

Your Complete Guide To Commercial Renovations

What Is Commercial Renovation?

Commercial renovation is the process of updating a commercial building. These buildings typically house offices, stores, retail spaces, restaurants, and other rented spaces. Commercial properties are centered around business and this requires bringing in customers, tenants, and sales. Renovation of a commercial property to meet the needs of these groups will benefit everyone.

How Long Do Commercial Renovations Take?

Commercial renovation projects vary in the time taken to complete them. It depends on the size and scope of the project. Simple projects like painting and new flooring can take a few weeks, but the creation of a brand new floorplan can take months. Along with planning a timeline, you also need to plan the costs. You need to start renovation projects that match your available budget. Projects can cost between $40 per square foot to $250 per square foot or more. If your budget is small, you may need to stick with smaller renovations.

The Planning Stage

One of the most important parts of renovations is the planning stage. This will set the stage for the rest of the project. If the details are not clearly planned, hiring contractors, budgeting, and the labor may not work out. The important steps of the planning stage include:

  • Assess Building and Neighborhood: Perform a thorough walkthrough of the building and look around the local neighborhood. Look for damage, possible repairs, and areas that need updating. You can also get up to date on local codes to make sure that your commercial property is up to local standards. You also need to make sure none of your renovations will violate any codes.
  • Create a Budget: Once you know what needs to be renovated, you can figure out a budget for the materials and contractor and designer costs as well as timeline.
  • Hire a Contractor: Do some research for contractors and collect a few estimates. Look specifically for remodeling contractors rather than generalized contractors, so they have a better understanding of the project you are looking for. The contractor you hire will be overseeing the entire project so it is important to pick the right one. Key factors to look for when choosing include:
    • Licensing and insurance
    • Realistic cost estimates
    • Experience with your type of project
    • Good references
    • A team that is large enough to cover your project

Pre-Construction Stage

You have a budget and a contractor so now it is time to design the project, finalize all contracts, and get the required materials.
This stage starts with the creation of a detailed design to help guide you through the rest of the project. The two phases to achieve this are:

  • Conceptual design: For this, you get to be creative, without worrying about the budget. The architect comes up with a design that is efficient and appealing so you can see the architect’s abilities and the building’s potential.
  • Schematic design: Here, you focus on amenities and costs for the project. You will likely have to scale down on creative ideas to meet your budget needs. While working with the architect, you will come up with a design that fits creative and budget needs.

Once the design is finalized, carefully look over all contracts before signing them. You will have contracts with builders, and contractor crews, as well as dates, payment terms, and warranties to go over. All details need to be agreed upon before the final contracts are signed. Getting the equipment and materials can be challenging, but a professional contractor will help coordinate this. Once materials are chosen, be sure to take a look at purchase orders to make sure all agreed-upon pricing is met.

Construction Stage

The pieces are starting to come together, but there is still a great deal going on. Renovations can be disruptive and hard for property tenants, with loud equipment, dust, and unsightly structures. It is important to stay in communication with your tenants to keep them at ease. Updating tenants on date changes or delays as well as providing them a model or images of the finished project are all helpful. During the construction stage, the building will undergo several different inspections. It is important to pass all of these so that your building meets all required safety codes. Inspections during the construction mean potential problems can be identified and taken care of before the next stages of the project.

Post-Construction Stage

This stage of the renovation project has the least amount of steps, but should not be neglected. There will be a final inspection during this stage to make sure your building is safe and ready for use. If your building passes and is up to code, you will get a certificate of substantial completion. Once received, the building can be used and contractors can collect all outstanding payments.


Starting a commercial renovation project may be a necessity but it can also feel overwhelming. There are several important stages, but with careful preparation and planning, you can keep the process organized and as simple as possible. Make yourself a checklist to help guide you through the process and once each step is complete, you will have a renovated building and a new start.


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