Getting back to business: reducing office downtime during a commercial fit-out

Getting back to business: reducing office downtime during a commercial fit-out

So you’ve decided that your office space needs a revamp. There’s nothing better than a newly renovated office that reflects where your business is currently at, and – more importantly – where you are headed. 

But when it comes to actually getting a fit-out team in to bring your new office space to life, how does your work fit around it? When you have to make sure that your everyday work gets done, how do you minimise downtime in the office?

We’ve played a part in several commercial fit-outs over the years, and have observed how clients deal with the downtime. Here are some of our top tips for keeping the disruption minimal to your business when having renovation work done. 

Getting the timing right

When it’s time to map out the fit-out process, the trick is to overlap trades as much as you can. If you are getting in different contractors one after another, it’s going to take an excessive amount of time and effort. Instead, work with a fit-out provider who can ensure your programming is nice and tight, with different teams working alongside one another. 

Think as well about your particular office space and how you can create phases of work. If you’ve got spaces you can segregate, consider managing the space so some of the office can still be used during the day while others are renovated. 

Datum had a client who decided to adjust their office hours over the few weeks of a fit-out, with our team working from afternoon into the night and on the weekends. While it might have been slightly inconvenient for a short amount of time, it prevented a lengthier fit-out that would have caused more of a headache. 

Thinking local

If you want to get work done quickly, prioritise sourcing materials from places closer to home. With the pandemic meaning that wait times for getting resources into the country are longer than ever, sourcing locally available products saves a whole lot of time. Not to mention, you’re also supporting your fellow Kiwi businesses. 

Reducing the downtime in your office during a fit-out means that upfront procurement is crucial. There’s nothing worse than a fit-out being stalled halfway because of a material or subbie failing to get to site on time, meaning people are stuck in a limbo between being able to work in the office and not. It might mean you need an extra week or two before starting to ensure that all material is available and ready to go, but it will save the hassle of trying to find resources once you’ve already started. 

Getting the right people

While you and your team work to make sure your business remains consistent throughout your fit-out, leave the other stresses to a project manager. More than anything, we recommend getting an experienced project manager to keep any commercial fit-out running smoothly. 

A good project manager will not only liaise with you to keep your work disruption-free, they’ll also bring a great team with them. They’ll be able to find and source reliable tradespeople and subcontractors who are used to the speed of commercial fit-outs (because keeping up with office spaces requires a whole different set of skills to residential builds). 

A project manager will be able to worry about the more mundane tasks, while you focus on your work and your own customers. Things like council consenting and the inspection process can really drag out the entire project, so getting someone with experience and expertise in this field will save a lot of time and stress. 

Engaging the right people with the right experience in commercial fit-outs is essential. While there is some natural cross-over in skills between commercial projects and other spaces, the importance of time management in office fit-outs is unparalleled. When it comes time to give your office a revamp, be sure to engage with the right people to do the job as smoothly as possible. 

At Datum Projects, we combine forward planning with the kind of innovative, on-the-fly problem solving that makes your commercial interior fit-outs easy. Get in touch today to find out how we can make your next office fit-out a smooth one.