Commercial Office Space – Office Design Ideas

Commercial Office Space – Office Design Ideas (And why you should always use a specialist Project Manager)

What constitutes Commercial Office Space?

Normally any kind of premises from which you could run a business and where a part is set aside for administration purposes. From small shops, warehouses, supermarkets, factories and office blocks, to leisure facilities such as pubs, restaurants, gyms, etc.

Whereas moving to a new business premises, coming up with innovative and creative office design ideas and fitting out the commercial office space to your company’s exact requirements – or even refurbishing existing to make better use of the space – may not be quite as complex as building an Olympic stadium, each task does nevertheless require a similar level of specialised project management expertise to manage it correctly.

So What Makes a Good `Project Manager’ Anyway?

Many in-house `Project Managers’ tasked with any one of the above mentioned responsibilities – often by ill-informed bosses on the grounds that: “he/she has nothing better to do at the moment and we’re paying their salary anyway” – will often attempt to `re-invent the wheel’ in trying to become an expert in all areas of commercial office space refurbishment, office fit out and business relocation in the very short time available – taking a real chance of `blowing the budget’ or employing `cowboys’.

For many inexperienced managers – who may never have lived through the experience before it’s a bit like trying to cross a minefield blindfolded – you just don’t know where the hazards are until you step on them!

Do We Have The Right Resources To Hand?

To find out whether you have the right resources in place to project manage your next commercial office space refurbishment or fit-out try answering the following questions:

♦ Have I carried out a similar project recently of the same size and type?

♦ Do I know how to create an accurate outline budget?

♦ Do I know all the critical deadlines and how to meet them?

♦ Can I plan, budget, coordinate and implement the required works on time?

♦ Do I know all the mistakes to avoid?

♦ How will I know what the `right’ prices are when all the quotes from the

suppliers/contractors look the same?

♦ How can I avoid employing `cowboys’?

♦ Will I be able to unravel the `industry jargon’ used by my suppliers and contractors to

ensure I’m getting what I’m paying for?

♦ Will I be able to find the time to manage all this alongside my regular `Day Job’?

If the answer to just ONE of the above questions is NO then you need an outsourced expert.

Experience is the Key

Selection of competent suppliers to correctly implement your company’s particular office design ideas always seems easier than it really is. Most novice commercial office space project managers will resort to the “price and three references” method of selection. This means that potential suppliers and contractors are invited to submit their best price for goods and services.

Since it is assumed that all suppliers are created equal, the temptation is to hire the ones offering the lowest prices. And, just to cover themselves, these in-house managers will also ask for three references from “satisfied customers” who have successfully used that supplier.

Simply by `phoning those references and asking them if they were satisfied with the supplier, in theory, should yield a risk-free selection, right? Nothing could be further from the truth! Do you really believe that a supplier will furnish names of dissatisfied customers? Suppliers will ONLY ever supply good references. Now, what do you do?

There are many areas of focus that will help you find the right supplier, and they go way beyond the “price and three references” approach. First, you need to determine the typical project size and scope in which your potential suppliers have the most experience. You want to match your commercial office space refurbishment or fit out project as closely as possible with your supplier’s experience and initial office design ideas.

Does the supplier work on commercial office space projects of your size, or do they suit a different size of customer? What about the scope of the project? Have they performed many very similar projects successfully, or is this one a stretch for them? Is your supplier a specialist at interpreting your company’s particular office design ideas or are they a generalist who attempts to satisfy many needs? The choice is ultimately yours and there is no right or wrong answer. Experience is the key factor here.

Look for a well established company – preferably one with plenty of experience of successfully interpreting client’s office design ideas – especially if their portfolio includes projects for the larger, `blue chip’ companies as this is the kind of specialist project manager more likely to produce successful results for you than a one-man-band start-up: allowing you to get on with what you do best – making profits for your own business!