Why A Strong Office Design Strategy Is Crucial In Building Customer Loyalty

There are many reputable studies out there toting the importance and benefits of strong office design strategies contributing to employee retention. This is thanks to an inflated conversation surrounding the relationship of good environmental design factors playing a role in productivity, creativity, and employee well being the workplace, uniting an aesthetically pleasing space with the ability to perform well within it.

But offices in many professional service sectors like law, consulting, real estate, advertising, etc., are tied directly to the customer experience. We believe the same principle of employee retention can be extended to include office design strategy as a key factor for building customer loyalty.

In this post, we’re examining why a strong office design strategy is crucial in building customer loyalty.

 

Form

It’s 2019 – and the writing is on the wall. Customers and clientele are actively seeking to work with firms and organizations that allow them to recognize an appropriate professional counterpart.

The offices of Apple, Google, and Facebook immediately come to mind for most investigating office design strategy – with Millennial-centric auras, open concept cafes, and collaborative spaces that inspire creativity and chance encounters. While those are admirable and valuable traits – they’re designed for employees – not so much clientele, but this can be extended to customer retention as well. People are primarily visual learners, and when we see something we like, or identify with, it helps us to feel good and confident in our decisions.

Let’s imagine your clients are a youth start up in the real estate sector; say, a budding developer. The youth market has an affinity for eco-efficient and sustainable technologies and actively integrate those styles of technologies and practices into their businesses. Sustainability and creativity are stepping stones to innovation and forward-thinking, two very valuable traits in a collaborating partner. Chances are they won’t be attracted to a dated office space that employs the use of cubicles and a drab paint colour. They’ll be much more receptive and likely to support and continue working with a firm that embraces the aesthetic they identify with as part of their own organizational personality.

More closely investigating the form of your office space is also largely dependant on the footprint of your space. Retention of clientele will always be related to having the physical space needed to accommodate meetings, conferences, video chats, and deliberations – but it’s also about maintaining a space that is sustainable for your needs. There’s little sense in keeping a 3000 square foot office with a 12 person boardroom that sees action 3 or 4 times per year. Instead, maximize your business strategy potential by investigating ways to sustain an attitude based on efficiency and thoughtfulness. Refurbish a large unused space into a collaborative work space for staff, and turn smaller office spaces into private meeting rooms for clients as an alternative to a costly move.

 

Creating Positive Experiences

Dark and serious offices inspire serious experiences, and business in 2019 is less about the dryness of the old school business world and more so about developing a work/life balance that integrates fun, health, and prosperity through experience

2019 is all about experience-driven spaces that embrace the human potential of industrial and corporate spaces, the goals of which are to improve occupant experience while in the space. Space optimizations that are experience-driven are geared at improving the mental and physical wellbeing of people using the space through community-building.

Imagine you’re courting someone you’re attracted to; you’ll go out of your way to maximize your chances of impressing them with a clean apartment, a spotless car, and by taking them to places that spark some excitement. Take them to boring spots, or back to a messy home, and you can expect they’ll tire of that fairly quickly. Customers and clientele are no different. They expect the image of thier partners and favourite establishments to be refreshing, exciting, and innovative in such a way that it beckons them to come back again and again.

Creating these positive experiences doesn’t have to mean a complete office overhaul – it can mean a dedicated revamp of the lobby or waiting room, of your meeting space to invite them in as friends – rather than just customers; make them feel like valued family members, and they’ll seek out ways to maintain the professional relationship between you.

 

Readjust Strategy

We can discuss the aesthetic benefits of adjusting and reimagining physical spaces all day – but there’s one surefire way to address client retention through office strategy, and that’s to adjust your strategy all together.

The #1 reason customers leave a company is because they feel the company doesn’t care about them. Nearly 70% of customers polled say dissatisfaction of care contributes to them leaving. The major difference between companies that experience customer retention and those that don’t? Investment in customer retention strategy, not just customer acquisition. Majority of businesses are so enamored with the prospect of attracting new clientele that they leave old or existing customers by the wayside – despite the fact selling to a repeat customer can be up to 7 times cheaper and easier.

Sometimes, investigating office design strategy is as simple as reimagining how you’re thinking in your current space. Giving your staff a creativity-inspiring space to think is as important as trying to attract new customers.

 

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Customer loyalty and retention is all about providing your customers with a space that speaks to the requirements of their collaborating partners. They need a space that compliments their work ethic, their industry, their age, and their speed. But retention is more than that. It’s all about remembering your current customer base, and dedicating your office strategy to evolving with them as they grow and adapt to the marketplace. Office design strategy isn’t always about paint colours and layout – it’s also about learning more about your customers and how they behave.

How To Minimize Downtime in an Office Redesign

Undertaking an office redesign is a wildly exciting time for any business. A redesign, renovation, or even a reimagined layout in the office can help usher in a time of renewed spirit, well being, and productivity. While it may be easy to recognize your current space isn’t helping your organization and staff achieve their short and long term goals, it’s another thing to consider uprooting the entire working environment and potentially halting any forward-moving momentum.

There’s a lot of pros and cons to weigh out before you begin to tear down walls and look for new office furniture. There are contractors to consider, contemporary design trends, eco, and sustainable products – but the biggest consideration is often ranked last for some over-eager organizations who are keen to get the ball rolling, so to speak.

Investigating how to minimize downtime during an office redesign is a proactive way to help balance incoming and outgoing tasks, delegate plans, and keep your staff motivated and in-the-know while the dust flies. A good strategy is where it all starts – take a deep breath – it starts now.

 

Move Management Software

Move management systems (MMS) are critical for offices on the move, or offices undergoing a renovation or redesign that means jumping ship for an extended period of time. The gist of MMS is to unite and connect every department in your organization in such a way that reduces confusion and shortsightedness and eliminates a surplus of responsibility on management to answer questions when they’re spread thin trying to keep a redesign under control.

Move management software seeks to unify a company on one single system or server by streamlining processes and mobilizing your workforce through a time of locational uncertainty. With an automated workflow and a dedication to improved customer experience, a moving management system is all about tailoring your redesign process to iron out as many potential roadblocks and speed bumps as possible.

When your company can access one succinct system for every team member, you’re able to focus your businesses’ attention back onto customer service and the continued completion of tasks.

 

Keep Staff Well Informed

Let’s imagine that a month-long hiatus isn’t in the cards for your business. You’re plowing forward with your redesign plans and you’re motivated to keep staff working, on task, and completing goals. Even the most headstrong plans can be blown off course by a simple change of setting, so keeping everyone in tune with what’s happening is paramount to the success of your business.

Unnecessary chaos, confusion, and frustration are the likely results of an employee base that’s been left in the dark through a troublesome time – don’t let that happen.

Even the smallest office redesign plans can uproot and affect hundreds, if not thousands of people; from employees and freelancers to subcontractors and clientele. When the lights inevitably go out for construction and your team finds themselves potentially spread out in the world of temporary remote work, or in a temp space that doesn’t compliment their workflow, communication is going to be your best bet in reducing costly downtime and maximizing the chance for continued success.

Host weekly meetings and open the floor to employees to address any concerns they may have, share ideas on how to streamline efficiencies, or simply to update them on the office redesign or renovation progress. Share successful checkpoints in the build and seek to provide a timeline for their eventual return – and don’t be afraid to share unforeseen hurdles or setback in the construction phase. Employees are the heart and soul of your business, and they deserve to know what’s up – good or bad. The willingness to engage in this discourse will help create an environment of trust and confidence between management and employees.

When employees feel they’ve been heard, addressed, and listened to, you’ll stoke their internal fire and send them back to work with a spring in their step. A motivated working environment means ensuring everyone has their opinions heard – finding a proactive way to liaison between the workforce and management is critical.

 

Respond with Authority

Communication is a bit of a two-sided coin. It’s one thing to talk the talk — it’s time to walk the walk.

Holding weekly update meetings, or hosting weekly problem-solving brainstorms is only effective if your management team knows how to respond in such a way that inspires confidence and sure-footedness. Accepting that you may or may not be privy to all the answers is part of this equation – we’re all human, after all – but seeking to inform yourself so you may respond to your staff promptly and with authority makes all the difference when questions are being asked.

Communicate with your design-build team, your contractors, your clientele, and your department heads prior to walking into the perfect storm. Educating yourself on the state of affairs to the best of your ability will give you the ability to respond with authority.

Sometimes this can mean responding to a slew of concerned emails over the weekend, or taking the time to address silly or unnecessary questions that seem trivial at the time – but it’s the ability to give an answer that employees are after. Employers who have sought to put the business into a state of potential disarray thanks to a time-consuming redesign

 

The Design-build Mantra

One of the benefits of hiring a design-build firm to undertake your redesign plans is eliminating the old school multi-channel approach to building. Eliminating avenues for things to go wrong, or for miscommunications to fester is a huge benefit in dealing with one firm, rather than a slew of contractors and sub-trades.

The design-build mantra keeps everything in-house, from the initial brainstorm to the design, to the demo and construction or your new space – it’s all in the capable hands of one succinct firm with the experience to get it done well, and in good time to eliminate downtime for your business.

Let’s imagine you host a departmental rep communication session two weeks into your office redesign – Joan from accounting has a question about the new delivery set up, while the marketing team has concerns they’re not going to have enough space to facilitate a collaborative work environment. Meanwhile, the sales team wants to make sure they have the room to accommodate a semi-private conference room for large sales meetings with clients. Rather than having to bounce between a few different contractors searching for answers, the benefit of working with a design-build firm like Aura Office Environments is everything can go straight to one source. 3 questions, 1 point of contact; all the while eliminating downtime waiting for answers.

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Minimizing downtime for your staff is one of the most important aspects to consider when thinking about an office redesign. Downtime affects employees differently, and the larger picture demands we consider how a redesign will affect more than commute times, working hours, and project deliverables – downtime can also profoundly affect client relationships.

We strongly believe the best ways to minimize downtime are communicating the progress of your project and giving respect to how your employees work to guarantee success during a redesign. In either case, minimizing downtime is all about making our workforce feel empowered to speak up, be heard, and to be a part of the solutions that make your office environment a great place to work.

Mother Nature is Taking Back the Office

Modern society loves to ignore the fact that human beings are animals. We’re designed to interact and integrate with our environment – and contrary to popular belief, that natural environment isn’t sandwiched between two cubicle walls inhaling sterile air with no view of the outside world.

Humans possess the instinctual need to be immersed in the real world, and without access to it, our behaviors can change. So it’s no surprise employees and some businesses are demanding Mother Nature be integrated back into the office space.  

Continue reading “Mother Nature is Taking Back the Office”

How Office Design Can Improve Creativity

Office design strategy is largely about efficiency, productivity, and how many employees can effectively and purposefully be placed in a space to churn out the best results; usually from a monetary perspective, sprinkled with employee happiness and wellbeing. Yet, in an ever-evolving landscape that demands supportive collaboration in the office, we’re left wondering why more commercial office spaces aren’t optimized to improve creativity. Continue reading “How Office Design Can Improve Creativity”

5 Ways to Make Your Office More Sustainable

Remember the Three R’s from public school? They’ve never been more relevant as eco-friendly initiatives, recycling, reusing materials, and renewable energy are handily at the forefront of today’s societal consciousness.

Making your office more sustainable has a plethora of benefits – from helping ease the pressure of elevated utility fees and growing capital expenditures, to generating positive client and public perception and a company culture that’s dedicated to ethical, eco-friendly choices that make the office a more pleasant place to be.

Continue reading “5 Ways to Make Your Office More Sustainable”

Commercial Interior Designs For Cutting-Edge Offices

Gauging the amount of widespread information available today may have you thinking office spaces must be metaphorical beehives — buzzing with borderline instinctual, relentless efficiency and productivity. While design commercial interior design strategy may be a common subject for the corporate crowd, actually putting that knowledge into practice is an entirely different beast.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve completed numerous interior commercial builds for our clientele. Our main goal is always to improve environmental factors that elevate office structure and growth – but it’s the little things that matter most.

Here’s our greatest hits list of three recent cutting-edge tech/law office builds that Aura Office Environments has helped transform.

 

Westside Family Law

Proudly serving the west side of Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, and New Westminster, Westside Family Law HQ lies in the heart of the South Granville neighbourhood.

They came to Aura looking to revitalize their office space to usher in a new era of customer service and project a renewed brand identity. We tackled this law office revamp using a three pillar system, addressing each issue with our trademark innovation and creativity.

Eco-Friendly

The existing Westside Family Law space wasn’t cramped by any stretch, but its footprint presented a unique challenge in that there was no buffer or transition zone from the lobby to the offices of the business. We developed a fresh and modern design using reclaimed and salvaged cedar timbers in a dynamic, angled floor-to-ceiling partition to add warmth and humanity. Using these eco-friendly and reclaimed materials helped develop a unique identity synonymous with second chances and helped to create pivotal transition zones in the space.

Detailed

It’s all about the little touches. Offices aren’t the boring, stale spaces they were during the corporate cubicle surge of the 1950s; today’s cutting edge modern spaces require a zest of life that helps differentiate them from their predecessors. Office art is a staple of any space, but we chose to present geographic representations of Greater Vancouver, the ocean, and the temperate rainforest in a unique way by suspending canvases from the ceiling, rather than have them conventionally hung on the wall. The result is a much taller space, helping the eye gaze upward and to a more modern installation process.

Materials & Linear Lines

Materials are every bit as important as the layout of a cutting edge office environment. We used a polished concrete to create a flashy focal point for clients entering this new space. Polished concrete is an incredibly hot material right now in many aspects of architecture and home design. We used strong linear lines to help create an artistic juxtaposition from the reclaimed timbers behind the receptionists’ desk for a powerful intersection of organic and industrial textures.

Owen Bird

The Owen Bird Law corporation is a full-service law firm located in downtown Vancouver. When we began working with this well-established brand, we integrated an office aura plan to maintain the traditional energy of the space, while integrating modern technology, some modern aesthetic changes, and successfully utilized the panoramic view of the city to bring the outdoors in.

Focal Points

We needed to help the space feel more open and inviting, so the team at Aura worked to select a unique carpet pattern that was both warm, modern, and assisted in carrying the eye throughout the space, rather than creating a solid block of texture on the floor. The result is an opposing linear carpet that creates a vibrant, stone-like appeal that carries throughout the lobby and private office settings.

 

Traditional Style & Modern Tech

This is an established and respected brand, and the team at Owen Bird were adamant that they pay respect to their past, and to the traditional pieces that help identify the space as a key player in the Vancouver law community. We integrated traditional pieces like leather chairs and sofa sets, dark and warm desks and wood accents, and modern neutral colour palettes with modern technology, and innovative modern accents here and there to update and differentiate the appeal of this stately and dignified space.

Utilize the View

We borrowed some of the ample daylight projected into the space via the large floor-to-ceiling glass windows in an effort to help Owen Birds’ clients feel welcome. A view from an office is rarely as stunning as the one from these windows, so we embraced the water view, the mountains, and the urban centre below to solidify a stunning aesthetic that informed much of our material choices for the rest of the space.

Brand Alliance

Brand Alliance is a North American leader in promotional marketing. They began as a Canadian grassroots company and soon expanded to work with some of the most respected and biggest brands in Canada. They hold a very strong dedication to environmental standards, strengthening community, and social compliance to develop their brand as a good neighbour involved with many local, national, and international charities.

The came to Aura invested with a belief that their space should represent their brand, and we jumped at the opportunity to work collaboratively with this like minded creative team.

Vibrancy

We used vibrant colours in furniture, and furniture accents to reaffirm Brand’s dedication to multiculturalism, diversity, and flavour in the workplace. Using colour in this regard is a surefire way to develop a reinvigorated, fresh space with little time or investment.

Open Space / Open Communication

We created more open and airy seating areas for both staff and clientele to communicate openly. With greenery and a nice view as a backdrop for our revamped seating areas, this office space encourages inter-office creativity, open collaboration, and chance encounters that build upon a legacy of close-knit teams and enviable company culture.

We built a rooftop patio to assist in developing a dynamic work-based approach to work/life balance, giving the team a place to escape the hustle of the office and recharge their batteries, while simultaneously creating an in-house lunch/break room that’s comfortable, inviting, and peppered with sleek modern touches like innovative media/tech and clean modernist lines.

Retro Style

Using an aesthetic that blends old industrial remnants found in their building like brick, exposed beams, and mortar, we integrated glass walls to keep the space open and inviting, while using warm wood accents and doors to continue a made-by-hand approach to the office design to incorporate the grassroots and human beginning of this continental powerhouse business.

Retro style played a big role in our environmental influences during this build, ushering in a sense of playfulness, humanity, and community. Littered with modern furniture pieces and comfy, warm leathers and pleasant fabrics, we think we hit the nail on the head.  

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Designs for cutting-edge offices are as varied and as engaging as they come. They’re all about integrating employee satisfaction, work/life balance, and corporate efficiency into a realm of innovation, creativity, and vibrancy.

Further to the psychology of the office, the modern landscape of commercial office design is all about bringing the outdoors in, seamlessly introducing new technology, and making a statement about your environment.

5 Breakthroughs In Commercial Interior Design Technologies

The very first iterations of a so-called modern office were rolled out to the masses in the early 1900’s. Most of them featured an open concept layout to support collaboration and communication – but they also contributed to massive levels of noise and distraction. Cue the 1950’s cubicle revolution, which went a little too far in the other direction and inspired unintentional isolation and a drop of office worker morale.

The most up-to-date commercial interior design mantra does something in the middle, option to include aspects of both to accommodate the individual working styles of different employees who need different environments to accomplish different tasks – but the biggest breakthrough of 2018 has proven to be the inclusion of more and more advanced commercial interior design technologies.

Here are our top 5 breakthroughs in commercial interior design technologies.

 

Virtual Reality Communications

Remember the hologram meetings the Empire or Rebel Alliance would host in Star Wars, with the fuzzy life-size visual of Darth? While virtual reality conferencing may not quite be on that level just yet, virtual reality communications are soon to be the mainstream choice of tech-savvy firms the world over.

With current teleconferencing, individuals can carry on with their everyday tasks, or ignoring the meeting altogether because they’re not visible to the other attendees; alternatively, video conferencing has similar issues with participant engagement – a meeting attendee can still do their own thing on-screen in privacy, rendering the meeting ineffective. Virtual reality conferencing allows users in different locations to literally meet in a room together to present CAD 3D models of new products, or share plans.

Skype and Zoom are proving to hold onto their relevancy, as these technologies have become a staple of modern office experiences, and help take meetings to new levels with reliable and high-quality face-to-face video conferencing.

 

Visual & Collaborative Brainstorming

Video conferencing and screen sharing are nothing new – but more and more offices are embracing these tech advances as the primary go-to technology for boosting efficiency in the office and communicating creative ideas in real time.

Screen sharing technologies give meeting attendees a front row view of the presenters screen from anywhere in the world, helping them gain unprecedented access to Powerpoint presentations, product designs, or brainstorming ideas for discussion.

Think back to an old school in-office presentation. Much like an elementary classroom, the presenter would use a black/whiteboard to illustrate and take notes of the topic at hand – but in 2018, these visual supports have received a much-needed makeover.

Google recently introduced a revolutionary G-Suite tool called Jamboard, a virtual whiteboard conferencing app, enabling individual employees from multiple different departments or offices to collaborate and view a singular screen for multiple meeting attendees to draw on and contribute to during brainstorming sessions.

 

Video Communication

Inbound giant, Hubspot, tells us that over 50% of marketers agree video is still the king of creative content, and it provides the best ROI for organizations, prompting some tech groups to embrace video as a means of email communication as well.

Similar to rapport building video conferencing technologies of 2018, video communications are also changing the ways people interact and exchange ideas and correspondence when they’re not live or in a meeting. Programs like Vidyard allow office employees to record and create simple, short video messages as emails, eliminating text, and adding a personal touch that text messages and voice messages can’t come close to.

Videos also help to better communicate context, voice, and tone, helping to more authentically engage workplace communication needs and eliminate any unwanted misinterpretation.

 

Gamification Culture

Gamification is a growing and expansive methodology used predominantly in education and training circles, but more and more commercial office environments are using games as a way to build company culture. Hosting a trivia, or video joke session via Slack, for example, which can be used to boost company morale as a way of introducing and familiarizing staff with each other.

From a team building perspective, gamification is easy to accommodate, fun, and a great way to connect individuals who may not get the chance to interact at work otherwise.

Advancing the fun-having identity of gamification and connective apps like Slack, Google Drive, and Google Hangouts, organizations are voluntarily employing the concept of “remote week” wherein they encourage employees to work from their favourite location — a coffee shop, the cottage, home, etc — as a way to encourage them to better understand these fun and engaging modes of communication and collaboration, but also as a way to introduce and familiarize themselves with telecommuting and the many benefits of a liberated and mobile workforce.

 

Voice Recognition & Activation

Studies show nearly half of all American routinely use digital voice assistants like Apple’s infamous Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Home – so it’s no surprise that more and more office employees and organizations are using these computing voice assistants to accelerate tasks and minimize the impact of small tasks.

Voice assistants are excellent for scheduling meetings, sending messages, setting timeline-based goals and reminders, and typing notes; so they’re literally like an extra set of hands, and a quick and painless way to make staying on top of your day-to-day office life a breeze.

 

Easy accessibility, remote capabilities, advanced communication tools, and the rapid rise of the telecommuter demographic have prompted technology to make rapid changes to keep up with the ever-evolving office. Similarly, offices are also using consumer technologies in more professional capacities to bridge the gap between work and personal life – and that to us means people are happier; using commercial interior design office tech is making office life easier and enjoyable.

Change Management During Office Transfiguration

Change can be an overwhelming word for some, but at its core, change in an office setting means taking a hard look at processes, structures, technology, and the use and psychology of space. Managing changes to these processes and spaces can be tough for organizations that have become comfy in their approach; especially when we remind ourselves that organizations don’t change – the people who make them successful do. Continue reading “Change Management During Office Transfiguration”

Why Choose Design-Build Instead of Traditional Project Management?

So, you’ve decided to build a new office or commercial space. The big decision you will need to make concerns which is the best method to get your project from concept to construction. Various project delivery workflows can take different paths, each with benefits and challenges, and some that incorporate nuances of each system. Here we will look at the 2 most common methods that a business owner can take when starting a new construction project – design-bid-build and the design-build project management.

Traditional Project Management

As the project stakeholder using a traditional design-bid-build construction model, you will be tasked with finding and working directly with a number of entities, which include at a minimum the following service providers and tradesmen.

      Architectural consultant to complete the architectural and structural design of the new facility

      MEP design/installation services to specify and layout the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing installations

      Specialty Consultants such as civil engineering and landscape designers

      Interior designers to designate fixtures, furnishings, flooring, and wall textures/patterns

      General Contractor (GC) to take complete control of day-to-day construction management

      Sub-contractors reporting to GC after winning the bid to provide trade services

This traditional method of project management involves many different players, and it’s the primary stakeholder (or the owner of the new facility) that will incur full responsibility for any material or financial losses during construction, including poor quality installations, costly field changes, missed deadlines, and the scheduling conflicts that result. The snowball effect begins as trade crews sit idle, the schedule becomes bottlenecked, material deliveries must be delayed, and the general contractor is tasked with covering his losses – by any means necessary.

Of course, if contractual obligations were not met, the owner may not incur a loss – but will certainly have to prove during litigation or mediation that the contracted services as stated, were not provided. The downfall to this traditional method of building is that each phase of the project from landscaping and professional flooring installations to plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems – is viewed as a separate design/installation entity under the supervision of the general contractor (who reports only to you – the owner).

The GC has the power to make best practice decisions for all portions of the construction or systems installation – and can overrule the expertise of trade subcontractors.

Other challenges with the design-bid-build project delivery method is when conflict between architect and general contractor arises. The architect is married to his concept and final design for your new building, while the general contractor is focused on a timely delivery, staying within the project budget, and making a profit.

Also consider, the low bid procurement system is open to questionable performance by trade service providers who also must make a profit. The Design-Build method is a better way to delivery construction projects and will overcome many deficiencies in the design-bid-build method.

 

The Design-Build Project Delivery

The design-build project delivery method was conceived as a more efficient method for building commercial and industrial facilities. This engineering and construction workflow will transfer the entire project design, construction, and installation phases of the new facility under the helm of one service provider – the design-build firm or AEC (architectural, engineering and construction firm) which operates as the “owner’s representative”. The design/build method makes it easy to work with one group who understands the owner’s vision and goals when building a new office and/or commercial space.

Design/build eliminates the bidding process and multiple contracts while putting the owner under contract with one single entity that delivers a complete construction project – including design and engineering. The same firm will provide for and oversee all construction processes up to completion. Expect your design/build firm to handle the following:

      Quote the project cost and ensure the project budget/costs as presented, before construction begins. This eliminates the many the surprises or cost overruns while allowing the owner to maintain the power to approve any material substitutions or construction changes.

      Provides all architectural design and engineering documentation to meet project requirements upon approval of the owner and is the primary communication between supply vendors and trade subcontractor such as millwork, plumbing, interior design, electrical and HVAC design documentation.

      Stays in constant contact with the owner regarding any major field changes from the original design, any scheduling conflicts that will affect the budget, manpower deficiencies, or material substitutions which could affect project design, timeline, or budget.

      Acts as the general contractor, hiring all skilled trade service providers and unskilled manpower needed and takes total charge of the day-to-day construction operations and supervision of all subcontractors working on the project

      Will obtain all building permits and oversees all legal obligations, including building code inspections.

      Will take responsibility for all the financial contracts with subcontractors and manpower scheduling conflicts that may result from unforeseen weather or construction events.

 

Advantages of the Design-Build Project

The major advantage of design/build projects is the ease of working with a dedicated team of designers/builders from one professional firm, compared to working with multiple contractors, designers, and firms. Your design-build team provides a seamless, one-stop solution without the chaos and hassles of juggling multiple trades or relying on the general contractor to stay true to the architects design. Other benefits include:

Saves Project Management Costs

When you have one skilled team responsible for carrying out and providing a suitable remedy for all contractual concerns of the project owner, the costs of managing and coordinating multiple parties is eliminated. Your design-build firm takes responsibility for hiring qualified tradesmen, all manpower scheduling, construction equipment and material acquisition, and the daily construction tasks.

Ensures An Efficient and Effective Workflow

Design/build is a streamlined construction process. From start to finish, your one point of contact will provide a project quote and a project plan with complete information on how they will turn your construction goals into reality.  The quoted cost to the owner relies heavily on the performance of the design build firm to stay within budget and complete the project on time. They are motivated to eliminate wasted time and wasted resources to guarantee a profit for the design build company.

Less Risk for the Owner

Their expertise includes a broad knowledge of the complete architectural, engineering, and construction process – and uses that strong foundation to make sound building decisions and coordinate effective material sourcing. The contract calls for the owner to assume less risk, by allowing the AEC firm to assume more responsibility and control. The client is as active a participant as they desire to be.

Takes Advantage of Existing Partnerships

Your design/build firm has worked with and relies on established relationships between construction material suppliers, equipment vendors, and skilled tradesmen/subcontractors that have demonstrated trustworthy business ethics and have a reputation for using both time and manpower effectively. A design/build firm stands behind their work and the work of the crews they hire to complete your project.

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A design-build firm will always work on behalf of the client – and isn’t held under the thumb of suppliers or construction groups.

Contrary to being left out of the construction loop, you can expect to be involved with not only approving the design concept of the new structure, but also the intricate details like time frames, total costs, payment arrangements, and how additional costs due to unforeseen circumstances are handled.

How to Plan a Successful Office Renovation

Planning an office renovation is an exciting time for a business that’s experiencing growth, or investing in its future. Renovations mean a readjustment in attitude, identity, and a clean slate. They also mean a carefully curated interior with a fresh aesthetic at its centre – but how soon should you plan an office renovation?

It’s easy to jump the gun and begin imagining all the incredible features and amenities you plan on implementing to your new office design, but there’s plenty to consider and prepare for prior to thinking about paint colours and finishing touches.

In this post, we’re taking a close look at how to plan a successful office renovation.

 

What to Build, What to Build?

Step number one in an office pre-plan is to decide what kind of office you want to build – and more importantly, what kind of office is going to compliment your staff, your industry, and your businesses brand identity. You’ll also want to consider modern and trending office design, features and the psychology behind different office layouts and theories.

Will your business benefit from an open concept space that caters to ample collaboration, and should you be adding on a designated space for dedicated focus? What are the latest ideas in conference room design, and Eco friendly considerations?

Before you begin to get the ball rolling, the first step in any renovation plan is to always consider the financial implications of your build – can you handle the added monetary requirements of a state-of-the-art renovation? Are you renovating for rapid company growth? Is company morale and employee well being a motivating factor in your desire to renovate?

Next, couple your financial thinking to that of a space audit. By investigating your existing space you can identity its pitfalls so they’re left behind in your new design.

This planning stage should ideally be completed, or at least on your collective organizational radar about 6-8 months prior to giving a general contractor the green light to begin. With this amount of time to your advantage, you’ll have no trouble fleshing out ideas, and assembling a team that can make your vision a reality.

 

When Should You Begin Planning?

Different office structures and teams will require different timeframes from which to plan their office renovation project. As a general rule, we recommend working with your design expert to determine an appropriate timeframe based on the needs of your project. You’ll want to  consider preparation time spent researching, consulting, exploring, and gaining knowledge on the many facets of design and productivity.

 

You’ll need this half-year to investigate and detail plans that include:

    • What’s driving this renovation, and why is it necessary to supporting your goals as an organization?
  • Issues that will affect the construction schedule
    • Will your renovation spell a temporary relocation, or can you work through the intensity of project while maintaining an efficient and motivated workforce?
  • Budget
    • What’s the budget look like, and does it include funds and resources for unexpected changes, permits, insurance, etc.

Doing this type of homework prior to giving your renovation plans the proverbial greenlight is critical to ensuring the project’s success. Background work helps eliminate problems that routinely spring up in hastily planned renovations, and allows your organization to iron out projected shortcomings before they happen, eliminating downtime, ensuring internal motivation, and getting you into your new space as quickly as possible.

 

Finding the Right Design Team

Finding the right design-build team for your office renovation is all about finding a way to articulate and recognize the importance of your business identity and your brand. This always begins by communicating and collaborating with your staff to find the things that they covet the most at work, and utilizing those insights to find a design-build team that exemplifies those values.

In short, a design-build team needs to compliment your values, embody your goals, and identify with your plans for your office renovation.

You can begin this search by investigating portfolios of design work, and asking your picks to introduce you to their design-build process. This initial communication is all about connecting with the people who you are going to build your new space with. You need to discuss ideas candidly, bounce ideas off one another, and last but not least – allow each other to do their jobs. When you find a design team you trust, this is a simple matter.

A professional design team will need a solid 4 months to work with your business to evaluate your space, make a comprehensive plan, and begin preparation stages for construction. Your design team will lead the charge through discussions regarding theme, workflow and office layout, furniture considerations, tech accommodations, green/eco -friendly design considerations, features, colour palettes, and finishing touches.

 

Always Invest in Modern Ideas & Tech

When you renovate an office, you need to be constantly looking forward to the future. There’s very little sense in recreating a new space and recycling the old way you used the previous space. This means investing in new technologies, new methodologies of organizational success, and learning the psychology of the modern workforce and how office design can impact productivity, job satisfaction for employees, efficiency, and talent retention.

This also means taking an in-depth look at the square footage needed to optimize a modern office and accommodate the breakthrough ways to develop your team. Invest in modern tech and ideas to help bring your office into the new age of integrated, mobile-friendly workflows, active space planning, and organizational adaptability.

 

Minimizing Downtime

In order to minimize downtime during your renovation process, you can work directly with your design team to investigate ways to eliminate an entire workplace shut down while construction commences. This could mean relocating a section of your workforce to a different section of the businesses building while construction gets underway, or finding a suitable off-site office solution to minimize distractions and exposure to the byproducts of construction like dust, dirt, and noise.

As a general rule, plan to be in a perpetual state of construction during the duration of your projected timeline – depending on the scope of your renovation plans. Major structural changes require architect and building code approval, and rebuilding a space from the ground up cannot be rushed.

Also, keep your staff informed of progress, and when things are happening, should you collectively choose to stay put during the course of renovations. When staff are left in the dark, it inevitably creates an environment of chaos and confusion. Host weekly meetings with department heads to inform the rest of the team about processes, and assist in answering questions that your staff may have. It’s one thing to give direction and updates on construction, and another thing to provide your employees with answers that alleviate stress.

You can also invest in Move Management Software to help manage company workflows, stay up-to-date on pressing goals and targets, and stay organized. Cloud-based tech like this allows your staff to operate using mobile and remote technologies – which are likely an addition to your new space – giving them access to the office from anywhere.

 

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We recommend planning for about a year of constant discussions, and deliberations regarding your office renovation, from conception to completion.

Remember, an office renovation is a fantastic way to rekindle some of the energy, inspiration, and excitement your business may have lost over the years working in an outdated space. Newly optimized spaces are key to boosting efficiencies in the workplace, reducing costs, and improving staff morale.