The Architect's Blog

Tenant Improvements: Our Approach to Long Beach Commercial Architecture Projects



After a recent conversation with one of our clients who hired us for a commercial architecture project in an existing building, I thought it would be helpful to lay out our approach to tenant improvements to give you a better idea of what to expect if you hire us as your Long Beach architect. Whether the project is big or small, our approach to tenant improvement projects is fairly consistent, with the goal being to keep the project moving forward, while periodically checking in with all parties involved, particularly those entities that have influence over costs.

The first thing we always do is identify the needs of our client. We ask a lot of questions about our client’s work methods to try to find efficiencies they may not have previously considered. At this time, we develop a scope of work, including accessibility and other code items.

Based upon our understanding of the scope, we can create a preliminary floor plan or space plan, which we can then send to our mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) contractors and to our structural engineers to get an estimate of their fees. The plan is also reviewed by our regular general contractors to get a cost range. This range is typically based upon square footage and can be fairly broad at this stage in the process.

Next, we run the preliminary plans by the city planning and building departments, as well as the building owner. From there, we will start to make adjustments to the plan, accounting for the tenant’s more specific requirements and any recommendations made by the building and planning departments or the building owner. This will allow us to zero in on a more and more accurate cost estimate. We will continue to work with our engineers until we have a complete set of construction documents.

At this point, we can go one of two ways. If we are doing a design/build model of construction, we will have our subcontractors collaborate with our engineers to review the plans in order to achieve cost-effective solutions. If the project is going out to bid, we will prepare the drawings for submittal to the various authorities.

Once the plans are approved by all authorities having jurisdiction, we can expect a hard number from the general contractor for construction costs. However, that number can still adjust (typically up) if the tenant or city inspector asks for any revisions after this point.

The approach outlined above is one that has worked well for us and for our tenant improvement clients. It allows us to march forward in as methodical a way possible, while still providing the tenant with realistic cost updates along the way. Throughout the entire process, we strive to communicate candidly and openly with our clients. We want them to be an intimate part of the process, having as much input as they want.

If you need an architect in the Long Beach area with a systematic approach to tenant improvement projects (as well as residential architecture projects), contact M. Grisafe Architects today. We’d love to discuss your project with you and see how we can collaborate to give you a space that is better than you could have even imagined!

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