By David Atkinson, chief executive officer at Interactive Space, www.interactivespace.net
1.Select your Professional Advisors
Select the professional team, i.e. Commercial Agent, Lawyer and Office Specialist, early on in the process to gain the maximum benefit from their collective advice and knowledge.
2.Develop your Brief
Spend time with your team of Professionals in developing your brief. Allow them to work with you and ask you questions about your business objectives; such as are you looking to expand the company, do you need better facilities for clients and staff? An office relocation is an opportunity to ensure improvements at every level for your business.
Ask your Lawyer to advise on the status of your existing Lease. Time spent at this stage will mean you do not have to make hasty and expensive decisions in the future.
3.Plan the project
Work with your professional team to agree a programme of actions so that you do not find yourself under pressure to sign a lease on new space. Allow enough time after you move into new offices to carry out dilapidation works on your old premises, if not your Landlord will have the upper hand in the negotiations. Dilapidations means you have to put your existing offices back into their original state and your Lawyer will advise you on your liabilities.
4.Carry out a Space Audit
Ask your Office Specialist to analyse your existing office space and discuss your future plans in order to calculate an accurate figure for your future space needs. Also ask him or her to develop a Technical Brief that can be passed onto your Commercial Agent with the Space Audit. This means you do not waste time looking at buildings that are not suitable.
5.Carry out a Building Appraisal
Based on the Space Audit, your Commercial Agent will come up with a short list of potentially suitable buildings for consideration. Ask your Office Specialist to carry out an assessment of each recommended building and advise on the suitability set against your Brief.
6.Make a Commercial Decision on the building
Assess all the information provided by your Professional Team and make a commercial decision on the building that best suits your future requirements in terms of rent, rates, service charge, quality of space, style of building and location. Work with your Agent and Lawyer to agree Heads of Terms on your new lease.
7.Due Diligence Surveys
Make sure you instruct the necessary surveys (Mechanical & Electrical, Building, Lifts) of the new space before you sign your lease. Even new buildings can have problems with Mechanical & Electrical systems. If these problems occur after you have signed your lease, you will have to pay to put them right. Check the building has adequate ventilation, power and telephone cable routes.
8.Method of Procurement
The highest element of capital expenditure will be the fitting out and / or refurbishment of your new office space. Your Office Specialist will advise as to the most cost effective and relevant method of procurement eg Traditional, Design & Build, Management that will suit you.
Ensure you order your telephone lines early, some vendors are quoting 90 days to deliver lines into buildings.
9.Check Designs and Drawings
Work closely with your design team to ensure that the designs, drawings and specifications match your requirements and budget. It is expensive to make changes once the fitting out works have started, so spend time beforehand to understand and agree the detail and information your design team presents to you.
10. Communicate with your People
There will be key points during the process when you need to communicate information about the move to your people.
People are nervous about change. Gossip and rumour can cause chaos within your organisation, so work with your Team to manage expectations and present information about the project in order to gain “buy in” from your people.
Once you've moved in, celebrate and enjoy your new offices!
About Interactive Space
Interactive Space is a professional services company, which helps businesses relocate and reorganise their offices. They offer professional services including space analysis, building appraisal, design, cost control and project management.
Clients include: AB World Foods, Advent Underwriting, Allsop, Byrne & Partners, Catlin, Christie’s, Dare Digital, Dentsu, Fortis, Psion, RFIB, Shelter and 23red, to name a few.