There are extra elements to consider when planning to renovate or add on to a commercial facility as opposed to building from the ground up. In addition to integrating existing structural features, utilities, technologies, and more, you’ll also need to figure out how your workforce can remain productive and maintain business operations despite inevitable disruptions to normal workflows and routines.
Depending on the type of organization, such as a hospital or jail facility, you may even need to consider additional safety and security precautions. Maintaining normal business operations during construction can be a challenge, but careful planning and collaboration with your construction manager can help minimize disruptions.
Participate in Pre-Construction Meetings
Your construction manager’s responsibilities go beyond managing the construction team and extend to managing the project owner’s needs and expectations. Comprehensive pre-construction meetings between the client, contractors, architect, and other stakeholders can help establish parameters and timelines before construction crews begin working on the jobsite. Advance communication regarding logistics and the potential timing of disruptions can help project owners prepare their entire organization and ensure there are no surprises.
Plan Construction in Phases
For building projects that start from the ground up, commercial contractors typically have the freedom to work in multiple areas of the facility until move-in day. For renovations or building additions, however, they are accustomed to working in phases or stages to accommodate a company’s ongoing operations.
As part of the pre-construction planning process, confirm where work will be contained during various phases of construction and for how long. Start by prioritizing stages of construction that impact your most critical work areas first to minimize their impact.
Create Construction Zones
Certain areas of your business will likely need to be sealed off as work progresses to minimize noise and maintain air quality. Healthcare facilities in particular require extra measures to ensure infection control, including dust suppression, proper ventilation, and the use of negative pressure zones. Some facilities also require security clearances for workers.
Construction zones don’t only apply to a building’s interior. Work with your construction manager to identify where contractors will access the building and where dumpsters, parking, equipment, deliveries, storage, and staging will be located. Maintaining order and a professional presence inside and out are crucial elements of a successful build.
Create Temporary Workspaces
Depending on the type of construction and its duration, some workers may need to be temporarily displaced to another part of the building. Coordinating these measures with all those impacted is critical, and involving your technology team in the planning process will help ensure a smooth transition. You may also need to consider new employee entrances, parking areas, and wayfinding signage to help direct staff and others where they need to go.
Agree to a Schedule
Contractors typically work a traditional schedule, but you may be able to negotiate with them to work during evenings, early mornings, or other times outside your normal business hours. These arrangements could apply only to a certain phase of construction that impacts critical areas. Contractors will likely charge more to work during non-traditional work hours, so weigh the extra expense against the costs of potential reduced productivity or lost revenue due to disruptions or temporary closures. Of course, some organizations work around the clock, meaning contractors will inevitably be present when employees are working.
Employees and patrons should look forward to their new surroundings, but getting there shouldn’t be a logistical nightmare. While some disruptions are inevitable, proper planning, defined expectations, and good communication throughout the process can help everyone stay positive and foster anticipation for the future.
Working with an experienced construction manager and general contractor is the key to minimizing disruption to your organization. At The Samuels Group, we’re dedicated to making the entire construction process an enjoyable experience for you and your employees. Contact us today to explore your building project and how our team can work alongside yours.