Construction projects are an essential part of maintaining commercial properties. Units regularly need to be renovated to improve their appeal to potential tenants. At some locations, it may be possible to expand facilities to generate additional income. Each of these projects presents new challenges that building managers need to overcome.
Whether they are overseeing the redesign of a single unit or constructing a new office building, property managers need to ensure that the construction causes the least amount of disturbance to tenants and the surrounding community. Major projects can become a headache for everyone involved and failing to be proactive in managing complaints and potential issues can create new complications for building managers.
In addition to creating a more hazardous work environment, the noise, dust and other factors resulting from construction can negatively impact tenants’ abilities to conduct their daily business and could increase aggravation among them.
It is imperative that building managers keep occupants well informed of when various activities will take place. In addition, facilities managers need to ensure that contractors understand how their actions may impact others in the area. Implementing strategies to control sound and other negative factors could help building managers avoid problems and boost customer satisfaction.
General contractors Johnson & Jennings compiled a list of ways to mitigate tenant concerns during remodeling activities. Here are our five faves:
- Send out an advisory letter. Two to three weeks prior to commencement of construction, advise tenants of the upcoming remodeling project letter. Explain the project goal, timeline, construction phases and end benefit to tenants. Advise them if they must temporarily change their normal routines or traffic patterns, and when the situation will return to normal.
- Issue periodic updates. Particularly when the construction stage is lengthy, it’s good to issue updates on progress now and then, with a timetable for completion. Apprise them of anticipated construction delays or changes to the original plans.
- Keep the message upbeat. Whether it’s a lobby remodeling or an entire building facelift, give them something to look forward to by stressing the features and benefits. Help them get enthused about the end result.
- Address environmental concerns. With so much publicity on indoor air quality in recent years, it’s common for property managers to hear complaints from tenants about toxic fumes from paint, adhesives, carpet and other building materials. It’s prudent to address their concerns by explaining what precautions are being taken to lower the danger of toxins; for instance, the project’s subcontractors might be using latex or water-based paints and low VOC-emitting carpet, or the general contractor might be providing additional ventilation and sealing off certain construction areas.
- Involve the architect/space planner and contractor early on. The building owner and property manager are well served to involve the architect and/or space planner and the general contractor early in the planning phase of construction. This way, all parties involved will have a clear understanding of the project’s goals and the client’s expectations, which ultimately will help minimize field change orders and construction delays.