Tenant Improvements are often referred to as leasehold improvements or customized alterations a building owner makes to rental space as part of a lease agreement for a specific tenant. These include but are not limited to changes to the ceilings, flooring, walls and lighting. It is important to remember that these improvements vary by tenant and are not standard for any one industry.
The first step is to begin designing and planning the new space. An architect or engineer can assist with designing the new space and creating a set of plans that suits your tenant’s specific needs; whether it’s for storage, distribution or manufacturing. Be certain to pay specific attention to any ADA requirements that may be involved when remodeling office or warehouse space.
The next step is to select a qualified contractor and secure pricing. When you begin this process, there are some key items that should be taken into consideration:
- Is the Contractor Licensed?
- Do they carry insurance?
- Will they provide references upon request?
- Can you view examples of past or similar tenant improvement projects the contractor has recently completed?
Pricing can be a tricky item. Make certain you are comparing apples to apples for all submitted bids. It is also important to remember that until the plans are approved by the municipality or county through the permitting process, it may be difficult to secure a completely accurate final price, as often times, building requirements will dictate additional costs. Always plan for a little extra to cover these costs or additional fees that may not have been anticipated due to the permitting requirements.
Once you have selected a contractor and the construction begins, monitor it in regular intervals. Check in with the contractor daily, weekly or biweekly depending upon the magnitude of the project. Feel free to ask for pictures or interim permit inspections. Inquire about the progress and if any new developments may cause delays. Once the basic construction has been completed, the tenant and/or leasing agent will want to have a final walk thru with the contractor to create a punch list. This “punch list” is a list of minor items that need to be completed before the project is considered satisfactory.
Upon completion of the project, obtain a Certificate of Occupancy or CO. This proves that the work has been inspected and approved by all relevant local municipalities and building officials. Once you obtain the CO, the tenant is ready to move in and enjoy the new space!
Lastly, be certain to keep all construction documents in a safe place for future reference. This includes any drawings, plans, executed contracts, final permits and any surveys that may have been required. These documents will often be the starting point for any future remodels of the space.
M.A Construction Group is a full-service general contractor serving the Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach markets. We have worked on many tenant improvements projects for national retail customers and property management companies throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.