commercial office construction

I really want to share my opinion on how to best design a commercial rental building. After working on many different buildings over the years and studying the approach of many different tenants and landlords I have observed both good an bad strategy. There is always a balance of what you want and the cost of construction along with maintenance costs. But I think there is a simple formula for getting the best bang for your buck. I’m specifically focusing on warehouses or other large commerical tilt up, Steel or CMU buildings.
Style – Image – Branding
Everyone wants to create a great representation of their business through the architecture and to maybe even a greater degree the strict maintenance of their property which displays a full circle of professionalism. However this should be done very strategically both in location and styling.
On the exterior this should be done through landscape. You want something clean and fresh yet economical to maintain. Which is why you often see so many commercial building surrounded by grass. This is a boring look with medium maintenance. Most municipalities though are now allowing the fusion of southwestern and contemporary landscape design. Flat planes of grass are replaced by bark trimmed with river rocks. Grass may be used in between paving stones or in small areas. Drought tolerant plants which require little if any maintenance are neatly arranged in wide symmetrical  patterns. In this way you end up with a colorful unique landscape which is very easy to maintain.
The second part of the exterior is the entry itself. If any money is to be spent it must be done right outside the front door. It should be a modern architectural feature. There are a few ideas that come to mind but every building is different. Things that should be avoided are ponds or artwork. These never age well or there is tons of maintenance. I have seen some great “water effects” but the key is that the water flows away afterward and isn’t hanging around in a tepid pool. When considering a feature for the front of the building think big because it has to define the entire building, think contrast because it must stand out as interesting and unique and also think timeless because its going to be there for a long time. Flag stone, stainless steel and bright elastic stucco come to mind.
Now on the interior you will only be focusing on the lobby and conference room. If the lobby and the conference room aren’t right next to each other you have a problem. This is where you spend all the interior money. It’s fairly obvious what works in a lobby. High ceilings, large clear windows and polished floors. Don’t build anything into the lobby per se, because unlike the exterior it can’t be power washed when things look a little shabby. The conference room and restroom should be directly connected to the lobby. This way you can create the seamless image of perfection for your visitors.
Function. This article is about function of the actual usage area. Most tenants who will come to your building will be impressed with your nice modern and low maintenance interior. But that is only secondary in their list of wants.
They need a building that will FUNCTION for their intended use. No I can only speak in generalities without the specifics but hopefully you can begin to understand my logic.
If you are leasing warehouse the most important things are:
High security exterior doors
Skylights and high efficiency lighting
Truck dock access
Epoxy warehouse floor
If you are leasing office consider: 
Fresh paint and carpet
Motion sensor lights and  timers ( common with T24 requirments)
Modular or easy rework of layout
So many tenants look to warehouses with newly remodeled bathroom which are very nice but they choose another building down the street because of high security doors. Installing a steel mezzanine to create a permanent two story structure over the main office area is expensive but it allows for modular construction which will attract tenants and reduce const down the road.
Reducing costs and getting more from your leased property is ultimately your goal and I see so many landlords who take the easy route today and lose money on the back end later. A long term plan will reduce maintenance costs, attract better tenants and hold more value thereby creating a more valuable capital asset over the long term.
If you are interested in any of these ideas please feel free to call our office for some design an consultation work anytime.

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