Thursday, November 28, 2013
An office refurbishment of any size is an undertaking that needs careful management. You’ll be employing teams of contractors with a range of specialities, from carpenters and joiners to electricians, plumbers and painters and decorators. To help you understand how your office refurbishment breaks down, I’ve created a simple crib sheet.
Your internal project manager
It’s easy to forget that the primary project manager in your office refurbishment comes from within. You should appoint a single person to control all aspects of the project internally: from communication progress and changes to the management, to liaising between departments and the teams of contractors you have employed. Don’t give in to the temptation to have multiple internal project managers: you won’t gain anything by bringing too many cooks to the broth.
Your external project manager
There should be one external project manager, whose role is the mirror image of your internal project manager’s. The external project manager is usually employed by the overall contractor, and is responsible for liaising between the various trades and suppliers, and for communicating your vision to all the subcontractors. Again, it’s a mistake to get involved with multiple contract project managers: insist on one to keep information flowing smoothly.
Your refurbishment project has a number of auxiliary requirements, which must be in place in order for the building work to go ahead – but which may not have anything directly to do with the external project manager. These include planning permission, landlord permission and a number of licensing options. Your internal project manager needs to check whether your project requires a special waste disposal licence (for example), and whether there are any specific energy legislation requirements that dictate what kinds of systems can be put in place during the refurbishment.
Modern businesses are required by the government to pay a higher rate for energy consumption over preset levels. In order to ensure that businesses comply with current and future energy legislation, it may be necessary to do an energy audit of your proposed refurbishment at the planning stage. The audit will require that you install certain energy measures as part of your refit – these measures will be those currently dictated by the law as standard for new commercial and industrial builds. Some industries are exempt from energy legislation because of the nature of their business, so it’s vital that you find out exactly where your company stands before you commit to a specific set of development plans.
Energy saving measures
If you are required to put energy saving measures in place, it is likely that key building services will be examined to see how much power they use. Consider your heating and ventilation systems. By replacing the heat source in your building with a more energy efficient alternative, or zoning your heating system, you will be able to lower and control the level of energy you use: and by incorporating natural ventilation wherever possible, you reduce the need for powered air control. You can see more about controlled ventilation by following the link.
The Author is an energy efficiency consultant, who has worked on a number of large scale BREEAM projects. His online articles are published by a number of highly respected energy efficiency and construction web pages, and his blog posts attract an average daily audience of half a million unique hits.