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Commercial Renovation: A Complete Guide for a Successful Construction

Every commercial renovation and successful construction project primarily embodies two objectives:

  1. improve the property’s aesthetic appeal and
  2. improve the property’s functionality.

However, there may be other reasons such as increasing comfort and safety, which may further lead to improving the performance of employees.

For instance, a commercial construction project involving remodeling or renovating a restaurant with a new design and facade can attract more customers. Similarly, a refurbished shopping arcade or office building can enthuse the people working inside to perform better and become more efficient.

Executing commercial renovations is both exciting and challenging.

Think of the number of permits to be obtained, building codes to adhere to, or most importantly, money to invest and commercial contractors to hire.

So, before you decide on a commercial renovation of your property and transforming it into a more efficient, productive, and visually-appealing structure, check out our Complete Guide for a Successful Commercial Renovation.

Note: The following article pertains mainly to traditionally incorporated businesses that are bound to State and Federal regulations. If you have a PMA (Private Membership Association), for example, you may not have to jump through all these “legal” hoops and costs.

1. How to plan and complete a commercial renovation project

The below-mentioned section can be a guide for you to determine whether the Los Angeles commercial contractor carrying out renovations is on track. The commercial construction project may include anything from an office building, a retail space, a restaurant or hotel, a theater, or some other type of commercial building that needs to undergo a commercial renovation.

2. Review the Certificate of Occupancy

First things first. Before renovating a commercial building in Southern California, check the existing Certificate of Occupancy or CO. This document will highlight the purposes for which the property can be used – a restaurant, a gymnasium, and an office, among others. You can find a copy of the CO online enumerating the purpose of the commercial property. This is of utmost importance as changing a CO can be a costly and time-consuming proposition. In some cases, it may be altogether impossible to change it.

For instance, you may want to transform the commercial property running a restaurant into a health club. But if the CO explicitly states that the property cannot be used as a health club, you can simply stop considering commercial remodeling then and there. The best way would be to undertake a project when the CO document fits your business model.

Again, for better understanding, if you want to expand the commercial property housing a restaurant by making way for additional seating, the CO should specify if such a thing is permissible. If not, the CO needs to be updated. These can be smaller fixes compared to changing the legal use of a commercial property.

3. Know about existing violations in the commercial building

It is possible that the commercial property you want to remodel or renovate hasn’t changed hands. Such a property may have scores of “building violations” that haven’t come to light so far. These violations could be someone having worked without a permit, not installed any equipment for fire safety (e.g. sprinkler system), or having incorrectly installed a rooftop AC, among others.

It is only until you try to get a permit for the building that such things are verified and discovered. And unless such violations are addressed, the construction project needs to be put on hold.

However, there is a way out of everything. For instance, most city councils have online databases where open violations in the commercial construction of such buildings can be searched. These may be about the building operating without the right CO or permit. In the case of a commercial lease, such violations are usually addressed by the landlord. Remember, it is not always possible to know about every violation on your own. The best way is to walk through the property or location with engineers, architects, or commercial construction companies. These professionals will have the keen eye to tell whether the property can be worked on and renovated.

4. Make a project budget estimate for your Commercial Renovation

Since money will drive the entire commercial contracting project, it is important to make an estimate of it. It will help you understand the limits you can go including the choice of materials to buy, features to include, and the commercial builders to hire. So, before setting out on estimating the budget, try to be realistic.

You may get a preliminary estimate from the commercial contractors you are going to interview before hiring. Since most commercial construction companies are experienced professionals, they will be able to give you a realistic ball park figure of the projected construction costs.

Remember, the initial project cost estimate can change depending on the new requirements, issues, and actual cost of materials. So, it is advisable to keep a separate fund to meet any contingency that may present itself while the commercial remodeling job is in progress.

5. Plan the project for a successful construction

A plan is a roadmap to follow while carrying out the project related activities. It also gives the timeline to be adhered to and the goals to be achieved.

However, before getting started with planning, set up your commercial renovation goals and share them with your commercial builder you have hired. This is important as the commercial contractor can visualize what you have in mind and prepare a matching project layout.

Inadequate planning leads to hassles, inconveniences, cost escalations, and even project failure. It is, therefore, important that any planning should have detailed drawings and construction documents of the commercial remodeling project drawn to the T. Commercial construction services are only as good as the construction documents and the execution planning.

6. Prepare the design plans

The next logical step is to prepare construction plans for the commercial renovation. The design documents will include the work specifications the type of material to be used, its texture, color and size and the quality tolerances for labor.

The architectural design of the plans should not only enhance the visual aesthetics of the building but also improve its functionality. The construction design documents are fundamentally required to develop accurate construction cost.

The cost of magnitude will provide the operating costs and ensure that construction budgets stay on target. To get a suitable construction design and details, you will need an architect or engineer and share with them your plan and renovation goals.

7. On compliance with regulations

There are specific rules and regulations guiding any commercial construction activity including commercial renovation, if you have a traditionally incorporated company (see our NOTE on top of the article). These need to be prepared for while developing the construction plans during the pre-construction phase.

So, with your commercial renovation project, you have to obtain a permit from the relevant authorities and comply with the rules and building codes. The authorities may carry out a site evaluation to identify if the project could lead to any negative environmental impact. High Class Builders commercial contractors in Los Angeles are the right professionals to obtain such permits and ensure the job is done in compliance with building codes and quality tolerances.

8. Procurement of materials

Once the permit is received and the design is ready, it is time to get on with the construction work. But wait, what about the materials? Get in touch with your commercial builder to source the materials and bring them to the site.

However, don’t be tempted by the idea of saving money purchasing cheap materials to cut costs in the short run, for they would likely need early repairs and entail high maintenance costs later. Choose an experienced commercial remodeling contractor who has a large network of subcontractors and suppliers to source quality materials.

Since the materials will be purchased in bulk, there is a likelihood of getting them at a lower unit price. This can bring down the cost per square foot while maintaining the quality standards.   


Any commercial contracting renovation project needs proper planning and the involvement of the right set of commercial contracting experts. It is important that you follow tips such as beginning with priority expenses thereby spending the resources wisely, looking for economic incentives in the form of tax cuts and local financing, and setting up a contingency fund.

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