Chapter 2: Interior Renovation

Does your next big renovation involve heavy interior renovations? Maybe you plan on knocking down a few walls and rearranging your floor plan. Maybe you’re doing the opposite and putting up a few new walls. Or maybe your plans are less drastic, and you just want to refresh a single room. Whatever your plans are, it can be difficult to know where to start and what things to think about.

Robin Amato from Real Estate III Commercial Properties gave this list of several items that often have a higher perceived value to a buyer: HVAC efficient units, flooring, light fixtures, bathrooms with shower, open spaces, coffee bars, and access to food.

Let us walk you through the process.

Before Interior Renovation

Before you tear out your first fixture, knock down your first wall or do anything of the kind, it’s important to have a clear picture of where your renovations are going and what is going to be involved.

Here are a few major points to hit during your planning phase.

1. Property Codes

Property owners can’t do whatever they like with their buildings, and there’s a good reason for this. Buildings need to be safe. People need to enter buildings without fear the roof might collapse on them, or the plumbing spreads disease. Property codes exist to help us all be confident in building safety.

While every building and location will be different, a few of the regulations you might run into might involve parking, plumbing, electrical work and more. Even if you’re tempted to think these codes are irrelevant or don’t “really” matter, don’t be fooled. It’s always better to take time to follow the rules. They’re in place for everyone’s safety, and it’s not worth the risk of someone getting hurt.

If you don’t follow these regulations, the consequences could be difficult. Even if someone isn’t injured, you could face expensive fines or other punitive measures.

To help your renovations go smoothly, educate yourself on any relevant property codes, and spend some time thinking about how you’ll need to incorporate these into your planned improvements.

2. Design Plans

Now is the time to hammer down the details of the changes you plan to make. Think about the goals of your renovations, and how you can achieve them. What specific parts of your interior will you deal with? What order do different pieces of the project need to be completed in? For instance, you can’t paint until the drywall is up, and the drywall can’t go up until the electrical is complete. Collaborate with others and work together until you feel you have a firm grasp on these details.

3. Create an Interior Renovation Timeline

Now that you have all the details worked out, you can make a firmer timeline. Communicate openly with all engineers and contractors involved and use their input to help you create a realistic timeline that still allows plenty of room for adjustments and setbacks. Remember that it’s always better to have too much time than not enough.

Renovations Differ Based on Property Type

Depending on what type of building you own or manage and are looking to renovate, you’re likely to have different priorities. If you’re not entirely certain which facets of your building perhaps deserve the most attention, it’s worth looking at what’s common with other buildings like yours. These are often the conventions that offer the highest property renovation value, in terms of return on investment.

Let’s look at a few of the common points of interest and attention within different categories of buildings.

1. Commercial Buildings

When it comes to commercial buildings, you’ll often find the focus is based on looks. Functionality is essential as well, but a big part of business is getting customers to come in and look around.

Let’s look at some specific types of commercial buildings and their priorities.

Office Buildings

Even though a broad range of business types use office spaces, they all have some common needs.

  • Reception areas
  • Common work areas
  • Functional office spaces
  • Break rooms


Retail Buildings

Retail buildings include stores and restaurants, so their needs can vary widely. In both cases, however, tenants need a space that showcases their brand and speaks to their customers.

  • Space for merchandise or seating
  • Inviting entrance
  • Storage space in the back
  • Customer service area


2. Apartment Communities

Apartment communities have different concerns on their mind. They’re focused on providing ample space for residents, including both storage and living space, as well as all the latest amenities. Interior design is important down to the smallest detail.

  • Common areas
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Flooring


3. Hospitals and Clinics

These spaces need to accommodate many people, often around the clock. Priorities here are often building codes, safety measures and accessibility. Interior design is less critical, as these needs to functional above all else.

Important points here include:

  • Lots of rooms for individual patients
  • Waiting rooms
  • Office spaces
  • Restrooms
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