Measure Twice, Move Once – Ensure Design Team Understands Your Needs to Avoid Costly Mistakes

When performing a space plan with existing storage utility shelving, ensure the design team captures and compares both horizontal square footage as well as vertical measurements to the ceiling and sprinkler heads at both origin and destination.  Not doing so could lead to costly mistakes requiring additional office space that just might not be available after you sign the lease.

On a recent gut renovation project for a law firm, our client was relocating about 100 utility shelving units containing legal Redwells which are expandable file pocket folders that attorney’s use to file case notes.  With generous ceiling heights at the existing location, they were able to utilize every shelf including the very top which is often not used for storage.

During the site selection and test fit stage, the design team unwittingly missed that the ceiling heights at the proposed location were much lower – so much so that the redwells stored on the very top shelf ultimately did not meet fire code regulations which prohibit storage within 18” of the sprinkler head.  Unfortunately, our firm had not been engaged yet and this oversight went unnoticed well into the construction document phase.  As the tenant’s consultant engaged after lease signing, it was quickly realized that several thousand linear filing inches would have to be removed from the top shelf to conform to fire code and many additional utility shelves would have to be added to the space plan.

There was just one problem, there was no additional floor space in the lease.  Luckily, adjacent space was available and the tenant added over 600 square feet to their lease to accommodate the additional shelving units.

Owner’s or Tenant Rep Project Managers are fully versed, and immersed in understanding their client’s day-to-day business operations and how that translates to the fit-out of their new space.  The PM serves as the conduit to the tenant, real estate broker, landlord, design team and vendors similar to how the conductor of the orchestra keeps everyone in sync.  If you’re considering a relocation, engage your local project management firm before the lease is signed. You’ll avoid costly mistakes and ensure a smooth transition.

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