How to Find Space for Your Business

Planning an Office Move: Double-, Triple-, Quadruple-Check Your Plans

By  David Haug

Check Your Plans

Check Your Plans

Time to check your plans, it’s Week 13. Assuming your landlord green-lighted the plans for your new space that you submitted in Week 9, your project is about to start barreling toward the finish line. Rather than wait for something to go wrong, this is the week to pause and check your plans a few more times.

Renovation Plans

First of all, you will need to begin applying for permits soon. Before you do that, make sure everyone involved — including you! — has a crystal-clear understanding of what will happen and when. Go over all the aspects involved in your renovation: What walls are being taken down, where are new walls going up? How wide must any new doorways be? What electrical work must be done? Where are new lights going? Do you know the number and placement of electrical outlets? Where are new light switches going? What plumbing work must be done? Have you selected the type, quality, and color of flooring? What part of the project is happening first, what is last, and what’s happening in the middle?

If you haven’t looked at what municipal code requires for wheelchair accessibility, business parking, number of bathrooms, etc., now is the time to check that. If something in your plan must be altered to meet municipal code, it’s better to find that out before you begin construction than later, when your renovation is almost finished.


This is also the time to figure out what permits you will need and how much time the permit process requires. A quick Google search should help you figure out what governmental department oversees the construction permits you need. For Madison, the Development Services Center has a handy list here.


You should also take some time this week to go over the budget again. Make sure financing is in place and check that everyone understands how much money is being spent. Will some contractors need 50 percent up front and the rest at the end of the project? Will others need 20 percent at the beginning, 30 percent halfway through and 50 percent at the end? In many cases, there are different schedules for different providers. Will you have to provide any of the fixtures (such as specific lighting or faucets)? Check that your lender is prepared to release funds on the schedule you need them to.


Finally, this is the week to make sure you and your landlord are absolutely clear on who is paying for which parts of the project. You don’t want to reach the end of the renovation and discover that your landlord is not actually planning on paying for the building’s new HVAC system. It is a good standard of practice to have all of the furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE) itemized and sorted based on who is responsible to pay for what.

We Can Help!

Especially relevant, if you haven’t downloaded it yet, you can get our Lease Timeline Checklist to help you plan your new office. This is the type of framework we use for all our clients at Lighthouse CRE. We will provide a customized version for you based on your specific needs in retail, office, or industrial.  We help our clients find the best spaces to lease and also the best properties to purchase.

About Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate

Did you know Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate offers commercial real estate agent matchmaking services? If you have a commercial real estate agent need, visit Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate and request a free initial consultation. We will answer any questions you could possibly have about commercial real estate. Once we understand your commercial real estate needs, we’ll provide you with the guidance you need to choose the top commercial real estate agent for your needs. Contact Lighthouse Commercial Real Estate today!

David Haug

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About the Author

David Haug is a Madison WI commercial real estate broker. He is passionate about helping clients, customers, and friends succeed in finding property, selling and leasing property, and investing in real estate. He is also a raging Badger fan. #OnWisconsin Baby!
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