Office Relocation Timeframe
Are you planning an office relocation, but are worried that you've left preparation too late? Maybe you've already started, but it's taking longer than you thought, and you're worried it won't be completed in time? If so, you're not alone. Most office relocations take 12-18 months, yet many companies don’t allow enough time. Only 25% of construction projects are delivered within 10% of their original timeframe.
Time overruns can be very damaging to the success of your office relocation. They can create a lot of extra costs, such as short-term lease extensions and overtime costs. Such projects are also a lot more stressful to manage.
However, just because your project isn't on track, you're not powerless. We've been carrying fast-track office refurbishments and relocations for over 15 years. In this article, we'll share our 8 top tips to ensure your office relocation is completed as fast as possible. By the end, you'll know how you can eliminate, or at least minimise, time overruns for your office relocation.
If you don’t have much time for your office relocation, your instinct might be to rush through the planning phase. However, this may lead to an incorrect brief and a team that isn't aligned on the goals and constraints of your project. As a result, your office relocation could become even more expensive and difficult, as well as getting even further behind schedule.
To prevent this from happening, you need to create an accurate and comprehensive project plan. First, you need to define the 'why' of your project - exactly why you are moving office. You will also need a workspace strategy to ensure your offices are aligned with your company's processes and goals. Project objectives will distill your workspace strategy into key goals for your upcoming project. Key milestone dates you have to hit for your project to be a success will also need to be defined- for example, the end of your existing lease. While this level of planning may seem time-consuming, it will save a lot of time, money, and effort later on during the project.
Assemble the Right Project Team
Another mistake many companies make when trying to fast-track their office relocation is not building a full project team. If you are trying to complete your project as fast as possible, you do want a small team to facilitate fast decisions. However, without all the right people involved and the roles fulfilled, there is a risk of poor decisions, conflict, and a lack of authority.
You need to ensure all the key roles in your project team are fulfilled. There are 5 key roles in your internal team: project manager, decision maker, as well as finance, HR, and IT experts. To learn more about each role and why they are so important, read Who Do I Need to Involve in My Office Fit Out? You will also need to consider external partners, such as estate agents, solicitors, landlords, local authorities, and your design & build company.
A lack of communication in construction projects is very common - often as a result of the above factors not being done well. As a result, there is a lack of alignment, leading to slower and less effective decision-making. This increases the risk of cost overruns as well as making the project take even longer. The process also becomes a lot more stressful to manage.
To avoid this situation, you need a clear and agreed-upon communication structure. As an internal team, you need to be clear about who is responsible for what. You also need to be aligned around what communication channels you will use, and how much you will communicate. A regular cadence of meetings and updates will ensure everyone is kept up to date, misunderstandings are minimised, and good decisions are made as fast as possible.
To further speed up your project, you may want to change your procurement process. Many project procurement methods are unnecessarily complex and bureaucratic, which leads to delays and misunderstandings. Formal tenders require a lot of time and work to manage, which may lead to time overruns. Protracted legal negotiations can also cause unnecessary delays.
A design & build process is often the quickest way to fit out your new office during your office relocation. With the design & build process, one company supports you through the entire process, from design to procurement to delivery. At Zentura, we take things even further with our 4D approach. We assist our clients with everything from building the brief to aftercare. Typically speaking, the more contractors and parties you involve in your project, the longer it will take.
Select Suitable Contractors
If you're looking to fast-track your office relocation, then you need to work with contractors who are fast-track experts. Most contractors and subcontractors have become conditioned to compete on cost, not time. However, given the costs caused by time overruns, it may well be worth working with a more expensive contractor to ensure faster delivery.
To ensure you choose a contractor with the ability to complete your relocation as fast as possible, you need to drill into their process. Especially what is involved, how they procure materials, and how they work with contractors. You need to be confident that they can deliver on the project programme they put together, and that they aren’t being unrealistically ambitious. You should also ask them about previous fast-track office relocations they have worked on, and speak to the clients of those projects.
Adapt Your Design
If you're still in the early stages of your office relocation, then you will be able to adapt your office design to speed up the delivery. This includes both the layout and the specification. If you have a very complex design with a lot of partitioning and/or bespoke design features, then your project will inevitably take longer, which is important to avoid.
To make your project as fast as possible to deliver, you need to simplify the entire design. Keeping the layout as open-plan as possible will reduce the time required for partitioning. It will also reduce the timeline for all the accompanying HVAC and electrical work. Complicated bespoke design features or furniture should also be avoided. These items will typically have a long lead time, leading to project delays.
Plan for Lead Times
Long lead times are a very common problem in construction projects. A lot of furniture and equipment is bespoke or made to order, and have lead times of weeks. In addition, volatile supply chains can mean even commodities can occasionally have lead times of 3 months or more. Without careful planning, your project could be delayed by weeks or even months as you wait for materials. Even worse, delays early on can lead to your entire project running behind schedule.
To avoid this, you need to work with your design & build company to minimise the specification of long lead-time items. You should then review the programme with them to identify any long lead-time items that need to be ordered earlier than the rest. By doing this, you can minimise any delays caused by supply chain issues.
Keep Your Fit Out Contractor Accountable
One of the most common fears and frustrations we uncover when speaking to companies about their fast-track office relocations is the lack of accountability. Many fear that as soon as they have signed the contract, they are in the dark until the project is delivered. As a result of poor communication and accountability, they don’t know if the project is on track or not until there are major issues.
You can avoid this situation by working with your design & build company before you sign the contract to establish a clear accountability process. This should include regular meetings and site progress reports so that you know exactly what is going on on-site. You can then compare this to the original programme to ensure the project is on track and if so, you can take corrective action much sooner. To learn more, read this article.
Fast-Tracking Your Office Move
If your office relocation takes too long, there could be serious consequences for your company. You may have to sign a short-term lease extension on your existing space, or even move into a temporary office. You will likely incur increased costs as a result of trying to speed up project delivery. Even worse, rushing to complete the project increases the risk of serious mistakes. A late project is also very stressful to deliver.
However, just because you're running behind on your office move, you're not powerless to solve the situation. By implementing these tips, you can ensure that your relocation is completed as fast as possible and that any further delays are avoided. As a result, your project will be as successful as possible.
To learn more about planning for your office move, download the office relocation guide. It's an all-in-one ebook including costs, checklists, timeframes, explanations and breakdowns,. You'll learn everything that goes into an office relocation, what it costs, and how long it will take. Download your office relocation guide here.