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Tenant Improvement Strategies to Maximize Your TI Allowance

Is your tenant improvement allowance lower than you’d like it to be? If so, you’re not alone.

Tenant Improvement Allowance

One of the most common problems our commercial build-out clients experience is a TI allowance that’s insufficient for their needs. Here are three tips for maximizing the allowance you do have, to improve the quality of your tenant improvement project.

Avoid the Turnkey Build-Out Whenever Possible

A turnkey build-out, when the landlord or property manager oversees the completion of your tenant improvement project, is not the best idea under most circumstances. If your TI allowance is already lower than you believe you need to complete the project, it’s an even worse idea.

Unless you have some level of control, the landlord may cut corners during in the construction process. This in no way benefits you, and you may discover later that your space has problems you can’t correct after the fact – at least not without spending extra money and taking your office out-of-commission for weeks.

When negotiating your lease terms, insist on handling the tenant improvement work yourself, through the commercial general contractor of your choosing.

Use an Experienced Professional for Space Planning and Layout

Most business owners aren’t well-versed in space planning and layout. Even if you can sketch out a functional floorplan, the build-out cost may be higher than you anticipate. This is where a design professional or experienced space planner can make all the difference.

This isn’t to suggest that you must hire an architect or designer to complete this work. Your tenant improvement contractor may well offer this service as a part of the project.

Space planning in the commercial setting is both a science and an art. The flow of the space is important from a functional perspective but the layout will also determine – in large part – how much the construction will cost. Naturally, you want to maximize every square inch of your space, and a design professional will see to that.

Besides, a well-planned project will cut down on errors in the field, which cost you both money and time.

Spend Your Money Wisely on Finishes

Naturally, you want all of your tenant improvement finishes to be of the highest quality and design. But, if your budget is limited, you must pick your battles.

Light fixtures are one of the most important places to spend your TI allowance. For one thing, light fixtures are some of the least expensive – and most noticeable -- finishes. For another, adding energy-efficient fixtures can save you thousands of dollars in future energy costs.

Speaking of energy efficiency, look into any incentives or rebates that may be available from your municipality and utility company. Choosing items that will earn you a rebate slashes the cost of that line item immediately, and it saves you money on your power bill every month you’re in the space.

Finally, get creative with your finishes. Consider consulting with a commercial interior design professional for recommendations of where you can trim the budget. Install high-end finishes in common areas only, and use less costly options for back office areas. You can also save money on millwork and built-ins by using free-standing pieces for storage and organization.

Topp Remodeling and Construction serves commercial and TI clients throughout Northern Utah. We pride ourselves on our value engineering services, and we will work side-by-side with you to achieve your financial and schedule goals.

Contact us today to learn more about our services, and how we can help you maximize your tenant improvement allowance.