Now is a great time to renovate your commercial property. By changing up the landscape, you can increase functionality, making the space more efficient and productive for you and your staff, and creating a comfortable working environment can foster a more positive work culture, likely improving overall performance. As you dive into the commercial renovation process, you will quickly discover renovating a commercial building involves many elements and can vary based on a number of factors.

In hopes of achieving a successful project, staying organized, having a well thought out plan, and carefully executing each step from beginning to end is critical. The contractors specializing in commercial remodelling at NICKS Developments have created the top guide outlining the phases and steps to commercial renovation, and hopefully help lead to your success of creating your ultimate commercial space.

Planning Stage

The process of renovation for a commercial space begins with a planning stage where you will carefully detail the specificities of your project, create a budget, and begin the hiring process.

Commercial Renovations by Nicks Developments Team

Step 1: Assess the Building and Surrounding Neighbourhood

By taking the time to give the building a thorough walk-through, you will get a better feel for the room, you will have the opportunity to note any obvious issues, and you will learn more about the neighbourhood. This is also a great time to examine your building and consider how your changes might impact the look and feel of the surrounding neighbourhood.

During this time, it is also beneficial to get up to date on your city’s building codes because if a lot of work is required to get a structure up to code, the costs can be hefty. Therefore, before you create a budget, you’ll want to know about any code violations first.

Step 2: Create a Budget

Once you have a clear understanding and feel for your commercial space and how you want to go about renovating, creating a budget is next on the to-do list. When devising your budget, you should account for employee wages, the cost of materials, the projected timeline, and any other factors that could affect the overall cost.

To minimize the risk of spending more than projected and keeping track of multiple moving parts, it is crucial to make the budget as detailed as possible. One way of achieving this is to do a thorough cost analysis and getting detailed quotes from contractors and designers.

Step 3: Hire a Contractor

When starting the hiring process, it’s in your best interest to hire a commercial remodelling contractor, like the tradespeople at NICKS Developments, rather than sticking with a general contractor. A commercial renovation contractor specializes in commercial construction, so they are more likely to have a better understanding of how to grasp your vision and successfully execute your project.

It’s important you choose the right contractors because they’re responsible for everything from obtaining building permits to overseeing supply purchases. To help you hire the best commercial contractor for you, look for these important qualities:

Is licensed and insured
Offers realistic cost estimates
Has experience with your type of project
Has reputable references and a perfect work record
Has a team large enough to complete the project

Pre-construction Phase

Once the planning phase is complete after assessing the building, creating a budget, and hiring a contractor, you can move into the pre-construction phase where you will create a design, finalize contracts, and obtain materials and equipment needed for your project.

Step 4: Create a Conceptual and Schematic Design

To help guide you through the rest of the commercial remodeling project, create a detailed design by establishing a conceptual design and a schematic design. A conceptual design allows you to be creative without stressing over a budget. When creating a conceptual design, you will get a better understanding of the architect’s capabilities by allowing them to work freely and come up with the most efficient, appealing design possible to help reveal the building’s full potential.

A schematic design focuses on specific costs and amenities for the renovation project. Here, you might see changes that you did not originally anticipate, and you will likely have to scale down some of your previous ideas to fit your budget. Fortunately, a skilled architect, such as one from NICKS Developments, can help you create a design that is true to your vision while staying within budget.

Designer working on new custom home

Step 5: Finalize Contracts

Before you sign on the dotted line, you should carefully review, ensuring all roles, dates, payment terms, and warranties are correct and clear before finalizing in ink all your contracts.

Step 6: Procure Materials and Equipment

Obtaining building materials and the proper equipment can be a process that poses some challenges. Thankfully, your contractor will coordinate with equipment rental companies and suppliers to ensure the project stays within your financial boundaries.

Once your materials and equipment are in alignment, review your contracts and purchase orders one last time to make sure they match previously agreed-upon prices. If you do notice any discrepancies, now is the time to address them before beginning construction.

Construction Phase

As construction takes off, excitement builds seeing the project begin to take shape. However, this phase involves a lot more behind the scenes than simply putting pieces together.

Step 7: Engage with Current Tenants

Current tenants may find it difficult to deal with ongoing construction and they will be by no means shy about voicing their displeasure during your renovation project. Common complaints regarding the building’s restricted access, the loud equipment, and the unsightly scene of the construction project itself will be expressed.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to make tenants aware of the project ahead of time to help minimize their discomfort, and also provide them with updates phase by phase.

Step 8: Undergo and Pass Inspections

Throughout the renovation process, the building will need to undergo multiple inspections to ensure that it meets all building codes and safety requirements. During the construction process, the foundation, plumbing system, and electricity will all need to pass individual inspections. Before moving on to the next stage, please address any errors or issues if they are present at this time.

Our commercial building renovation inspection checklist includes:

  • Building’s Documentation
  • Roofing
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical System
  • Structural Integrity
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling
  • Safety Systems

Step 9: Reference the Project Punch List

This list is produced toward the end of the construction stage, consisting of any unfinished work. Referencing these notes can help identify areas that still need some improvements.

The contractor will walk through and execute your punch list, fine-tuning any areas in need of extra attention.

Post-construction Phase

The final phase in this guide to commercial building remodeling involves the fewest steps yet, is equally as important as the previous three phases. The building must undergo final inspections and receive documentation to confirm that it is ready to open and is safe during the post-construction phase.

Step 10: Acquire a Certificate of Substantial Completion

You will need to acquire a certificate of substantial completion once construction is complete, and the space is up to code. This is signed verification allowing the contractor to collect any final payments, and for the tenant to occupy the space for its intended use.

One last note about this certificate is that it can be issued before all the final details are complete. It would just need to specify who is responsible for any unfinished work.

Step 11: Pass a Final Inspection

The building will need to pass one last inspection before you can unveil the final product. Construction can conclude after the final inspection is complete, assuming you have followed all the required regulations and rules outlined in the previous steps.


Despite hearing about the trials and tribulations that are associated with a commercial renovation project, it can be very rewarding and productive with the right careful preparation and a detailed checklist to simplify the process. As long as you take your time to be thorough and see each step through, your commercial space, whether it’d be a new storefront or office renovation, will be ready to go in no time, new and improved for you to enjoy.

We hope this guide helped you today and when you are ready to remodel your commercial space, contact the expert commercial remodeling company, NICKS Developments!