Try These Ideas for Renovating a Commercial Building

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Tons of articles offer advice on renovating your home, but few address the topic of renovating a commercial building. In this short guide, we’ll offer ideas for doing just that since offices and retail locations need updates, too. The scale of renovating a commercial complex differs from that of a residence, but it has a few things in common, such as upgrading the insulation.

When renovating a commercial building, the importance of hiring professional contractors increases because the building codes become more strict. Although this article considers the top eight renovation projects for a commercial building, many others exist. Check your business’s suggestion or idea box because your shoppers, clients, employees, etc. probably entered the need or desired building change already.


Both homes and businesses need well-insulated ceilings, walls, and floors. The same spray foam attic insulation that works well in homes also provides commercial buildings with an easily added insulation option that does not require removing wallboard. The insulation installers can spray it in from the attic downward into the walls.

When renovating a commercial building, consider the options that require the least amount of tear down to make improvements. Finding options like the blown-in insulation reduces the time a business needs to close to make improvements to its building. Conversely, choosing roll insulation requires the removal of drywall to place it, then installation of new drywall.

Loading Docks

Industrial businesses and manufacturing companies need to upgrade their inventory delivery areas.
This might include loading dock repair or a full renovation of the loading docks and inventory intake and storage areas. When renovating a commercial building, consider the building design changes that would result in improved business processes. A renovation provides the opportunity to update an area like the loading docks to function more efficiently.

Consider re-designing the loading docks for smart technology use. Create an area designed for the insertion of or attachment of sensors for tracking the shipment. If your commercial or industrial building also includes an assembly area, redesign the area just inside the loading docks to feature this assembly area.

HVAC Systems

A renovation affords the ideal time for updating the commercial HVAC system in the building. Older systems require more frequent maintenance and may break down more often. Replacing an older HVAC system or installing a central heat and air conditioning system for the first time can reduce utility costs and end up costing less than constantly repairing a worn system.

Renovating a commercial building’s HVAC requires a professional HVAC installation and repair firm that specializes in commercial and industrial installations. It won’t work to use the same heat and AC repair company as for your home. The types of systems and their designs differ, as do the building code requirements.

Asbestos Removal

While renovating a commercial building, your contractor might discover that the building contains asbestos. Instead of receiving a nasty surprise, start your renovation project with an asbestos inspection if your building’s construction date occurred before the 1980s.

Until the 1970s, construction crews used asbestos in insulation and ceiling tiles. Finding this dangerous material in your building requires professional asbestos abatement contractors to remove it. You won’t be able to go ahead with other construction or renovation projects until the removal of the asbestos and completion of another inspection. Contractors know the medical dangers presented by this material and won’t accept jobs until it has been professionally abated.


Has the cost of elevator maintenance got you down? As elevators age, they require greater care. When renovating a commercial building, consider replacing older elevators. Elevator cab interiors need updating about every 15 years, while shaft doors typically last about 20 to 30 years.

The mechanical parts of an elevator vary in how long they last. Electrical switchgear lasts up to 50 years, but wiring requires updating by 30 years. Hoist rails last approximately 25 years, but elevator call stations need replacing at 15 years of age. Only elevator shaftways last in perpetuity.

If the elevators in your building reached the age of 20 years, they probably need modernizing or replacing. Contact an elevator manufacturing firm that also provides installation. Consider updating the design used in the building during the renovation to change to glass door lifts, mirrored elevators, or a retro design that hearkens back to the 1920s Art Deco style.


While renovating a commercial building, consider replacing the flooring. No area goes through more wear and tear than a floor. In a commercial building, floors develop scuff marks, and pieces of tile chip, linoleum, or vinyl tiles lose adhesive and cease to adhere to the concrete floor below.

Today, renovating a commercial building offers many more flooring options than in the past. Ceramic, glass, and stone tiles provide much sturdier wearing materials. Various sealants and epoxy can transform a concrete subfloor into a gleaming reflective surface that appears expensive when it costs little.

Vinyl and PVC flooring tiles take on many designs. These tiles can look like marble, wood, or mosaics. Laminate flooring looks like wood but provides an easy-to-install option that provides the appearance of wood with the maintenance of tile.


Commercial buildings encompass many uses from office spaces to retail stalls. Let’s consider how to offer the best office spaces first. Business has undergone many management innovations during the past 100 years. Creating offices that embrace the latest innovations provides each business with all of the options that create an efficient workspace.

Through the improvements created by using Six Sigma, lean management, and The Toyota Way, among other improvement process methods, managers realized that each individual works best in a different way. By offering an office design that lets each individual work in their most efficient way, companies increase efficiency, productivity, and employee happiness and satisfaction. Today’s office space offers closed-door, assigned offices to its C-level and management staff, open-assignment offices to mid-level staff who sometimes need to shut a door and concentrate on their project at hand, open office areas for those who think best when bouncing ideas off of others, and conference rooms for formal meetings that include audio and video equipment for online conferences.

Management considers the work habits and productivity needs of each individual when creating teams. One individual cannot require another who works best in private to use the open areas or conference. By protecting the productivity of each team member, the companies practicing these methods have skyrocketed their productivity and created a positive work culture that attracts top talent and keeps them.

Retail Spaces

Commercial buildings that house retail stalls and store spaces need to offer a different modern configuration. Retail spaces today need wide aisles that offer plenty of space for wheelchairs or motorized chairs to navigate aisles and racks. Wider entry doors also help invite all shoppers, plus they offer space to either side for metal detectors. The interior front foyer or walkway of each shop should provide a spot for a greeter to stand or sit.

Modern retail operations need far more electrical outlets than those of the 1980s or 1990s. In the past 20 years, the process of working in the cloud transformed all businesses, including retail. Install new electrical outlets that include USB plugs. Wire each retail space for high-speed Internet access.

Employee Break Room

Since every U.S. full-time hourly employee legally gets two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute lunch, providing them a nice place to that those breaks shows what a great boss you are and that you respect your employees. Create one room set aside for employees only with a wide door that can accommodate a wheelchair passing through it and a door that locks. Install spring flooring, such as that used in kitchens, cheery wallpaper, and provide a microwave, toaster oven, refrigerator, and coffee/tea maker at a minimum.

Employee Toilets

Provide at least two employee-only toilets for your employees. In small offices, these bathrooms may only consist of one toilet, so consider making these unisex. Provide a working lock on each bathroom door.

With larger businesses that employ many people, the bathrooms should include multiple toilet stalls with doors that shut and lock. Consider making one of these for males and one for females although this may seem old-fashioned. It provides comfort for the majority of individuals and if the need ever arises, install a single toilet in a standalone bathroom by converting a closet or storage room to a toilet. Use subway tile or other tough, but aesthetically pleasing, tile to cover the walls and hearty vinyl or ceramic tile on the floors, cutting in ample floor drains to ensure the room remains clean.

Parking Lots

Don’t ignore the exterior of your business when renovating a commercial building. Hire an asphalt contractor to resurface the parking lot of your building. A pristine parking lot adds to the curb appeal of your business and can attract new customers by creating a new look for your commercial property.

Maybe asphalt doesn’t appeal to you. Renovation time offers an ideal time for an update to the exterior of the commercial space, so consider stone, pebble, or seashell-infused cement for the parking lot surface. Each additive increases the attractiveness of the parking lot and the property’s curb appeal.

Add green spaces between parking rows and install street lamps in each. Fence the parking lot and provide an electronic gate to increase security. This raises your property in the esteem of employees and clients since it keeps their vehicles safer.


Renovating a commercial building also means upgrading its exterior landscape. A landscape architect can help design an overall building and grounds plan that integrates the natural and built environments. Consider adding garden beds to the green spaces separating parking rows.

Once the landscape architect creates the landscape plan, hire contractors to implement it. These might include an arborist, landscape curb edging companies, and a lawn and landscaping firm. Some companies provide all of the staff needed to accomplish a landscape overhaul, but when renovating a commercial building, you may need to hire more than one specialty contractor for the landscape work.

Garden beds look and grow best when the soil receives mulch coverage. When contacting a landscaping firm, inquire about mulch for sale. Some firms collect local compost and combine what’s collected to create composted mulch for their clients. This aids plant growth more than pine needles or bark shavings.

Outdoor Seating

Even an office building benefits from installing a patio with tables, chairs, and umbrellas. Offering employees and clients a place to sit and meet outdoors creates a more enjoyable workplace. This area also helps reduce the urban heat island effect, especially when you landscape it with a few well-placed trees.

Benches also offer a place of respite and a spot for those who still smoke to enjoy a cigarette, or cigar, or to vape away from the building entrances. You can make their breaks more enjoyable and refreshing by providing a comfortable place to sit while they smoke. Also, install attractive ashtrays beside each bench to help keep the landscape clean and orderly.


Finally, add hardscapes, such as sidewalks, walking paths, and driveways to make navigating the area simpler. Add retaining walls, fences, fountains, etc. to add to the outdoor aesthetic. Hardscapes can contain cement additives like seashells, river stones, pebbles, or other small objects that increase the visual interest of the hardscape.

Renovating Your Commercial Building

Whether you own a commercial building used for office spaces or retail stalls, renovating it can increase customer satisfaction and attract new renters. Start with essential inspections, such as those for asbestos, electrical, and plumbing to identify high-priority essential needs. After making those utility-related updates, consider what clients and employees have requested or commented on through the years.

Your building probably won’t need every update. Pick those that apply and take them one at a time, completing one renovation item at a time. Focus on what would most improve your business’s efficiency, productivity, and employee well-being. Providing a pleasing aesthetic goes a long way towards attracting more customers and keeping them.

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