Top 10 Tips: Assessing an office move

Paul Scourfield, partner at building consultancy Powell Williams’ Leeds office, on deciding whether to move or refurbish business premises.

Paul Scourfield, partner at Powell Williams

1. Businesses are forever changing. Staff numbers go up and down, their requirements evolve, technology is constantly being updated, customer expectations change. Identify priorities, both now and looking ahead.

2. Pin down specific problems with premises. Is it more space you need or can the office configuration be re-modelled? Would better transport links help? Are high bills due to rent or inefficiencies in heating and lighting?

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3. Do the sums. Would a move today result in lower bills for the next 10 years? Or would a cash injection in refurbishment right now mean less investment needed further down the line?

4. Don’t forget the extras. What are the financial costs of moving and what about the effect of the upheaval on employees and customers? Don’t forget to include surveys, legal fees, moving firms and new stationary.

5. Investigate options with existing leases. Could your landlord contribute to a refurbishment? Does the lease allow for you to make changes to the building?

6. Beware the small print. Would you be liable to pay for breaking your contract? How much could your dilapidations liabilities cost if you give notice? This can add significantly to the costs of moving.

7. Prepare for upheaval. Understand the level of disruption caused and the implications this has on operations.

8. Space planning and design. Could the existing space be reconfigured or adapted? Would different furniture or decoration make the difference?

9. Engage professional advisors to assist with the legal, financial and practical implications of the choice.

10. An external consultant can be worth their weight in gold. Designate one person in the business to oversee implementation of the move or refurbishment.