Over our 100+ years in business, we’ve worked on countless tenant improvement projects. That experience has taught us that starting with an accurate estimate is critical to a successful project. Even simple buildouts can go south if the original estimate isn’t done with proper consideration.

Building the Estimate  

The first step in building the tenant improvement estimate is to map out the needed improvements and the associated costs. This map should include design, construction, materials, and permits. Tenants should also take this time to review their Tenant Improvement Allowance (TIA) to see how much, if any, the property owner will contribute to the project.

Common costs that should be considered are:

  • Carpet
  • Paint
  • Furniture
  • Light Fixtures
  • Plumbing Fixtures

Contingency costs should also be included in the estimate to account for any unexpected expenses. In most cases, 5-10% should do the trick, but contingency budgets may need to increase if the building is especially old or historic.

Needs vs Wants

One aspect we talk a lot about during the early stages of a project is needs vs wants. As tenants are making their project maps, knowing needs from wants will help find savings and generate more satisfaction when the build out is complete. 

Experience Matters

There are some things about estimating that only experience can teach you. We’ve certainly learned a few lessons along the way, and these lessons help us better guide clients through the estimating process. If you’re considering a tenant improvement project and need someone to help you through the process, call Cowen Construction.