404-919-8470 info@atldigi.com

ATL
Digi

Atlanta
Digital

 

ATL
Digi

Atlanta
Digital

 

By Patrick Kiessling

 

Your aging facility needs some construction work to update it, bring it up to code, or make it a more pleasant space for your employees. But closing down a business during renovation projects can severely cut into your profits and harm the financial well-being of your workers.

Using a combination of new barrier technologies, a lot of planning and some creative ingenuity, you can keep your business open while still keeping your team safe from noise, debris, and the construction site itself.

While the ultimate goal of a renovation is to improve your office space, the goal during the renovation should be to keep your employees happy and safe and provide a place that allows the construction team to do their jobs.

Have A Plan

Construction and renovations are serious ventures. And, if you plan to renovate while you have your employees onsite, you can’t go with a “we’ll work it out as we go” attitude.

You should create a team to oversee the construction process. This team has to include the business owner, the facility or office manager, and the construction team foreman. It should be a well-rounded team made up of individuals who can bring something new to the table and be comprised of experts from the business and the construction crew.

Once the team is assembled, it should start by making a detailed checklist or needs and wants. Plans should not be limited to the progress of the construction, either. They should also include pre-construction setup and after-construction teardown, as well.

For example, before construction is set to begin, your team and the construction manager need to walk through the job site so you can make plans for the following:

  • A project timeline. You need a designated start date and a proposed end date so you can make plans on how you will conduct business during the renovations.
  • Employee safety. Simply cordoning off the area of renovations from regular employees with a big plastic sheet is no longer acceptable. Your workers need to be protected from falling debris, dust and even noise pollution.
  • Regular updates. Weather, supply chain snafus and other unexpected challenges can cause delays during any renovation. The team needs to meet regularly so that any changes to the proposed timeline can be communicated.
  • Open communication. Keeping everyone informed of the timeline, changes and safety protocols is key to keeping everyone affected by the renovation project happy              

You need to plan early and plan often.

Renovation Projects
(Source: Adobe Stock / Generated with AI by WS Studio 1985)

Eyes On Safety

Once you’ve developed a plan and before the construction team sets up, you need to plan how employees will manage.

For example, if employees generally walk through the area that will be under construction to get to the bathrooms or break room, you will need to develop a new traffic plan. You will also need to let employees know about new evacuation routes, where temporary offices are located and what they can expect as renovations begin.

You may also need to consider a modular containment system. A system like those used at Temporary Wall Systems should be installed before renovations begin because of their effectiveness in walling off the area affected by renovations.

Unlike plastic sheets, modular walls can be used to direct foot traffic and are designed for an airtight fit so that construction dust, debris and fumes stay away from your staff and customers. These walls are adaptable and can be fitted with locking doors or with keypad entry systems so that only those who need access to the construction zone will be able to open the doors.

And, unlike putting up drywall, these systems can be moved around if the renovation project needs to be done in stages. They also don’t end up in the landfill once they need to be removed when renovations are completed.

Once everything is set up and ready for renovations to begin, the planning team needs to identify potential hazards so it can develop a safety plan. An effective plan needs to set out a list of safety standards that can include:

  • Posting alternate layouts and evacuation routes
  • Providing protective safety gear should employees need to be near the renovation site
  • Posting warning signs
  • Placing plans for customer traffic in prominent locations

Making sure your customers and employees are safe should always be your first consideration whenever construction or renovations are taking place onsite.

Making It Work

Anyone who has been through a renovation project knows that no two days are the same. There are times when the noise of hammering and sawing is disruptive, and there are times when demolition is at its most dangerous.

Every project is going to be different but you can make plans to have the louder and more dangerous aspects of a renovation take place when employees or customers are not onsite. Crews can work on nights and weekends, if necessary.

Excel Dryer Creates Healthy, Sustainable Workplace Of The Future

Guided by the WELL Building Standard, Excel Dryer aimed to merge beauty, health, wellness and sustainability into its renewed workplace. Read more…

If it is necessary to make very loud noises during the business day, then employees should be told ahead of time so they can make plans to be off of their phones or video meetings, or work from home. In addition to keeping out debris and danger, modular walls also muffle some of these loud noises so they’re not as disruptive and will allow your employees to work with little interruption.

If possible, you should also provide the contractors and construction workers with an area to call their own. They may take breaks at different times than your regular employees, and vice versa. If your construction team can have their own parking or break area, it limits intrusions between their team and your staff.

While the ultimate goal of a renovation is to improve your office space, the goal during the renovation should be to keep your employees happy and safe and provide a place that allows the construction team to do their jobs.

Keeping your business open during construction comes with a set of challenges, but with the proper planning, equipment and attitude, you can get through it effortlessly so that everyone can enjoy the end result.

Patrick Kiessling, Temporary Wall SystemsAs president of Temporary Wall Systems, Patrick Kiessling has led the company during a critical time for growth. Kiessling has worked with several emerging and established brands in the construction, property management and home service industries over the course of his working life. Prior to his appointment at TWS, he worked with redbox+ Dumpsters, going from a franchise owner to a brand president in less than five years.

Click here for more facility management news and information about renovations and expansions. 

Facility Executive Magazine