Occupied Spaces and High-Risk Environments
Office refurbishments are on the rise, with rent and rates increasing and limited space available working in occupied spaces is very challenging. It is becoming more frequent to make your current space fit for purpose. However, having a construction team on-site can potentially cause health and safety issues, downtime and disruption to the client’s business operations.
With many years of experience working in occupied spaces, we understand the pitfalls and frustrations every company faces when they decide to refurbish their premises. There are no short cuts when it comes to working in an occupied workplace.
While a fit-out in an unoccupied building can be considered somewhat simple as there are no business considerations, the same cannot be said for a live environment.
In an occupied space, the planning and programming of work are much more about controlling the potential risks and preventing costly, company downtime.
Every project is assessed individually and working alongside each client we develop a strategy to carry out the work with minimal disturbance and minimal impact to the business, in the shortest possible time frame and to the highest of standards.
Process for Working in An Occupied Space
If you’re looking for a fit-out and refurbishment contractor it is always worth doing your homework. Each company may approach an occupied fit-out in a different way, always make sure you speak to them before committing to ensure that their processes and vision align with yours.
At Navarre London, the first steps we take in the planning process is to assess the working environment and business risks. In order to plan accordingly, we need to understand what the risks to the business are. Concerns can be lost time, leading monetary loss, the physical infrastructure of the building – an older building will potentially have more risk associated. Once we fully understand these, we can begin planning all activities and subsequent risk assessments.
Planning and Development
The key to a successful fit-out is all in the planning, due diligence and taking a coordinated approach between ourselves and your business. This process will take into account all elements of the fit-out, the risks identified, the timescales in which it will be achieved, whilst taking into account the business functions and minimising overall disruption.
A viable work environment is critical to maintaining ‘business as usual’. From core systems to noise disturbances, each area needs to be suitable for the tasks at hand. A company’s staff are their biggest assets and they do not want to be continuously moved around the site or faced with daily project-related stoppages.
To ease the transition, our first aim is to move them to one temporary location and then to a permanent one, causing each employee minimal disruption to their day to day activities. If a move Is not possible then our working activities are programmed around the productive staff hours to cause as little disruption as possible. We are continually working nightshift and weekends to accommodate our client’s daytime operations.
A plan is fantastic, but we aren’t naïve enough to think that everything will follow a convenient, well thought out timescale! Unpredictable issues can arise at any point, and we have come across a fair few in our time. The key to managing these is in the project manager and site managers adaptability, as well as having a contingency plan for such events.
Risk control is the biggest part of working in an occupied environment if a risk isn’t mitigated this can cost a company huge amounts of money in downtime and delays. In these environments, timescales may be lengthened but the comparative cost of downtime makes this the most viable option.
Example: Navarre London worked above a 24-hour live trading floor with no disruption to the Company’s Operations.
At Navarre London, communication is incredibly important. We take a completely transparent approach to our work. Providing regular updates, risk reports and ensuring that the business is fully aware of our progress. This approach can put staff at ease during the transition period, as they are aware of the fit-out schedule and can raise any queries. During the risk management process, communication is even more crucial as open communication between the business and the team ensure that risks are managed and mitigated whenever they arise. If schedules are adapted to fit around unforeseen circumstances, we ensure the client is fully informed of these.
As a business, you need to know that both your physical and online assets will be protected during a fit-out. All of our projects take into account the different assets related to your business and the protection of these will all be factored into the overall plan. However, it’s recommended to take out insurance for extra peace of mind in the event of an issue.
Health and Safety
It goes without saying that the health and safety of your staff and our own are at the forefront of our mind. Before any work takes place, all health and safety provisions and training will be carried out.
Understanding your business, identifying the potential risks and managing those are hugely important in any fit-out. At Navarre London, we take the responsibility of managing risks in the workplace seriously.