It’s no secret that significant building work and even minor changes can have a negative impact on the day-to-day running of a business. With building work comes a lot of hassle and disorganisation, which can reduce footfall, damage reputation and ultimately cost a business money. This is especially true for those in the customer-facing trade, who have to ensure their clients can put up with closures, downtime, mess and noise. In this post we explain how forward planning can help businesses to minimise the disruption and alleviate the stress that construction work can bring.
Your installers, builders and architects should be with you at every step of the way ensuring you’re aware of what is going to happen, and when. They’ll also put a timescale in place. It’s best to make sure during these discussions that they have bargained for contingency time being required. This means that they have put together your timescale liberally – so it’s likely you’ll be finished early – but shouldn’t finish late.
An accurate timescale and detailed itinerary enable you to plan carefully for each step – from dismantling and deliveries to the work itself and the clean up afterwards.
Let everyone know
Before work starts you’ll need to speak with your customers and your neighbours. If you’ve acquired planning permission you may have done this already – but it’s courteous (and clever) to pop round and let them know that there may be some mess and noise for a little while. You can also get them on side so they can keep a look-out for your premises and building materials, and won’t sabotage your refurbishment with complaints.
It’s important also not to forget your customers. Have posters or flyers made to let them know which days you’ll be closed, and how the work may affect them. If there are alternatives available (another site, an online shop) direct them accordingly.
Your construction team should appreciate that you are a business. Therefore they should work with you to minimise disruption to your business. Discuss with them how and when they can work to avoid costly issues. For example, they may be happy to work early mornings, evenings and even nights and weekends. Or it may suit you better for them to do long days if you are a bar or restaurant. If needed, also schedule down time now so that you can plan ahead for any disruption it may cause. You could even use it to your advantage, making time to organise accounts or liaise with staff.
Don’t forget the cleanup
Lots of businesses make the mistake of factoring in the build – but forgetting that after the work has been completed, there can be a lot of clearing up to do. Usually, a company can be drafted in to do this – but it can take a few days to get the place looking pristine and back to normal again.
Make the most of it
This isn’t strictly constructive preparation – but it is worth considering how you’ll announce this new development both to bring maximum benefit to your business and minimise any disruption that could reduce footfall. Think about marketing your new premises to gain new customers, whilst making sure you let your existing ones know that you’re open and ready for business – and what’s changed, if applicable.