Thursday, 15 February 2024 09:03

How to Plan and Budget for Custom Electrical Build-Outs

Designing, building, and integrating electrical systems into any commercial building can be a complex and costly project. What are the key steps that you need to work through with an electrical contractor? And how can you appropriately budget for your electrical upgrades? Our key insights can help you effectively preplan electrical build-outs to ensure they meet your needs and stay within your financial constraints.

Let's dive into the most important steps to take when coordinating your electrical project and how you can properly budget for your custom changes. Whether you are renovating an existing space for new clientele, or you've just purchased a new commercial space, these tips will help you stay organized throughout the entire electrical project.

Planning Your Electrical Project

No two electrical projects are ever the same; that's because no two properties or organizations are identical either. While the specific changes, designs, and components in each electrical renovation project are unique and different, most electrical build-outs will follow a similar series of planning steps:

1. Identify Your Goals

No matter what type of electrical project you're planning, the first step is always the same: clearly define your goals. What do you hope to achieve by working with a commercial electrician? Do you have a clear vision of the electrical improvements you want to make in your building? What are the needs that you're trying to address by optimizing your electrical solutions?

When you have a clearer understanding of your objectives, the rest of the project will come a lot easier.

2. Hire an Experienced Electrical Contractor

There is no DIY route when it comes to electrical work. You'll need to work with a professional, licensed commercial electrical contractor who has the expertise, resources, and insights for your electrical build-out.

There are plenty of commercial electricians across the country, but that doesn't mean they're all alike. Take some time to research, vet, and compare several electrical contractors to find a few options that are aligned with your needs and values. From there, make time to speak or meet with each contractor to get a better sense of their commitment to customer service and quality. Plus, that will give you a chance to gather and compare quotes for the requested electrical services.

Once you've compared providers and selected your preferred electrician, the real planning begins.

3. Collaborate to Build the Plan and Refine It

Every electrical contractor operates a little differently, but every contractor should book a walkthrough of the property before starting any plans or designs. They'll visit your location in person to get a comprehensive understanding of the existing room layouts and electrical components, how you'd like to improve the current solutions, and identify areas or concerns that you may have missed.

Be ready to provide thoughtful answers because your contractor will pepper you with questions about your vision, restrictions, and needs. They'll also suggest opportunities to further optimize the design's functionality, like switching outlet locations, wiring upgrades to support smart technology and more.

From there, your electrical contractor will craft a detailed plan for your improvements and build-out that will consider everything you've discussed so far. Through iterative collaborations, you and your contractor will gradually refine your plan until it looks exactly how you imagined.

4. Nail Down the Details

Whether you're working on a tenant improvement project or building-wide electrical upgrades, your electrician will need to nail down some key logistical details before any work can begin. They may need to:

  • Acquire electrical permits from local or state jurisdictions
  • Schedule inspections with the city or county to ensure the work can be done and has been done correctly
  • Coordinate the timeline for their electrical improvements with other contractors, depending on the scope of work

Soon enough, they'll be off to the races and your upgraded electrical solutions will be seamlessly integrated into your spaces.

Budget Considerations for Custom Electrical Build-Outs

Electrical project costs can vary widely depending on factors like the scope of work, the contracting company, and more. However, these costs can add up quickly for businesses. For instance, if we just focus on the average hourly rate for a commercial electrician ($120-$150/hour) and don't consider any of the materials or work itself, a single full day of work can cost your business at least $1,000.

Because the electrical work is outsourced to a commercial electrician or contractor, it can be challenging to control or reduce the costs associated with your project. That said, there are a few things that you can do:

  • Consider prefabrication when appropriate. Some electrical solutions, components, and devices can be assembled in advance at an offsite facility. These prefabrications can lower labor costs and allow for better quality control. Be sure to ask your electrical contractor about these options.
  • Encourage your contractor to find ways to save money without cutting corners. Electrical contractors have a wealth of strategies and techniques that can save money, time, and energy. Ask your contractor about ideas like value engineering, waste reduction, and design optimizations.
  • Opt for energy-efficient solutions when possible. While energy-efficient lighting systems and appliances won't reduce the costs of your build-out up front, they can lead to long-term savings. These energy-efficient applications can reduce energy costs and contribute to reducing your company's carbon footprint.
  • Do everything you can to keep the project on schedule. A single delay can cause a ripple effect on your project and lead to additional delays down the line. When your project lags, your costs will increase, so it's in your best interest to hold your electrical contractor accountable and make sure you're in constant communication with them.
  • Collaborate closely with your contractor. Make a point to clearly communicate your needs to your contractor and emphasize the need for budget-friendly solutions. Your contractor will design a custom system from scratch for your business and if you collaborate with them throughout the process, they'll look for every opportunity to cut costs and save you money.

Start Your Commercial Electrical Build-Outs Today with P&L

Has the time come to give your commercial spaces a facelift? Trust our experienced team at P&L Electric. We're a nationally recognized electrical contractor with decades of experience in design-build electrical projects. We'll create a highly specialized electrical solution for your organization that's reliable, efficient, and customized to your unique spaces.

Contact P&L Electric today to get started on your tenant improvements and/or electrical build-out project.