As with any construction project, leasehold improvements come with their unique constraints. Most leasehold improvement projects are located in a highly populated environment where construction must occur within a fully occupied building. How the project team handles tenant impact can make or break the project. This involves addressing the increased noise, odour, dust resulting from demolition, abatement, drilling, hammering, and cutting. Completing leasehold improvements with as little impact to the tenants as possible is difficult. Extensive pre-planning, ongoing communication between the landlord and the construction team, and a focus on protecting everyone’s safety are essential to the project success. A collaborative approach involving the landlord from start to finish will go a long way.
HOURS OF WORK
Construction can take place within the leased area during normal business hours as long as they are not sensitive work. Sensitive work is to take place outside of normal business hours (after hours and on weekends). Sensitive work is defined as work which causes noise, odours, noise or undesirable effects to the building and its occupants. Other aspect of work such as x-ray might be constrained to after midnight and on agreed upon times. Working hours can vary from project to project and must be reviewed and accepted by the landlord before hand.
What is often observed is that a majority of the construction work will take place after hours while relatively quieter work such as painting, carpeting, and tiling are completed during the day. Prudent contractors will communicate the project’s progress, key milestones, deviation from the original schedule, and site conditions to the landlord on a timely basis. Keep in mind that the landlord will need adequate time to notify affected tenants.
SAFETY AND SIGNAGE
A primary focus should be placed on maintaining a safe and operational environment for the tenant and other tenants in the building during construction. The constructor should do everything they can to ensure their liability obligations are met.
Clear boundaries must be made between the construction and non-construction areas. Work sites are to be closed off from the general public. This can be achieved through temporary hoarding and barriers. Construction signage are to be put up to mark restricted areas and potential construction dangers. Way-finding signage are to be strategically placed to direct traffic to alternative routes. All entrances and exits are to be well marked. Uneven surfaces and potential tripping hazards are to be flagged out using caution tape or other sorts of signage. Keep construction material inside the construction area and out of site to avoid impeding traffic.