How to Decide if Your Commercial Space needs a Renovation or a New Build

How to Decide if Your Commercial Space needs a Renovation or a New Build

Work has been interesting lately for pretty much everyone in the world so this is how to decide if your commercial space needs a renovation or a new build. Many of us have been working from home or out of work altogether. Recently however as we have been returning to work there has been an uptick in the need for renovations and new construction builds in the commercial space. So many people are having to do upgrades or modifications to their workplaces in order to maintain a healthy, safe work environment.

How is your work environment?

Potentially you are returning to the workspace and asking yourself, “how do I know if I need to renovate or completely build new?”

How has the Work Environment Changed?

Not only has covid created changes that need to happen in the work environment, but technology has also changed a lot of what we do and what we need in the workplace. Many of the older buildings that are in our city don’t have the correct infrastructure to handle the technological needs of todays working environment. When you are planning a renovation this is definitely something that you will need to consider and plan into your budget.

One example of this is the neutral wire needed for all smart devices and Alexa/Google Assistant devices. Those really cool commercials where they tell Alexa to turn a number of things on and off only work because of the wiring in the house. Many older building don’t have this.

It’s a really great question so let’s look at the difference.

Note – you can also get updated guidelines from the Alberta Government HERE

Do I Need a Renovation?

As you return to work there is a high likelihood that you will need to modify the workspace that you are returning too. This is not the article for a detailed list of all the things that need to get done in accordance with your local authorities and health professionals. Suffice to say though that every person we have talked to that is returning to a commercial work space has had some level of modification done to make it safe.

There is a chance that you will not need a full renovation to be within the guidelines when it comes to COVID, but if you do have to make modifications this might be a good time to freshen things up, create more open spaces, or give yourself some extra offices for staff who are returning.

Some of the recent renovations that we have seen are

  • Upgraded HVAC for airflow and air exchange. As we all know creating more fresh air is highly desirable to create a safe clean workspace.
  • Plexiglass for high conversation areas. Many reception areas and high traffic areas are being outfitted with plexiglass separators so that people can still interact but not worry about travelling moisture through the air.
  • Hand sanitizer stations. Companies are installing hand sanitizer stations in various locations around the office.
  • Touchless doors and entryways. Technology will be leveraged at a higher level as we move forward and commerce is moving more and more towards touchless interactions. We see it in bathrooms, washing stations, drying stations and entryways. There are a number of options that you could choose from to install touchless solutions for doors, windows, blinds and bathrooms.
  • Conference Rooms. Many teams are now relying on virtual meetings and software like zoom. Although this is great it does have its limitations if the workspace is not upgraded to include the hardware, software and the physical rooms where virtual and in-person meetings can take place.

We suspect that the number of hybrid in-person/virtual meetings that take place in a commercial/professional work environment will more than double in the coming months and years.

What does this mean for you?

Is your company and more importantly the infrastructure you have in your commercial space ready to manage this?

How to Decide if Your Commercial Space needs a Renovation or a New Build.

Do I need a New Build?

Primarily the reason for a new build would be if the option that you have currently is not only inadequate, but a renovated option will also not provide the necessary changes. Here is a quick breakdown of the different questions that go into deciding.


Renovate if you have a lower but flexible budget. Often during the renovation of an older building “surprises” come up and it’s good to have some flexibility.

Build new if you need more space. It is hard to create space where there really isn’t any. If you have to spread your staff out and you just don’t have the square footage it would be best to build new.


Renovate if your business model allows you to continue doing your business while you are renovating. This may be the perfect time to renovate because many companies are still running at reduced hours, and a hybrid of work from home and work from the office.

Build new if you have the opportunity to keep everyone at home and your timeline is tight. Generally speaking the forecasted timelines for new builds is faster and more defined. Renovations usually take longer.

Basically it comes down to budget, flexibility and what you need.

Our many years of experience in the Calgary area gives us a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you with your commercial renovation or new build. We do it all, interior and exterior, excavation and design. No matter what your commercial construction need is we are here to help and have the expertise to get the job done right.