The Importance of Seamless Service During High-Rise Renovations

high-rise renovations

Every renovation project has challenges, but high-rise renovations are more complicated.

When working in skyscrapers and other tall buildings, renovation and restoration professionals must accommodate the needs of dozens and sometimes hundreds of tenants. Delays and disruptions can affect not just one resident or family but potentially all of them. Access can be very tricky, too. Hauling drywall, power tools, and other unwieldy materials up several flights of steep stairs or into cramped elevators is challenging.

Before taking on a high-rise project, renovation and restoration professionals must have a comprehensive plan for seamless service. Here are eight ways to ensure you’re working efficiently and effectively.

1 | Plan elevator use in advance.

Planning when and how often to use a building’s elevator might seem like a minor detail, but construction professionals experienced with high-rises know it’s essential.

Contractors can’t simply use the elevator whenever they want; building residents need it to be speedy and available, so contractors can’t tie it up indefinitely. Indeed, many property managers even have rules about how often contractors can use the elevator. That’s why it’s important to plan in advance when you’ll need to use the elevator. Maximize every trip by fitting as many materials as possible without exceeding the weight limit. It’s also important to use the elevator during slower times in the building, such as very early in the morning or mid-afternoon. Alternatively, using the elevator during the morning rush hour and on weekends can greatly inconvenience tenants.

2 | Pore over all the paperwork.

The logistics of renovating a high-rise are almost always more complicated than renovating a single residence. There can be stacks of paperwork involved. Contractors need to fill out forms about insurance, building codes, property rules, and more. Make sure to tackle all this paperwork well before the construction starts. Dot every “i” and cross every “t” so there aren’t any unnecessary delays once your team is on-site. And go over all the paperwork with the building manager closely to ensure you haven’t missed anything.

Additionally, it’s crucial to meticulously verify that all the subcontractors involved in the project have their insurance and paperwork in order. Confirm that their insurance policies are current and provide adequate coverage for the scope of work they’ll be performing. This step is essential to mitigate potential risks and legal complications during renovation.

3 | Protect common areas.

Renovations can be messy, producing dust, debris, and other pollutants. And high-rises have several common areas, including leisure rooms, hallways, stairwells, and elevators, that residents rely on.

These common areas must be protected from the mess. Block off doorways and entranceways with plastic or other barriers to keep dust and debris contained. If you have to work directly in the common areas, make sure there are drop cloths on the floor, pads in the elevator, and all other protections that allow for minimal mess and swift cleanup.

4 | Communicate transparently.

Since renovations will likely affect everyone in the building, it’s essential to communicate clearly and frequently with tenants. Work with the property manager to determine the best method for sharing important information like work hours, increased noise levels, and elevator availability.

Communicating across multiple channels is prudent to ensure you reach everybody in the building. This might include posting fliers, sending emails, and even using texts and voicemails. If a project is particularly intensive, renovation professionals might hold a Q&A forum for tenants so they can ask any questions directly and get informed answers.

5 | Anticipate problems.

You can’t always predict the unpredictable, but you can be prepared before you start your project. Take time to consider different challenges that might emerge. If you’re moving a wall, is it possible unexpected plumbing or electrical work might factor into the equation? Have plumbers and electricians on speed dial and check their availability beforehand in case a random pipe or wire presents itself during the renovations. You don’t want to scramble once the work begins and lose a day or more because you can’t find the right contractor.

6 | Minimize noise.

All renovation projects generate noise. Saws humming, drills drilling, nail guns pumping, and the clatter of countless other tools. While this is inevitable, renovation professionals can still do things to control the noise. This is especially important in high-rise buildings, which have far more residents in a smaller area.

Time your work so that you use the loudest tools and techniques during the least disruptive hours, like weekday afternoons. Also, consider strategies that generate less noise. And remember: Minimizing noise is more critical than ever because more and more people are working from home. These days, even weekday afternoon noise can be disruptive.

7 | Sort out parking ahead of time.

High-rises are located in busy areas, so parking can often be problematic. It’s not as simple as pulling up in front of the property, unloading, and getting to work. Coordinate with the property manager to determine where to park your vehicles. There might be a designated spot for contractors or a lot nearby with available places. You want to avoid inconveniencing residents by taking their spaces or blocking important thruways.

8 | Consider commercial impact.

An increasing number of high-rise buildings are mixed-use, meaning they have commercial space on the first floor and residential areas above. For this reason, renovations in a high-rise may impact residential tenants and merchants. Make sure to keep affected business owners appraised of your schedule throughout the renovation so they can prepare accordingly.

High-rise renovation projects, while inherently complex, can be executed with finesse and efficiency when guided by the appropriate strategies. Before starting these projects, consider the potential impact on building occupants.

Ron Fanish

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