One of the major differences between renting a space and owning it outright is who is responsible for repairs and improvements. With a commercial or residential property that one owns, they would shoulder full responsibility. However, depending on the terms of the rental contract, a landlord/property manager may need to authorize and pay for any changes or improvements. In some cases, in order to lock up a certain tenant, the landlord may need to make set changes to a property, like new wiring or network capability. These changes fall into the category of tenant improvements.
Tenant improvements present a great opportunity for electrical contractors. If you were to say, work with a landlord of an apartment or office building, this could represent a steady stream of work from a single client. Of course, you need to be able to provide a full suite of services said tenants would be interested in.
So, with this said, let’s take a look at some of the top tenant improvements that electrical contractors provide.
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Outdated or aged wiring can present a major issue compared to other types of electrical issues. The main reason is that this is an actual safety risk to tenants. If the wiring in a rental property gets overloaded, it runs the risk of overheating, which can lead to sparks. Because a lot of wiring is contained between the walls and insulation, contact between sparks and insulation can lead to a fire. As a result, if a tenant is considering using an older property, wiring inspection, and rewiring will be at the top of their priority list.
There are a few reasons why a tenant may request lighting replacement as a part of their tenant improvements. In some cases, it’s purely aesthetic. A tenant may do a repaint or remodel and want new lighting that better matches the brightness and appearance. In other cases, it’s more practical. For example, there may be security concerns on the exterior, and a tenant may request more lighting in order to make sure that the entire property is well-lit. Because there is so much variance here, it’s important that electrical contractors know as many interior and exterior lighting systems as possible if they want to work on tenant improvements.
Much of the issue with old and outdated electrical panels is similar to that of outdated wiring. The longer a panel goes without being serviced, the bigger the risk of damaged wires, which can cause a fire hazard. In addition, someone can be shocked if they come into contact with a worn electrical panel. Rather than take their chances with legacy hardware, many new tenants coming into a property will want to have upgraded electrical panels. This is a common request because it’s not only safe but also can help with overall energy efficiency.
Energy Monitoring Systems
On that same topic, many tenants are interested in the concept of a green or eco-friendly building. A major part of this is having energy monitoring systems in order to better target and address areas of inefficiency. As a result, electrical contractors should learn which types of systems are available that tenants may want to have in their units/buildings.
Not every electrical contractor is going to have the capacity to install these, and depending on the nature of the tenant and building, installing a panel may not be allowed. With this said, these are one of the signature options in terms of eco-friendly construction, so they still fall under the tenant improvement category.
Power surges are a common issue in a lot of different areas. This is concerning as a power surge can quickly destroy certain sensitive electronics. For residential settings, this creates a major expense and inconvenience. For businesses, this can halt and impact your operations if essential equipment is destroyed. Power surge protectors in the building are essential for protection.
In some cases, a power system that is perfectly upgraded and functional can still fail. This is generally due to the elements or problems with the power grid. For example, a major storm can lead to a blackout. Without some form of backup power, businesses can’t function, perishables can spoil, and there may be a safety risk if none of the lighting is working.
Tenant Improvements to Specialize in:
We should also talk about what type of tenant improvements that your company should specialize in. In general, you want something that will open your business up to as many clients as possible. This means the fundamentals like rewiring or surge protectors are always going to be a service to offer. However, you may want to consider your client base and more specific services that they may be able to use. For example, if your clients include a lot of food service businesses or grocers, you know they would be at risk of massive product loss in the event of a blackout. This makes a backup generator a service well worth offering.
Being able to meet your clients with their needs when it comes to tenant improvement construction is essential for any electrical contractor. Having an idea of what type of commercial tenant improvement your clients may ask for can allow you to allocate more man-hours, equipment, and materials to tackle these tasks, meaning a higher workload and ultimately, more profit for you. There’s just one drawback when we talk about this—the data you need to acquire. You need to get a proper idea of what exactly this is going to cost your business so you can make sure you are specializing in something more profitable.
This is best accomplished with project management software like eSUB. Whether you are concerned about how much a given leasehold improvement will cost or what type of time is required for setup, we can track every metric you need with our software. In addition, we can put this all on the cloud for your field and office teams to easily access at once.