How To Estimate Commercial Renovation Costs (2023 Update)

Jamie Jacobs
Jamie Jacobs joined APX Construction Group in June of 2020 specializing in interior design, marketing, event planning, and business development.
  • Dreaming up your ideal office, restaurant, or retail space is incredibly fun. You can pull design inspiration from places you’ve visited, make Pinterest boards full of ideas, and watch interior design tv shows to get in the right headspace. It’s all magical until you’re faced with the reality of the price.

    You never want your final commercial renovation costs to be a surprise. If you can anticipate and estimate your price range before beginning, the idea of a renovation goes from scary back to exciting.

    Use this guide to help you estimate the average cost per square foot of commercial renovations, as well as numerous factors that can impact the final price.

    modern kitchen remodel; how to estimate commercial renovations

    Average Cost of Commercial Renovations per Sq. Ft.

    It would be nice if the overall cost of commercial renovations were consistent for every project, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. The average cost of commercial renovations can vary greatly per square foot. It can range from $30 per sq. ft. on the low end to over $300 per sq. ft.

    You can get a sense of how much your project will cost by scheduling a call with a design-build construction firm. They’ll share how much you can expect for the scope of your project, based on numerous factors.

    Commercial Renovation Cost Factors

    Remodeling projects come in all shapes and sizes. They can be as simple as renovating a commercial bathroom or as extensive as an entire commercial building renovation where every single room gets redone. In order to help anticipate the cost of your renovation project, consider the following factors:

    commercial renovation costs: a construction worker working on a ladder inside a commercial building

    Materials and Labor

    Since inflation is constantly going up, material and labor costs are always fluctuating, too. You could have a solid understanding of labor and materials costs for your project six months in advance, and then they could go up by the time your project actually starts.

    You’ll also need to consider quality for both materials and labor. If you want to get the most out of your commercial construction project, you’ll want to invest in high-quality contractors and materials.

    Commercial renovation projects can get expensive. You might be tempted to cut corners wherever possible and use cheap materials and an inexperienced contractor. But, you’ll be investing a lot of money either way, so it’s always best to opt for a high-quality result so that your investment lasts for decades.

    Building Use

    The intended use of your building can impact renovation costs because of specialized equipment, fixtures, and more. Typically, you can expect buildings like medical offices, government buildings, and high-rise offices to cost more than small restaurants, single-story office spaces, and gymnasiums.

    Typically, appliances and equipment get updated in a building renovation to ensure that the entire space is modern and high-performing. So when you consider this point, be sure to factor in all the specialized equipment that needs updating in your business.

    The highest commercial renovation costs usually come when a building undergoes an adaptive-reuse renovation. This is when the building’s original use goes under a significant transformation. An example of this would be when a warehouse gets renovated into a medical office. Or, when old mills and factories get renovated into modern apartments.

    Construction workers working at height in lifting bucket; commercial renovation costs

    Building Location

    Just like with most things in life, it will always be more expensive to do a commercial remodeling project in urban areas rather than in rural areas. Location-specific qualities can drive up costs, such as:

    • Proximity to coasts or other major bodies of water
    • Regional climate
    • Other thriving businesses in the area

    If your business is located in a major city like Denver, Chicago, or Austin, it will almost always cost more to renovate than a similar business in a smaller, more rural area.

    Even neighborhoods within the same city can impact costs in different ways. Downtown areas and up-and-coming neighborhoods have a higher remodeling cost than other neighborhoods with less accessibility and resources.

    Adding Building Amenities

    Most people want their commercial renovation to make their building feel completely new. It’s the perfect excuse to add upgrades and enhancements that would take your business to the next level.

    For example, maybe you want to add a kitchen to your office space during the renovation. Or add more bathrooms, a gym, or showers. These amenities will improve your space immensely, but they will also add to your final cost.

    inside view of gym in commercial building; commercial renovation costs

    Many business owners also want to turn to more eco-friendly operations, so investing in systems and materials that are better for the environment is also something to consider.

    Updated Electrical Systems

    Renovating your commercial building is a way to improve comfort and efficiency. While new flooring, walls, and furniture are a given, consider replacing systems like:

    • Air conditioning
    • Heating
    • Plumbing fixtures

    Replacing these systems helps ensure that your building will operate as well as it looks. HVAC installation costs aren’t too hefty, but they run at around $3 per square foot. And if you involve mechanical and electrical contractors in the design process early on, you can reduce some costs.

    Building Permit Fees

    Finally, another detail to consider in your renovation costs is permit fees. Permit fees usually depend on the location of the project and the type of work being performed. Permit fees aren’t typically a major expense, but they can get costly on large projects in major cities.

    Architects and real estate agents working with blueprints to determine commercial renovation costs

    We’ll Walk You Through the Entire Renovation Process

    Commercial renovation and residential renovation are two very different things. When you undertake a commercial remodeling project, you need a partner who specializes in commercial renovations. Look no further than the expert team at APX Construction Group.

    We’ve transformed all kinds of commercial spaces from offices and retail spaces to government buildings and medical facilities. When you have questions about the commercial renovation process and how much your idea will cost, contact our friendly team!

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