Technology Considerations When Planning New Office Space.

The idea of moving an office to a new location can be very stressful.  Looking at location after location, day after day only to have too many options that all seem to blend together.  Now I can’t help you with paint color or floor choices, but I can help you on the technology side.

Today’s office is more than appearances.  Offices require computers and access to the internet.  In order to connect to the internet, you need a solid network infrastructure.  Network infrastructure can be expensive to put in if not already there.

When searching for an office, consider the following:

  1. Plan ahead and don’t assume what you will need will be available.
  2. Bring your IT person with you.  If you have one or access to one, it can be very helpful to have him/her looking at the space from their perspective.  Your IT person should be able to give you a quick assessment of what’s there, what will and won’t need to be done and most importantly the potential cost to make additions or changes to what may or may not be existing in the prospective new office space.
  3. Wiring closet – Find the wiring closet and take note of what is there. Look for a rack on the wall containing a patch panel or a bundle of wires coming out of the wall.

Finding either of these two will let you know you are on the right track and won’t have to go through the expense of fully wiring the location you are currently considering.

In some multi-tenant buildings, network wiring goes to a central “shared” location in the building where all demarcation (dmarc) points are located.  Ask to see this area to make sure you will be able to house your equipment securely so that other tenants will not have physical access to your equipment.

  1. Confirm with the building agent or property manager which carriers currently provide service to the property.
  2. Pre-existing wiring – With the wiring closet found and wiring being present, it’s time to look at the wiring itself to determine if there is ample wiring in place to suit your needs.  As you walk the space, take note of the receptacles along the walls.  You should see wall plates with ethernet jacks. 

As you look at the location of these network jacks, look to see if the jacks are numbered.  A number on a jack should tell you the corresponding port number on the patch panel discussed in.

  1. Determine if you will purchase a new phone system or relocate your current system to the new location. You may be surprised to find that purchasing a new phone system is less costly in the short and long run versus moving an existing system.
  2. Ceiling type – The ceiling in your space is very important.  If you choose space that is not wired, you will want a drop ceiling.  A drop ceiling allows access to run cabling horizontally as well as vertically down the walls.  If you don’t have a drop ceiling, you will be popping holes in the walls to create access points to move cable.  This access points will need to be repaired.  In addition, you will have the expense of painting the walls.
  3. Security – Have the security system looked at before signing a lease to make sure the system is viable and can be taken over.  Having to put a new security system in can be very costly.  The same goes for an access system, whether it’s a card-based system or a keypad.  Make sure you understand the monthly costs and if the technology is current and up to code.

Considering these eight things will help you understand what you are getting into.  The cost for wiring and office with 5-10 users can cost upwards of $3500 if the conditions are ideal.  If the conditions aren’t, you could be looking at a bill north of $10,000. 

Colleen Lewis, CCIM,SIOR of Corporate Realty in New Orleans recommends the following: “Know your technology costs upfront and don’t assume plug-n-play.  These costs coupled with other more traditional moving costs can be more than you expect and will drive up the cost of your move.  These types of expenses will add value to the property and should be considered during the lease negotiation.  Depending on the situation and the property owner, an improvement allowance may be able to be negotiated for technology upgrades.  Typically, during an office build out, the Landlord will net get involved with running cables for network, Landlords will provide pull strings to predetermined locations for telephone and data jacks.  Having a knowledgeable IT professional is critical in a properly planned office relocation.  Lead time with telephone and internet providers is critical so there is little to no interruption in business communications.”

Doing your due diligence will save you not only time and money but will also help reduce the stress that comes with moving your business office. Schedule a call to discuss your next business move.