Wheelchair at base of stairs


Part one of a three-part series.

When you own or manage commercial real estate, it’s critical for that property to be earning a positive return. There are lots of ways — from financing strategies to vendor management — to improve the return on investment (ROI) of commercial buildings. As Minneapolis commercial architects and interior designers, we’re focused on using the Power of Design to help ensure that ownership is getting the most out of their real estate assets.

Lower Costs

The easiest way to improve your building ROI is to lower your operating costs (or increase revenue). The low-hanging fruit for reducing costs is to install LED lighting and low-flow water fixtures. In addition to lowering costs, it’s good for the environment, and everyone should be doing it.

In that same vein, building owners should update mechanical equipment to increase efficiency and lower their utility fees. Often it makes sense to replace that equipment before it’s completely worn out. For example, if you have a 20-year-old rooftop unit, maybe you could get another five years of service from it. If, on the other hand, you change it now and get a better, more efficient unit, it’s almost always worth the cost in lower operating expenses. Also, it’s only going to cost more to replace it later.

Reduce Risks

Every building owner knows that risk is one of those hidden things that you never see until it rears its ugly head in a serious accident or lawsuit. That’s when you know you’ve been living life in a risky building. I always look for ways to reduce risk when working on a building.

One of the best ways for building owners to mitigate their liability risk is by removing barriers to accessibility — from the parking lot through to the restrooms and beyond. Beyond being a good thing to do for our population, it lowers their risk as an owner of a building or an operator of a facility.

Restrooms are a particularly important example. Landlords often want to try to make-do with the restrooms in a building, as they can be expensive to upgrade. To that end, we always try to reuse existing construction. However, if the restrooms aren’t compliant with ADA regulations or local building codes and you’re making even a minor modification to them, you should bring them into compliance. The advantage of this for the building owner is that it lessens your risk of a lawsuit.

What should building owners be aware of, either before they get an ADA-related lawsuit, or in the unfortunate case where they do? Read our guide to the Hard Truths about ADA Compliance to find out.

Check back next week to read the second installment of the Building Better ROI series, where we’ll discuss how to make your rentable spaces more presentable. In the final installment of the series, we’ll discuss some of the amenities you can add to your building to increase its value.

Weld Ransom, CID
Weld Ransom, CID WELL

Weld brings more than 35 years of experience in helping business maximize the utility and beauty of their real estate assets. He believes that your facility is more than a line item on a ledger that needs to be “managed.” Whether a business uses a factory, store, clinic, or office, that facility should be a positive force in the success of the business. Design is the tool to make that happen.

© 2023 PlanForce, Inc. All rights reserved. |  Privacy Policy | Site Map