4 Facility Relocation Project Budget Challenges You Might Not Expect

Facility relocations, particularly those that affect multiple work areas or have tight schedules, can quickly run up a lot of expenses. And while it’s not surprising to see high costs associated with these types of projects, there are some budget challenges that can come as a surprise if they aren’t on your team’s radar early in the planning stages.

1. Missed costs to relocate large, delicate, or specialized equipment.

Many types of work areas contain components that aren’t easy to relocate. Equipment may be sensitive to vibration or shock, making the moving process a potential danger to the items. You may need to pay a specialty vendor with experience safely transferring similar equipment to get it to the new spot, or the team might need to pay for the component to be recalibrated post-move. Confirm the requirements with knowledgeable users so you can plan your relocation budget to include the necessary support and any follow-up services.

2. Delayed permit approvals.

If you’re relocating part of your operations or workforce to a new location, it’s likely you’ll need to apply for permits—for construction, remodeling, etc.—before and possibly during your project. But local permit offices can easily get backed up in high-growth areas, potentially putting your move-in schedule in jeopardy. This creates several budget-affecting concerns. One is that you may need to pause activities until the permit process completes, during which time you might still need to pay your vendors who are now waiting each day for word they can proceed. Another potential budget wrinkle is that your company will likely still be responsible for building lease costs even if you can’t occupy the space on the forecasted date. Not only does your project budget go up but you’re now responsible for your contracted lease payments, too. You may not be able to avoid permit timeline challenges, but detailed contingency plans can help minimize the damage to your budget. Begin by identifying tasks that can be shifted earlier in the project schedule to backfill any gaps caused by delays, thus accelerating your post-permit schedule. Then look for opportunities to compress or resequence activities once your permits are approved. This can help put you back on schedule and give you the best chance of preventing a blown budget.

3. Too many tasks, not enough vendors.

A vendor that isn’t able to manage as many activities within a defined time window as they expected could affect your budget at some point. While most providers will do their best to bring in additional support when the workload gets too high, their resources are typically limited. You may find yourself needing to hire another contractor to help and if you’re scrambling for more help at the last minute, then their time is likely to be expensive. Carefully review your vendor contracts to identify who’s on the hook for the added costs if initial forecasts were too optimistic, so you know your options for dealing with any unanticipated labor expenses. 

4. Undiscovered user requirements.

Project teams that rush through the early planning and discovery phases are more likely to encounter unknown requirements down the line, and some of them have the potential to be expensive. If you didn’t thoroughly interview your graphics design team, for example, you might learn during move-in that they expected the ceiling fixtures in their new area to have the same full-spectrum bulbs that are above their desks right now. The change could be more than a quick and simple bulb swap—you may be stuck paying to have an electrician replace the ballasts and bulbs on a spendy, expedited schedule.

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