Lessons Learned: KasCon’s Office Buildout

After 17 years in the same location, it was time for KasCon to take the next step in our growth and move our offices to a larger space with more amenities.  As painful and disruptive as picking up and moving was after almost two decades, we had no choice.  We embarked on the process so many of our clients experience, finding the right location, negotiating a lease, designing the space, obtaining a building permit, constructing it and, finally, moving.

There is an old saying that the shoemaker’s kids go shoeless, and I was determined that the adage would not apply to us.  With decades of experience, one would think that such a process should go flawlessly. Knowing what to do and doing it are very different things.  Our office move demonstrated some positive things I would recommend, and it also revealed some lessons learned that I felt worth sharing.

Balance Setting a Realistic Timeline with Getting a Jump on the Project – Failure to Get it Right Can be Costly

The process from touring the space to move-in is frustratingly linear. It’s unrealistic to start task B before finishing task A without potentially wasting money.  Case in point, you want to be sure to wait until your new lease is firmly locked down before engaging too many resources formally such as space planners, architectural or engineering services.  Doing so may be costly if you aren’t quite ready.

Even with our extensive experience, we should have been more conservative when building our timeline.  During our move, we needed to extend our current lease by a couple of weeks which was quite costly.  This could have been avoided by just adding some extra time for the unknown and starting that much earlier.

Be Very Clear on the End of Lease Expectations with Your Landlord

Meeting with the Property Manager in advance of your departure and obtaining and agreeing to very specific requirements for removal of items etc. will expedite that process and the return of your security deposit.  You won’t have time to deal with it during the move, so clarity up front will be a big help and will avoid unnecessary trips back to your old space.  We had a significant number of built-ins in our old office space and, there was a misunderstanding as to which ones were ok to leave as is and which ones needed to be removed. Ultimately, our lack of clarity cost us a fair amount of back and forth and extreme inefficiency at the time of our move-out.  This could have been avoided with better communication with the Property Manager.

Don’t Put Off Decisions on Those Few Last Items…They Will Come Back to Bite You

Designing a new office requires literally thousands of decisions.  Many of these are delegated to architects, engineers and designers to guide you and narrow the field using their experience. Other decisions that remain, but don’t appear to be critical at the moment, tend to lag. Human nature takes hold and after making all the critical decisions there are others that tend to be put off. I experienced this with items like new side chairs for the offices and the display of photos throughout the space. When the decisions about these post move items were delayed, the project was held up.  Now, what seemed like an insignificant decision at the time, resulted in delaying the finished look by months. By the time we decided where to put our artwork/project photography around the space, we ended up having to redo our hallway lighting to accommodate and showcase the photos appropriately.  This was costly and could have been avoided with earlier planning. Resist the temptation to put off any decision, down to the very last item, so the entire project stays in sequence.

Examples of What Went Well

I was very proud of the project overall with a few notable areas where we avoided potential pitfalls with proper and thorough planning.  We did a comprehensive analysis of the heating and air conditioning in advance of negotiating the lease.  As a result, we were able to negotiate a complete replacement and redesign of the HVAC and now the space is comfortable and well-controlled.

Also, while it isn’t very sexy, we identified water infiltration issues during the demolition phase of the project. By discovering this early and working with the landlord in advance, we were able to resolve the problems permanently and avoid future disruptions and costs.


Relocating an office is a huge undertaking filled with opportunities to either plan wisely or learn some hard lessons. Hopefully our insights, both positive and negative, prove useful to others embarking on an office move. With thorough preparation, clear communication, and swift decision-making, the process can be far smoother and more rewarding than you might expect. Here’s to your company’s next chapter in a great new space!