Facing and conquering renovation challenges in busy commercial spaces

July 13, 2017




Cicero’s Development Corp. recently completed the renovation of a government office located in the south Chicago suburbs. The project’s scope consisted of removing wallcovering and preparing walls for installation of new wallcovering in a roughly 15,000 square foot office space housing approximately 75 employees. Working around sensitive information made this project especially unique requiring contractors to be pre-screened prior to beginning the project.


In order to ensure there was no compromise in maintaining the confidentiality of workstations, Cicero’s collaborated with the client’s office manager to develop a work schedule right down to the most infinite details. After several alterations, the final schedule provided the specific area, time, day and the manpower needed to perform the work. What typically in similar projects is an 8 hour or more work day, had to be limited to 6 hour days, Monday thru Friday with very little flexibility in area, time or day.


The project didn’t go without challenges, but because of Cicero’s ability to identify and provide solutions for these challenges, we were able to move the project along without jeopardizing the already tight schedule or budget.


One of those challenges involved moving and replacing furniture, computers, telephones, wall hangings, knickknacks, etc. within the designated work areas each night. Because everything had to be kept in tack, which meant no disconnecting of computers or telephones, wall hangings and knickknacks had to be placed back as found, it was necessary that our workers form an assembly line of sort with each person being responsible for a particular task. We would have a worker walk thru the designated work area with our client’s office manager each day as photographs were taken of the work space. This needed to be done in order for the office manager to ensure that there was no sensitive paperwork left out that could possibly be inadvertently photographed and so that furniture and belongings could be replaced exactly as found.


As this walk thru was taking place, another worker was responsible for tagging each area’s work space with the belongings of that same area. When removing the furniture from the office area, cubicles and file cabinets had to be removed all in one piece. The file cabinets were all full, so it was imperative to have all the proper equipment and tools needed on the jobsite in order to move the furniture and that all safety requirements for removing and replacing the furniture were followed. Some work spaces were in very tight quarters which made moving furniture around pretty difficult. In those instances, we utilized various means and methods to lift the furniture, place it on furniture slides, move the furniture away from the wall providing just enough space for one worker to strip the wall covering, prep the walls and hang the new wall covering. This entire process was supported by a team of laborers to assist our skilled wall paper hangers in accomplishing this extremely challenging process as efficiently and effectively as possible.


Another challenge we encountered was a substantial amount of wall repair that we had not anticipated, which involved using water to strip wall covering that was difficult to remove or to prime and patch a wall and make ready to hang the vinyl. All this had to still be done within the 6 hour time frame along with replacing the furniture and all the belongings. What we were able to do in this situation, was to work with our client to tweak their HVAC system to run in such a way that allowed the air to be pushed out and we brought in fans and de-humidifiers to move air around within the contained work space, thus controlling the volume of air and allowing the area to dry out faster.


Although this project was unique in expectations and involved some challenges, the outcome was a successful one in that it provided our client with the finished product that was desired on budget and all of the work stations were returned fully functional a day earlier than scheduled.

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