Renovations 101


Tips to make renovations seamless and hassle free. 

Recreation is not a stagnant industry. Instead, we are constantly evolving and adapting in order to best meet student needs. Today, your recreation center might have a cycling studio and a functional training room. However, as trends shift these might not be needed a few years from now. Right now, your facility might be the perfect size, but as the university population starts to grow, you could need more space.

Chances are, at some point in your career, you will be tasked with an expansion or renovation project. When it comes to choosing an architecture company, you want the best of the best. Renovations and expansion projects take time, money and various other resources, therefore it is essential to take your time and do you due diligence when choosing the right firm.

With the help of Brian Beckler, a senior principle at Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative, we have highlighted a few tips for choosing an architecture firm.

  • Depth of experience
  • Previous experience with a similar project type
  • Established within the region (projects, networking, associations, commitment)
  • Chemistry/trust/personality
  • Flexible, willingness and ability to work together, TEAM
  • Ability to have fun and create an enjoyable process
  • Proven partnerships
  • Talk about and understands YOUR project.
  • Committed to the project, consistently available, responsive
  • Shows creativity in problem solving and aesthetics
  • Ability and design within a budget
  • Ability to produce high-quality documentation
  • Speed-to-Market capability
  • Ability to support project goals beyond design (community engagement, partnerships, feasibility/business planning,
  • Understanding and ability to maximize the end-user experience
  • Understanding of your business and ability to minimize long-term operations (staffing, maintenance, energy costs, built-in flexibility, way-finding, future growth/expansion, etc.)
  • Experience and ability to maximize programing capabilities, create multi-use spaces. 
  • Understanding and ability to help generate revenue.
  • Fees are important, but you have to consider the total “value.”
  • References are reassuring, but it’s important to ask the hard questions: what worked/what didn’t work, did working with this firm create value for the community, would you hire them again, etc.
  • Talk directly with architect that would be on your job before selecting firm.
  • Ask lots of questions.
Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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