How to Finalize the Office Lease Process

Last Updated January 11, 2017

You have gone through the earlier stages of the leasing process, evaluating your options thoroughly and finding a solution that directly answers your company’s space needs. You have also most likely worked with a tenant representative to negotiate the best deal possible. Now all that remains is to finalize your lease and get your space ready for you to move in.

Submitting the letter of intent

The first step in the finalization process is submitting a letter of intent. This good faith gesture indicates that both parties have reached terms which are agreeable to both sides. This is not a legally binding document, but it can serve as an effective brief for attorneys who will then review and prep the final lease documents.
Reviewing and confirming lease documentation

Your team should include legal counsel with extensive experience in real estate. Once the letter of intent has been submitted, this lawyer or team of lawyers will begin the review and negotiation of the final lease document or amendment. It can be important to involve your tenant representative in this process as well, as he or she will be able to consult with your legal counsel on any business terms involved.

Addressing design after the lease is signed

After your lease documentation has been squared away, you can begin addressing the design components of your space. You will want to have completed a needs analysis, space plan, and test fit by now, so that your workplace designer can get right to work armed with the most accurate information.

Optimizing your office space is not just a space improvement. It directly correlates to your organization’s productivity and can work as an investment in your company’s future, enhancing the ergonomics of an office, your business culture, and effective inter and intra-departmental communication.

First Stage— Development and Approval

In the first stage of the design process, you will want to engage a capable team, including a designer and a project manager. You will begin developing a design scheme. Make sure they are fully briefed on your goals for the design stage of your space. Begin assembling lists of furniture and finishes, as well as a detailed timeline and breakdown of costs. Make sure that you submit all relevant documentation to the building owner and any applicable authorities.

Second Stage— Design and Documentation

In the second stage, you will begin preparing the documentation that will be submitted to various contractors during the bidding process. You will also finalize the selection of furniture and finishes. During this stage, you also need to obtain any necessary permits from civic or regional bodies.

Third Stage – Reviewing Bids

At the beginning of the third stage of the design process, assemble a bid review panel that will help you review and select a winning bid. Review submitted bids based on pre-determined criteria, and run a thorough analysis of each bid.

Fourth Stage— Contract Administration

In the fourth stage, you will oversee the delivery and administration of all necessary contracts. You will finalize the appointment of all approved contractors, including the lead tenant improvement contractor. Scheduling quality control inspections is also a necessity, as well as oversight meetings to ensure that the project is on time and on budget.

Final Stage – Completion and Move-In

At the end of the process, you will need to oversee several critical bureaucratic necessities, including final inspections and a sign-off on the new construction, as well as the issuance of a Code of Compliance certificate. Run your final accounts and issue the cost reporting for the project. Once the contractor’s defects liability period has run out, run a final inspection and completion of works to finalize the process.

Coy Davidson

Senior Vice President at Colliers International, based in Houston, Texas.