2020 Tenant Improvement Trend Predictions

The latest trends in tenant improvement projects influence what construction companies are building, where they’re working, and how jobs are getting done. From sustainability concerns to accessibility, priorities in tenant improvement projects are shifting, and the latest changes to the field are giving rise to new opportunities. California’s construction market continues to be dynamic, and builders are needing to keep pace with labor shortages and rising material costs. Companies undertaking tenant improvement projects can benefit from taking note of the current landscape, and incorporating timely insights and takeaways. Here, we lay out our predictions for 2020’s most noteworthy tenant improvement trends.

Sustainable Building Practices

The word “sustainability” gets tossed around a lot these days. When it comes to construction, this trending term most commonly means one of two things: the types of materials used in a construction build and their resulting environmental impact, or the methods used to bring a project to completion. 

When it comes to materials, the sustainably-built projects of 2020 will opt for eco-friendly materials that reduce a project’s environmental impact. Prefabricated or recycled substances save money and the amount of energy consumed per build, and interest in these materials has been on the rise. Construction companies that want to stay ahead of the curve in 2020 can follow green guidelines that reduce water usage and incorporate energy-efficient lighting and heating systems into their plans. Choosing quality and local materials can minimize a project’s carbon footprint.

Meanwhile, digital innovations stand front and center as the biggest trend in sustainable building practices. Data and analytics can help construction companies source the best materials for each project, as well as make smart decisions about when and how to build. Software that enables communication between a company and its workers, clients, and vendors can decrease errors, improve project efficiency, and streamline the workflow so that builds are completed on time and within budget. Other technologies such as GPS tracking services, augmented reality, and wearables are sophisticated options that can increase visibility, increase productivity, and help a project adhere to sustainable guidelines.

Accessible Designs

A major — and vital — trend we’re anticipating in 2020 is tenant improvement projects that take into account the diverse needs of a building’s tenants and guests. Developing an improved awareness of the needs of individuals with disabilities can let companies make detail-oriented choices that significantly improve tenants’ experiences in a space — and this attention to detail is mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Wheelchair-accessible curbs that use tactile materials act in dual service of people living with physical disabilities and those with visual impairments. Automatic doors, wide bathroom stalls with grab bars, and low-flicker lighting are all factors that increase accessibility. 

Other more general trademarks of accessible design include well-designed outdoor spaces, which can increase the quality of a tenant’s employee experience. Construction companies should also be aware that smaller-footprint stores are trending: retailers are finding innovative uses for space that mean decreases in the amount of square footage used. As a result, construction companies will find themselves executing stores and stock rooms that are more creative than past iterations, and space pressures may see clients negotiating leases and layouts in a new way. 

Collaborative Work Spaces

Collaborative work spaces are becoming more of a focal point for many tenant improvement projects. Co-working spaces that allow several companies to work out of the same building have proliferated over the past few years, and show no signs of stopping. Construction companies should note that a short-term oversupply of co-working spaces is expected in the coming years, meaning that prices may drop, but the overall global demand for these types of spaces is expected to continue its upward trajectory

Even for companies not sharing their space, open office plans — the type that are frequently incorporated in coworking spaces — are on the rise in tenant improvement projects. These simplified layouts are said to provide greater office transparency, while also reducing the budget for office amenities. Although open office plans are popular, their efficacy is up for debate. Some studies show that these designs can decrease in-office communication, as well as affect productivity. While the scales haven’t tipped one way or the other on open office plans, construction companies should still prepare to engage with the trend.

Tenant Improvement Allowances

While the amount of co-working and office spaces is on the rise, other variables — such as remote workers and the cost of living in major cities — have impacted a landlord’s ability to attract and retain new tenants. The result? A more competitive marketplace that results in fluctuations in tenant improvement allowances. On the one hand, many companies are expanding their budget for tenant improvements in order to bring in new clientele. On the other, what used to be a profit center for landlords has stabilized; smaller footprints and competition for tenants has meant that companies are less likely to profit on any tenant improvement project.

The pressures facing today’s clients are myriad, and construction companies need to be aware of the changes in the landscape in order to adapt their business models and methods. Making smart, budget-friendly choices that still result in progressive builds will ensure that your company keeps up with these changes. Incorporating the right technologies, understanding the driving factors of the marketplace, and staying at the forefront of innovation will help construction companies provide quality services to their clients.

At South Bay Construction, we provide clients with quality construction, trusted relationships, and a promise to stay on the forefront of innovation through applying cutting edge technologies. If you’d like to learn more about us, or get started on a project, please contact us. 

Photo Credits: Shutterstock / SeventyFour, Shutterstock / Dmitry Kalinovsky, Shutterstock / ImageFlow

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