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Episode 8: Navigating commercial buildouts

Wed 15 November 2023

Last week on "What We Learned This Week In Proptech," Fernando and I delved into the intricate world of commercial buildouts. This topic, particularly close to Fernando's heart, unraveled the journey of a chef with a unique restaurant concept, ready to transform vision into reality.

Our discussion began with the initial stages of a commercial buildout, where the focus lies heavily on finding and outfitting a suitable space. "It's all about turning that concept into a tangible reality," said Fernando, highlighting the importance of selecting the right location and designing the space to fit the unique needs of a business, like our chef's innovative chicken finger restaurant.

The conversation then shifted to my experiences at Chubbles, where the week had been a mix of successes and challenges. The excitement of new subscriptions contrasted with the delays in releasing our national contractor API. "The main headache has been around infrastructure and release cycles," I said, emphasizing the complexities in technology deployment in proptech.

Fernando shared his insights on the role of commercial brokers, crucial in navigating the complex landscape of commercial real estate. "Brokers are essential in linking clients with architects, contractors, and negotiating lease terms," Fernando explained. However, he also cautioned about the delicate balance of brokers' incentives, particularly when negotiating work letters that define the condition of the leased space.

We also discussed the role of architects and general contractors in the buildout process. "Their expertise becomes pivotal once a space is chosen," I noted, underlining the importance of these professionals in the preliminary planning and execution stages. Fernando added, "It's a highly collaborative process involving numerous stakeholders."

One of the key takeaways from our discussion was the significance of permits in the buildout process. "Permitting can be a complex and time-consuming stage," Fernando said, stressing the need for early engagement with architects and contractors to ensure compliance and avoid delays.

As the conversation wound down, we touched upon the impact of technology in streamlining the buildout process. Fernando pointed out, "Tech platforms can significantly reduce time and complexity, bringing efficiency to a traditionally manual process." This insight aligns with the emerging trends in proptech, where technology integration is revolutionizing traditional practices.