You may not be as prepared for an electrical retrofit as you think. Whether large or small, when your building plans include system updates to modernize electrical, safety and technical systems – a staged retrofit plan will ensure the smoothest transition. 

To begin

You will only want to work with electrical contractors that provide experienced installers and project managers.  These individuals know how to develop staged project plans that include:

  • Utilizing temporary work spaces for business continuity
  • Developed budgets for affiliated costs, e.g. extra manpower to transfer computer workstations, telecom systems, or heavy-duty equipment between temporary and permanent workspaces
  • Arrangements for rental of alternate backup power systems and lighting
  • Requirements for relocating HVAC units
  • Assistance with off-site data backup
  • Proper disposal and recycling of old systems that may contain dangerous materials

Also, seek out contractors with extensive design experience.  They will know how to optimize the construction process, knowing best how to minimize reconstruction costs by working with the existing space, e.g. when incorporating updates to HVAC units, door access systems, security cameras, ventilation systems and lighting.

Kenny Electric assistanceFact:  Update or retrofit plans shouldn’t just bring systems in line with current standards.  A strategy that aligns with overall plans for business growth ensures building systems will be easy to maintain and scalable with future expansion.

Benefits of Strategizing

How do you know when it is time to update your building’s low-voltage systems?  Whether you’ve purchased an older building or are ready to update an existing property, you will know it’s time to update when you’ve examined a few key analytics.

  1. Can you save money by installing a more energy efficient system?
  2. Does your update align with your business strategy to move toward greener building practices?
  3. Do property values and low interest rates suggest retrofitting is ideal vs. new construction?
  4. Will updates improve the performance, esthetics and reliability of your building systems?

During a remodel or retrofit, costs can quickly escalate eroding any calculated savings.  Before beginning, be sure you understand:


  • Length, terms and conditions of protection
  • Ability to customize your coverage
  • If eco-friendly options exist to replace old equipment with energy-efficient models
  • Availability of certified technicians or replacement parts


  • Calculated tax savings or rebates from energy efficient or green solutions
  • Payback timeline on energy-efficient or “green” systems
  • Comparative costs between systems
  • Calculated annual savings of systems that include solar energy capture, water reduction, stand-by power reduction
  • Long-term maintenance estimates
  • Consideration for future increases in utility rates

Business Continuity – How to Keep Things Moving

Retrofits frequently take place in occupied buildings.  Ensuring tenants can maintain normal day-to-day operation is critical.  Work with a contractor who understands the importance of providing business continuity throughout the project and can provide:

  • A process strategy that includes articulated, linear pre-task and executable plan items
  • Realistic timelines and milestones that are strictly adhered to
  • A communication strategy for important announcements like suspension of service, directional signage, pre and post notification of construction milestones
  • Security measures such as I.D. badges, logoed uniforms, and emergency contact details
  • Flexible construction hours including after-hours and weekends
  • Ensured safety of building personnel and existing systems
  • July 24, 2015

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