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Tenant Improvement FAQ

Updated: May 31

When a client is considering a tenant improvement design, they typically have several key questions they will want to discuss with their architect.


Here are the top questions a client might ask:


How do you go about developing a design concept?

We start with talking to you to see what you envision for your space. If you have an already established brand or company identity, we want to make sure the design concept supports that, or if you have a new business, we want to make sure the design fits with your aspirations for your business. Typically, we start with different options for aspirational images and discuss what you like or don’t like and what is realistic for your budget.


Do you have an estimated cost for the TI? When can I get a detailed breakdown of the costs involved?

Detailed cost breakdowns are typically provided by the contractor. We are happy to recommend a contractor that can give you a rough cost estimate. Once you have a rough budget, we will design the space with that budget in mind and let you know if we think something will be significantly over budget. Once the design is done the contractor will provide a more detailed budget.


How long will my project take to complete?

The biggest limiting factor to how long the project will take to complete is permit timeline. Based on our extensive experience with getting building permits in Seattle and surrounding municipalities we can give you a timeline based on the size and scope of your project.


What permits will be required for the project, and how will you ensure compliance with local building codes and regulations?

The type of permits required depends on the project. Most projects require a building permit and possibly additional mechanical, electrical, and plumbing permits. We will handle navigating the codes, regulations, and submittal process for you. If your space has a commercial kitchen, you will also have to get your plans approved by the Department of Health prior to construction which we can help with and handle submission for as well.



How will communication be managed throughout the process?

We treat each project and client differently based on personality and needs, but generally, there will be a few meetings early in the project to make sure we understand your requirements and desires for your space. We will have additional meetings and presentations as needed based on the scope and scale of the project. Of course, we are always available by email and phone call as well.


Will you provide any support or assistance after the project is completed, such as addressing any issues that may arise during the occupancy phase?

Our typical scope of work includes working with you and the contractor to make sure everything goes according to plan during construction. If anything doesn’t meet your expectations, we will work with you to come up with options to address the issue.


What services are included in your fee?

Each proposal is tailored to the individual client and project, so you only pay for the services you need. If you have a simple project and only need us to help with a building permit to move a few walls we can do that for a small reasonable fee. If you need a full design of your space with options for layout and interior design concepts with renderings to help you visualize the possibilities, we can do that for a larger but still competitive fee. We will make it very clear when we give you a proposal what is and is not included so there are no surprises later.


How does this process start?

We typically start the project with a test fit. This is a basic space plan showing walls and large furniture and equipment that help determine if the space you are considering is the right size for you. You can also use this plan to get rough pricing from a contractor to make sure it aligns with your budget as well.



Do you only work with specific contractors? Can you recommend contractors?

We have worked with a number of contractors in the area and are happy to make recommendations of contractors that do high-quality work and have great communication for a competitive price.


Do I need to hire an architect?

If your project needs a building permit then yes, you will need to work with an architect that can create a set of drawings to submit to the city. However, an architect adds much more value than that. We can also help with space planning to make sure the space will function how you need it to; we can help create a design concept and select the appropriate finishes that will look good and hold up over time, and we ensure your project meets accessibility requirements (ADA).


Do I need to hire a separate interior designer?

We offer full interior design services in-house including space planning, design concept development, finish and fixture selection, and renderings if needed. By using the same firm for both architecture and interior design you will save money by only using one firm, but also the project will likely go more smoothly, and save you time by only having to communicate with one group.


Who will I be working with?

We typically assign two or three architects and designers to each project with slightly different roles, but also so we can provide a quick response and continued service even if one team member is out. We strive to keep the same team for the project's duration so you can get to know who you are working with. If desired, we can arrange an interview or meet and greet so you can get to know your personal project team.


For more information please contact Dylan Draves: dyland@tiscareno.net

101 Stewart St. Ste. 900

Seattle, WA 98101







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