How Much Does an Office Build-Out Cost and What Does It Entail?

Under construction empty commercial retail space for rent

Executing a build-out or modifications for an existing building can be a challenging, complex, and costly process. If you don’t have experience with construction, you probably don’t even know where to begin. However, it might be necessary for your business, even when you take the risks into consideration. Knowing your office build-out costs can help you decide if you really are better off with new construction or if you should lease a different space.

Looking for the perfect commercial space to build-out for your business?
Graham Team Commercial Real Estate can help you buy commercial property in the Las Vegas area.

Office Build-Out Cost Per Square Foot

The cost per square foot to build-out an office depends on many factors, such as geographic location, building materials, and the size of the space. The shell conditions, or degree of furnishment, being delivered by the landlord also matter, with a grey shell being an unfinished space and a vanilla shell including basic furnishings. The type of space your business occupies, such as a typical office space, is another factor affecting the difficulty of modifying it.

The minimum cost per square foot starts at around $30 to $40 for Las Vegas office buildings and can go up to $120 per square foot. Medical buildings can have a higher cost per square foot, due to heavy plumbing requirements. Any specialty item or high-end finishes will also put the cost over $120 per square foot.

Important Steps for an Office Build-Out

The following factors will influence the cost to build-out office space.

Project Manager

If you do not have a lot of time to coordinate with a design team, then hiring a project manager is one of the first steps you should take during the build-out process. They fill a critical role by managing the office build-out project at every stage of the process to make sure your vision becomes a reality. Your project manager can handle everything big or small for your project, including bidding, qualifying, and hiring the architect, designer, engineers, and contractors. Additionally, they guide your design process, budget, and obtain the necessary permits.

Office Space Layout and Design

This starts with the hiring of the project architect or designer. The scope of the build-out will determine the level of experience and expertise required for the design. Simple small office layouts can be handled by a designer and delivered to the general contractor to design the final plans. More complex build-outs require an architect and engineers for several components of the design.

Selecting an office layout and design will set the course for the rest of your project. To experiment, you’ll likely create multiple test fits or concepts of the layout and overall design of your building. It’s vital to take the time to design potential spaces, as you’ll want to make sure you afford enough room to your employees, product storage, machinery, etc. You’ll want to make sure that your building’s floor plan and design properly accommodate your business and allows for future growth before you first break ground. Your layout will also represent the image, vibe, and feel of your culture, so it is important it be reviewed by key stakeholders for input.

Hiring General Contractors

It will take the work of many carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and other skilled professionals to raise your building. How do you hire and keep track of them all? A licensed general contractor is required for all commercial projects in Nevada. They’ll work closely with you throughout the project to oversee and manage much of the construction. Contractors can bid the project in generally three formats:

  1. Design-build with cost not to exceed
  2. Hard bid, which means they are presented with plans and specifications, then they provide a figure they will complete the job for
  3. Cost plus, which means they bid the project out to multiple trades and vendors, then they receive a percentage or flat fee on top of the costs

Each option has positives and negatives, depending on the project, the timing, labor and material availability.

Build-Out Budgeting

Many construction projects run over time and over budget, which can cost their owners a fortune. Proper budgeting at the beginning of a project can minimize the likelihood that you face overruns. You’ll have metrics that you can track throughout your project and will know if there are any warning signs. You’ll also know ahead of time if your project is economical or if it’s too risky to do a custom build-out.


Creating a schedule for each of our projects can help your building finish on time and within budget. By following a timetable, you’ll know the status of each component of your project and can be alerted to any potential problems if you notice any of them are falling behind.

New Construction Bidding and Permitting

Once you have the plans for your space, you’ll need to begin the new construction bidding process. If you are running a design/bid/build project, your general contractor will field bids on different parts of your build-out and will choose the best one, which may not necessarily be the cheapest. However, if your project is a design/build contract, which is less common, this process will be skipped and your general contractor will proceed to construction.

Construction on Build-Out

During the construction phase, the actual physical transformation of your space will take place. It’s important to remain vigilant during this process to catch any problems before they turn into major ones.

Searching for Las Vegas Office Space?

An office space build-out has high costs and risks, but it might be the right move for your business if you’re seeking a custom-made facility. However, if you find that there are too many unknowns when calculating your build-out costs, you might opt for an existing property. Graham Team can help you avoid those risks and purchase or lease existing commercial real estate that suits your needs. Contact us today and we can assist you in your search for the right location for your business.

Gidget Graham

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