Commercial Renovation Cost Estimation Per Square Foot

You are here:

Want to estimate a commercial renovation project but don’t know how?

Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Most contractors have to hire cost estimators and thus, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 200,600 employment is projected by the year 2030.

Thus, if you have to estimate the commercial renovation cost for your next project without hiring a third-party estimator, you are at the right place.

In this blog, we will discuss the factors you need to consider while estimating along with some ProTips. And by the end, you will also know how to protect the estimate.

So, let’s get started.

The Average Commercial Construction Costs Per Square Foot

Construction is a vast industry and has countless contractors. The competition here is actually fierce. Therefore, the average commercial construction cost per square foot varies significantly.

You can find a commercial construction cost anywhere between $30 to $450 per square foot.

We know it is a huge range but that’s what reality is.

And it has a reason too.

Actually, multiple reasons.

The average commercial construction cost per square foot depends on numerous direct and indirect factors.

And you need to consider all of them before your quote your price.

There is no shortcut for that. And if you want to make the most profit out of the project, you should not even try to find the shortcut.

The more precisely you estimate the construction cost, the better you will be able to negotiate and control the budget.

So, let’s know what factors affect the per square foot commercial renovation costs majorly.

Factors Affecting Renovation Cost

factors affecting renovation cost for estimate

As we mentioned earlier, the per square foot renovation cost for a commercial renovation project depends on multiple direct and indirect factors. Factors as temporary as weather can affect the cost.

Thus, we will discuss the major factors that directly affect the commercial renovation cost per square foot.

So, get a notepad.

Here are the factors affecting renovation costs.

  1. Preparation

    We must understand that renovation costs will always be more than the construction cost for the same square feet. Because in the renovation project, you would need to prepare the site for construction.

    Let’s say you need to renovate an office space.

    You would have to partially or entirely deconstruct the old structure. Therefore, the cost of demolition is extra in comparison to the new construction project.

  2. Pro Tip

    Deconstruct as much as you can and before demolishing.

    Sell or reuse the deconstructed parts such as tiles, windows, and doors. This can reduce the overall cost of demolition.

  3. Building Construction Quality

    You can’t get a Rolls-Royce at the price of a Toyota.

    Similarly, the quality of construction is a major factor you need to account for when creating an estimate. If the client demands top quality, you have to construct the project with the best quality materials and best craftsman which obviously costs more.

    Now, estimating a renovation cost needs to be done as quickly as possible. Thus, you can not ask the client about the nitty-gritty of the quality.

    Thus, commercial renovation is majorly classified into 3 classes of construction quality.

    • Class A:

      These are the highest quality offices that intend to stay there for long. An office space that has the best fixtures, interior, construction material, and exterior is considered in this class.

    • Class B:

      An office space that wants to renovate a section of the office, generally falls under this category. It requires medium quality for the fixtures, and interior and exterior textures. Moreover, it requires building material that is easily available in the locality.

    • Class C:

      These types of commercial renovation are just for temporary bases. For example— If an office space needs to extend a room and does not have a clear purpose for it yet, it will not include costly fixtures.

    Pro Tip

    Ask the client for the quality requirements prior and let them know the estimated prices for all three classes. This gives them options, and they might pay you more by opting for a better quality of the renovation.

  4. Location

    Location of the site has a significant amount of importance to the commercial renovation cost. Constructing the same office would cost differently in Las Angeles and in New York City.

    This is majorly due to the variable land cost, availability of the materials, and the availability of the technicians in the locality.

    Other than that, the geography of the location matters too. For example, a building has to be tornado-proof in Florida and earthquake-proof in California. This adds a special cost when renovating a commercial building.

  5. Pro Tip

    Do in-depth market research of the site’s local area for construction costs, land costs, and availability of the materials and labor and their respective charges.

  6. Size

    It is also known as the scope of the project.

    If you see the overall cost of the renovation project, it will increase with the size of the project. But that doesn’t mean it is costlier. Sometimes, a small-scale project is more expensive than a big-scale project.

    A bit Confused?

    Let’s make it clearer with an example.

    If a client hires you to renovate the corner cabin in an office space, the overall cost of the project will be less than the cost of renovating the entire office space.


    You would have to deal with subcontractors, order materials more than required, pay laborers for the day when the job is for a few hours, and similar costs.

    So, no doubt the overall cost of a small-scale project will be less but the cost per square foot of a small project might be more than a large-scale project.

  7. Pro Tip

    Know the exact scope of the renovation project and estimate construction costs per square foot based on the blueprint, design drawing, or plan for maximum accuracy.

  8. Building Type

    Different types of commercial buildings have different renovation costs. Based on the necessity, the renovation activities vary. Thus, the first thing you need to consider is what type of building renovation.

    To get you how much commercial renovation costs depend on the building type, let’s see the following table of cost ranges based on the building types of various commercial renovation projects.

    Building Type Cost per square foot
    Multi-story building $450 – $1000
    Single-story building $290 – $435
    Hospital or medical office $400 – $1000
    Government office space $425 – $840
    School and educational space $295 – $756
    Public space (Gymnasium, police stations, art centre $403 – $892
    Warehouse or factory $214 – $635

    These ranges are the averages cost per foot of building types across the US. Thus, this may or may not be the same for your commercial remodeling project.

    Are you thinking why so?

    Well, it’s simple.

    A commercial building like a gymnasium will have a distinct set of requirements, like wooden flooring, mirrored walls, and long-span rooms. These requirements are not the same as those for a hospital.

    Thus, it changes everything from the flooring, roofing, the type of equipment, furniture, and the finish and texture of the interior.

    Thus, the usage of a commercial office space impacts a lot on the renovation budget.

  9. Building Codes

    The commercial renovation depends on the applicable building code regulations too. The design and architecture of the commercial remodeling have to follow certain guidelines and local ordinances.

    These regulations affect the per soiree foot cost of the construction projects. For example, you need to make sure of the historic district compliance while remodeling projects.

    Other than this, complying with the complex energy, handicap accessibility, and environmental regulations.

  10. Pro Tip

    To create accurate estimates, you must have knowledge of building codes applicable to the commercial space.

  11. Renovation Material

    Material costs are such a huge factor that it influences the total cost directly. The material costs are something that a contractor can not negotiate with the client.

    Before estimating the total cost of the project based on the drawing, you need to know the renovation material too. If the client wants to use environmentally friendly materials, the cost of the project will increase.

    Calculating the right material costs every time is a hectic task that you can make mistakes in. If you want to quickly calculate an accurate estimate, try InvoiceOwl. It remembers the materials, its description, and the rates. All you need to include the material cost is select the material from the drop-down list and feed in the quantity. It will even calculate the applicable tax on the particular material.

Pro Tip

Considering the material cost not only helps you create an accurate cost estimate but, it helps you select the right materials for the project as well.

How to Control Commercial Renovation Cost

how to control commercial renovation cost

An estimate is considered accurate, only if you complete the project in the estimated costs. Thus, estimating commercial renovation cost is one-half, and controlling the renovation cost is another.

So, let’s quickly know how you can control a commercial renovation cost.

  • Plan for Unexpected Scenarios:

    When estimating the total cost, plan for the unseen obstacles in the project. These could include the fluctuation of current market factors, sudden hike in labor costs, and delay in construction. These scenarios might break the entire budget and even cost you the project.

    The general solution for this is by keeping a safety net of 15% of the total cost of the project.

  • Know the Project Accurately

    You can only estimate the accurate per square foot cost of your project only if you have all the information in detail. You need to know all the factors that the costs vary based, on such as the land prices, hourly fees of the structural engineer and the interior designer, labor costs, office flooring material, and the intended use.

  • Study As-Built Drawings

    As-built drawings are a must to study for all construction management professionals before the construction begins. It has all the specifications of the construction process.

  • Invest in Estimating Software

    The best estimating software like InvoiceOwl helps you create an accurate estimate quickly. This reduces costs for corrections. It helps you save time in estimating and focus more on executing the construction process efficiently.

  • Frequently Asked Questions
    1. How to calculate total square feet?

      To calculate the total square feet, you need to measure the length and breadth of the project. Multiply them with each other and that is the total square feet.

      For example, if you have to remodel a vinyl tile floor measuring 15 feet in length and 10 feet wide, the total square feet area = 15 feet X 10 feet = 150 square feet.

    2. How much does an office renovation cost?

      Renovating office buildings depends on both the design of the older building and the design of the remodeled building.

    3. How much does it cost to install a commercial bathroom?
      The average costs for installing a commercial bathroom range from $12,500 to $15,000. However, this is an average price and can be affected by multiple factors mentioned above.

    4. Should I invest in estimating software?
      Yes, if you should. Estimate software like InvoiceOwl saves your time and efforts in creating accurate estimates and helps you win more jobs. This makes the InvoiceOwl a worth investment.

    5. Should I opt to estimate template or estimate software?
      If you estimate less frequently, an estimate template is more than enough for you. But if you are a professional contractor, you need to estimate quite frequently. In this case, your should opt for an estimate software such as InvoiceOwl.


    Giving older buildings a new face is not as simple as it might sound. And estimating it is even tougher. The contactors need to calculate a lot many things at a time to create an accurate estimate.

    Thus, in this blog, we tried to help you with estimating a commercial renovation cost per square foot. Hope it has cleared your doubts and educated you on what factors to count when estimating the renovation of commercial buildings.

    If you too feel like estimating takes a lot of your time and still, you are not able to come up with accurate estimates, you need to try one of the easiest estimating software — InvoiceOwl. It not only makes estimating easy for you but lets you add a markup value to count for unseen issues, processing fees, and profit margin as well.

    So what are you waiting for? and get more jobs quickly.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the Founder of InvoiceOwl and is the main curator & writer of the content found on this site. With ideals of quality, commitment, and perseverance, he believes in creating lasting business relationships with the clients.


Rabat (Agdal)