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Simple guide to identify your commercial property needs

What do you need to look for in a property deal - Commercial and Office renting checklist, tips, and suggestions

Now you need a commercial space

Every business and industry have its own specific set of requirements and needs, whether it be an office space, retail shop, restaurant and F&B related, health clinic, or a fitness centre. At an initial stage people would be asking questions like, what size do we need? Where do we want to locate? How much are we looking at spending on real estate? Who else in the company should we consult or obtain an opinion from? With more stakeholders involved, the more things to be considered, and the decision-making process will become even more complicated. To help assisting you in making a wise and well-informed decision in finding the commercial property suitable for your business, here are some of the most common things to have on your checklist.

6 simple office and commercial renting ideas

We have listed out the 6 most fundamental elements you need to know before renting a commercial property:

1. Location

  • Close to your customers and investors
  • Nearby to suppliers
  • Conveniently located for staff
  • Near where you live
  • Industry cluster, e.g. science park
  • First one off your head

2. Budget - Monthly rental

  • A realistic amount you are comfortable with in exchange for the perfect location
  • Initially you may not have an exact amount, but you really need to have a ballpark figure in order to set yourself in the right direction that will definitely save you time and effort.

3. Size - Gross vs Net area

  • Most commercial properties in Hong Kong are quoted in gross area, which includes the internal usable area, structural, common area, washroom, etc.
  • As there is no standardized or commonly adopted definition of any description of floor area in the market for non-residential properties, it is best to inspect the property and take onsite measurements. It is common to see office with an efficiency between 60 -70% of the gross area, while retail space could be around 50-65% due to a higher number of spaces being shared for common areas.
  • Some properties are quoted in lettable area or net area, so again, inspect onsite and take measurements if needed.
  • One way of estimating the amount of office space needed is to firstly identify the number of staff in the office, and multiply by 100 sq.ft. (about 9 sqm) of gross space per person (on average) is a good starting point.
  • Depends on the preference and specific needs, allocate spaces for manager rooms, workstations, meeting room, reception, document storage, computer room, pantry, etc. Reference gross space per person:
    • Serviced office 40-50 sq. ft. (4-5 sqm.)
    • Office (high density, workstations) – 65-80 sq. ft. (6-7 sqm.)
    • Office (regular density) – 80-100 sq. ft. (7.5-10 sqm.)
    • Office (headquarters – low density, with manager rooms and conference room) 150-200 sq. ft. (14-18 sqm.)

4. Commercial air-conditioning types

  • Air-conditioning is particular important in Hong Kong, especially during the hot and humid summer. Pay attention to the air-conditioning type and its regular supply hours to suit your operation.
  • Central air-conditioning supplies chilled water during the pre-determined time frame, using a fancoil unit or air-valve that control the amount of chilled air into the property. For example, air-con for office properties between 9am to 7pm from Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturday, and off on Sunday and public holidays. Retail premises may have a longer air-conditioning supply, such as 12-hours of chill water supply per day, 7 days a week.
  • Split-typed air-conditioning is a machine that you operate at anytime, you can turn it on whenever you need.
  • With the advancement of technology, there is now becoming common to see new buildings provide centralized independent air-conditioning system. What it mean by this is the chill water is generated by the central unit, with the flexibility of having to control the supply of chill water on demand. Therefore, the user can enjoy central air-conditioning anytime they want.

5. Floor loading

  • With property for office and retail use, floor loading would not be a major concern.
  • However, for restaurants, F&B, medical with heavy equipment, and gym, etc, floor loading is to be looked at for the safety, regulation and licensing compliance.

6. Retail, restaurants, medical clinic, fitness centre, etc. shall pay attention to

  • Water and drainage
  • Town gas accessibility
  • Electricity loading
  • Floor loading
  • Air ventilation, including exhaust and air-circulation
  • Width and number of exit doors and exit routes
  • Lift size
  • Washroom provision
  • Waste disposal
  • Distance to exits, residences, schools and nurseries, elderly homes, as well as height above ground level.
  • Check for any existing illegal structures at the building
  • Loading bay and elevated platform
  • Industry-specific registration and licensing

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