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When leasing commercial space sometimes you find the perfect building or perfect space but there is just one catch - the space is a bit too big for your needs. No problem - the landlord can simply demise a space to suit your needs. Perfect - let's right size this office and move in. Here are the 3 elements to demising space that you need to pay attention to so it's not a nightmare after you move in.
Walls are walls, right? Nope.
Walls that divide one space from another are super walls. Demising walls between separate units have to go all the way up to the concrete (12-14 feet high), which normal dry walling an office space stop beneath the dropped ceiling (8-9 feet high).
They are also supposed to be fire rated demising walls to keep a fire in one unit there as long as possible before spreading to another unit. The extra height provides a couple of additional benefits:
Ensure that in your offer to lease or letter of intent mentions the use of proper demising walls, that will be fire rated, and will rise to the concrete slab in the ceiling.
Demising larger spaces into smaller spaces is part of being a landlord. Therefore one would assume that the landlord would pay for said demising.
It is the industry norm, but ensure that in your offer to lease, letter of intent or lease that it is specifically stated that if the landlord is dividing your space down to your size, that the cost of the demising will be at the landlord's cost. We have seen cases in which the lease is silent on whose cost it is and the landlord insists the demising wall is part of the leasehold improvements (by the way, demising walls are much, much more expensive than normal drywall walls).
For some rough pricing on a demising wall cost, click here.
Demising space means that you are putting up a wall that did not previously exist. What existed previously was ONE unit, not TWO. With one unit and one tenant, there was not a need to divide services (such as lights and thermostats).
We have seen cases in which the division of the space was handled casually...and then the tenant moved in and did not have light switches...the light switches were on the OTHER side of the wall. Oh, and so was the thermostat.
Remember the benefits of installing proper walls above?
Newsflash - not every landlord actually applies for building permits for all the work they do. There's nothing like moving in to your new office space and then realizing that you can lift up a T-bar panel at the dividing wall and see that you can see into your neighbor's office space.