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Moving Office in Jakarta:
An Overview of the Process

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As the cost of office space remains a bargain in Jakarta compared to its neighboring cities a number of companies have looked to move to reduce rental costs. Moving office from one location to another, whether renovating your existing space or setting up new operations, involves careful planning and confidence in the multitude of decisions one is faced with. Understanding the process will help anticipate these decisions and reduce the inevitable stress associated with moving. Professionals have divided the process into eight basic steps:

  1. Brief-taking/programming
  2. Schematic design
  3. Scheduling/budgeting
  4. Design development
  5. Contract documentation and tendering
  6. Construction
  7. Moving
  8. Rectification and maintenance

Brief taking or programming is the process whereby one defines their goals and needs. At this point a property agent and design professional should both assist in determining exactly how much space is needed and the suitability of any proposed space to answer those needs. This is done through staff lists, organization charts and a calculation of industry standards. Often the designer can prepare block plans to graphically illustrate departmental adjacencies and how a proposed building's geometry may respond to these requirements. The Property Agent can advise on such issues as rental rates, lease terms, etc. This is the stage where you can make an informed decision on where to move. The property agent may then negotiate on your behalf, your best deal.

It should be said at this point most offices are inefficiently planned. Hiring a professional space planner can often save many times the cost of their fee. CDA has saved some companies up to 25% of their rental cost by simply “right sizing” the operation. But saving space should not always be a priority. A well designed space can increase productivity, morale and reduce absenteeism. Good interior design should go hand in hand with space planning.

Schematic design is the next stage of the process where the designer will present you with different concepts of how the space may be laid out and will identify pros and cons of each. These concepts will need to be fine-tuned later once you, as the client, decide the direction you would like to go in.

Once a schematic layout is decided, the designer then can present you with both a Schedule and a Budget for the overall job. This should include all costs associated with the move, start to finish. Beware of those that give you a rate per square meter and are vague about what exactly this includes. A typical costing should include many ancillary but necessary items such as Security Systems or Window treatments and any other consultants that may be required such as mechanical and electrical engineers.

When presented with the overall budget you will see the fee for the design and project management is actually minimal compared to the influence and impact on the total job this professional will have. Beware of the false economy of so called “architects” who offer their services at discounted rates. Professional training and overhead is pretty much the same throughout the world as in Indonesia. Anyone who offers lower rates will be inclined to make up that cost somewhere else, usually through kickbacks from suppliers and contractors, giving incentive to will drive up the overall cost of the project. The International Interior Design Association has outlawed such practices and anyone who participates in such activity (KKN) therefore should not be considered a real professional. A project manager is trusted to control your budget and therefore their activities must be as transparent as possible to ensure you are getting the best value for your dollar in your project. Remember, a professional designer will create something unique just for you; it is not a mass-manufactured product, but a service you buy. This is not like buying a television where the price can be bargained down. As one wouldn't bargain with surgeons or even. So too with trained, qualified design professionals, you will get the service you pay for.

Design development is the phase where the designer will develop details, color schemes and will specify the precise materials to be used. Again a professional knows how to achieve innovative yet cost effective solutions and will discuss with you life cycle costing. That is; what are the advantages of sometimes using more expensive materials because they last longer. The design professional will know exactly what is available in the market, the cost and the necessary lead time to fit your program.

Once the design is finalized, construction or contract documents will be prepared. The more detailed these drawings and specifications are the more accurate pricing will come back from tendering (bidding) the project to the builder or general contractor. The project manager and designer can recommend a short list of qualified and reputable contractors and evaluate the bidder's submitted Bill of Quantities, based on their unit rates, with a recommendation for appointment. Once you decide on the contractor to use, the design consultant should then supply you with a standard draft contract between your company and the builder.

In foreign dollar terms the cost to fit-out an office in Indonesia remains a bargain. With international construction cost averaging in the $500 per square meter range, the current Indonesian average, all-inclusive costs are well below that and average somewhere around $300 to $350 depending on the level of quality what exactly is included in the calculation. Obviously further savings may be realized through reuse of existing furniture and equipment. Again your design consultant can advise you on the budgeting and costs.

Once underway the construction phase generally takes about 8 to 12 weeks depending on the complexity and size of the project. Ensuring a successful implementation, it is important for your design professional to monitor the contractors activities on site, supplying input into methodology and controlling the quality, cost and time schedule. Obviously cost over-runs must be avoided but sometimes schedule over-runs are potentially more expensive, often resulting in lost revenue, productivity and double rent. A design firm with a proven team of project managers can help you avoid such problems.

Nearing completion the next phase is the physical move. Just hiring a reputable moving company will not necessarily ensure a smooth transition without proper move management. Again your design professional should assist by supplying color coded move plans as well as insuring the site is ready and functional. Telecommunication systems, security systems and computer networks all should be tested and operational on the Monday morning after your weekend move.
Once the most stressful time of the move is over, it is time for proper follow-up and defect rectification. It is often said the last 10% of the job takes 90% of the effort and your design professional will assist in following up all the loose ends and implementing any necessary maintenance programs. 5% of the contractors fee will be retained by you to insure that this “punch list” get finished in an acceptable and timely manner.

This brief overview should help you understand the process involved in moving your office. Especially important in a developing country like Indonesia, your design consultant is your most important ally in guiding you through this process and assisting you every step of the way. As outlined above the earlier the design consultant is involved in your process, the more savings can be realized. Through not only space planning and design, but also through managing the schedule, costs and construction, your designer can eliminate many of the pitfalls and headaches usually associated with moving.

Building Evaluation Service

If you are considering a possible office relocation in Jakarta, CDA would like to introduce you to our free Building Evaluation service. While looking at different properties with the agents you may only be looking at what we like to call “rent & lease-conditions” in your evaluation criteria, but the appropriateness of one building over another is much more than that. What CDA can offer is more comprehensive evaluation from an architectural and interior organization perspective, which compares how well different short-listed buildings suit one’s business size, structure and corporate culture. This can be as detailed or as high-level as necessary.

For British American Tobacco, CDA was hired to do a very detailed in-depth study, creating a matrix of the 10 buildings they were considering and then evaluated and rated them according to various criteria: life-safety compliance, M+E systems, architectural finishing, geometric configuration, rent, parking, etc. ending in a final presentation and report with recommendations.

Most mid-sized companies however only require a high level study similar to what CDA recently completed for Santos Oil. First we will determine the required departmental space allocations based on personnel projections using our own formulas we’ve developed over the years. Through block plans, we then layout the departments with respect to the required adjacencies in the different buildings in question. It then becomes apparent that different building geometries dictate certain configurations that may or may not be suitable to one’s business; sometimes splitting departments onto different floors or dictating certain configurations. A review of the building systems and other characteristics may be included in this study as well.

CDA has also performed this building evaluation service for several multi-national companies such as Unilever and Philips among others. Through our nearly 20 years in Jakarta we have built up a quite a substantial library of building plans on CAD and are always happy to add new buildings if they are not currently in our library.

Generally property agents don't promote this value-added service to their clients. The problem often that they feel they have done it already when they compare contract conditions and may not want anyone getting between them and their commission.

If this service is of interest, we’d be happy to meet with you or your representatives to discuss it further. If not, CDA is also able to help in your planning in other ways; particularly in construction cost estimates for initial budgeting or in time estimates for your project schedule. If appropriate, please feel free to contact us, at no obligation. We look forward to hearing from you and the potential of helping with your project here in Jakarta.

© Richard McBride, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP

CDA is an experienced professional design consultancy operating in Indonesia since 1993. We offer a full range of services. Please contact us through our website at www.cda.co.id or call (62-21) 7280-1308 to ensure your next move is a successful one.

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