Base Building Work- What is it? Who is Responsible?

We have recently written a few posts about what goes into the tenant fit-out process- the work letter and the T.I. allowances versus a turnkey deal.  Each post has mentioned that the negotiation process when deciding who is financially responsible for the work that has to be done before a tenant moves in.


During those negotiations, “base building” work will undoubtedly come up. The term refers to the part of a multi-tenant building that directly serves and affects all tenants. This includes the building’s primary structure, the building envelope, lobbies, hallways, elevators, stairwells, primary mechanical systems like the HVAC, telephone, water supply, etc.


Typically, the base building work is the landlord or developer’s responsibility. Because the base building impacts the entire building and all tenants, the landlord is responsible for the work both financially and from an implementation perspective. However, it is important for a tenant to understand what is considered “base building.” Some leases require that an office suite be returned to “base building condition” upon exiting. You would have to understand exactly what base building condition means to know how to leave a space so as not to be penalized.


While it may sound like a relief that the developer is responsible for the base building work, the tenant must be made aware of the base building work and specifications. Tenant fit-out work will inevitably tie into base building systems. Fit out and base building work will have to be coordinated and scheduled accordingly.

Watchdog Real Estate Project Management
Watchdog Real Estate Project Management is a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Management as well as additional blog posts can be found at
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