When Do You Involve an Architect in Your Business?

It is a difficult position to be in when starting a new project where you need to be issued an occupancy permit.  You start by finding a location or space that fits your desired function.  Whether it be as a restaurant, office, or warehouse.  With the help of your realtor, you locate the perfect space.

Many realtors don’t have the understanding of what steps are needed for the buildout or construction site.  Their purpose in the process is to find the space or property that fits your described function.  This shortfall in understanding the process happens more often with a tenant build-out rather than new construction.

So… you have located the space, negotiated a lease, and are ready to move in.  Most tenants we work with call us once they go to the county and discover they need a wide range of information before they can even apply for an occupancy permit.  Anything from a simple layout performed by an architect to get occupancy load calculation and knowing if there are enough toilets for the new use, to an interior renovation requiring various permits.  Most people know with construction, some permitting is required, but not the level of detail required.

The simplest tenant layout performed is called a Joint Occupancy Evaluation…where the previous use of the space is not changed when the new tenant takes the space.  Then there are various levels of renovation, but even moving a wall, door, lights, etc. requires a permit.  You can’t just do it…

Few business owners know that contractors want and need to see an architect’s drawings in order to provide construction estimates.  The process is pretty standard in our industry. We would discuss the project with you and what your needs are.  We would work up our proposal and be hired…hopefully, then would start the process of design.  This all happens before we can apply for any building permits.

During this phase, we have to analyze the space for code compliance.  From parking tabulations based on new use to zoning regulations because a second floor is needed and may not be allowed.  We would work with pointing out the discrepancies and do our best to manage your expectations.  Expectations of timing, budget, working with contractors and helping the construction process run smoothly.

Some clients are savvy enough to only need us for the permitting phase, but others would hire us to run the construction phase of the project.

In the best-case situation, a client would perform a due diligence period working with an architect, visit the site, and discuss potential difficulties…before the lease is signed.

So we are available for any phase of the process necessary to ensure the client is comfortable, but the missing link during this process is a client knowing when and how to engage our services.