4 things to know as you build out your commercial space

As a small business owner, you have plenty of things to focus on: revenue, employees, business planning, marketing, payroll. But if you’ve recently leased a new space for your business and are working on a build-out, that may be another item you’ve added to your list. 

One of the top inquiries we receive are small business owners who have taken on the role of General Contractor on their own project or build-out to save money. So often, the DIY approach ends up costing these same business owners even more. Commercial construction build-outs are more complicated than they appear as there are County Construction Code elements and electrical permits that can only be pulled by a Licensed Master Electrician. The additional Fire Code requirements add a whole other realm of complexity that is 100% required in all commercial spaces.

It’s no surprise that successful small business owners are willing to take on their own projects. But while they’re experts in their respective fields, digging deep into electrical code requirements has probably never been a need until now. 

That’s where we come in. We’re also experts in our field, and specialize in the intricate details of code that most people might overlook. We are available to walk through the drawings with you before you start to help you establish a budget and understand county and state code requirements.

Here are our top 4 suggestions as you begin the customization and build-out of your new commercial space: 

  1. Get formal drawings. The Master set of drawings, which must be completed by a licensed architect and engineer, are the only allowable set of drawings for a project. If there are any major deviations from those, you’ll have to resubmit them to the county for approval. 
  2. Understand what inspections are required before you get your Use and Occupancy permit. The Use and Occupancy permit officially states that the business meets local zoning and safety requirements and may legally operate. A new Use and Occupancy Permit is required when a change of tenant/occupant, use, or ownership occurs and no construction is required. Without this, your business cannot operate. 
  3. Understand electrical and other requirements for a permit. Overlooking or not following some of these requirements can be a real danger to your business. Not only do code slip-ups cause potential safety issues, but it can also provide reason for a landlord to take your lease away. Leases often have clauses that specifically state the space must always be kept up to code. 
  4. Know when to ask for help. The cost to fix mistakes often surpasses what you would have spent on hiring an expert in the first place.

If you’re not aware of little rules like these, don’t worry, we’re here to help! Once you obtain the permitted drawings of your new space, we’re happy to walk through them with you and explain all the electrical and fire requirements for the building. And if the project’s total cost is more than $200k, we have trusted Construction Project Managers and General Contractors we can refer you to. 

If you’re working on a build-out sometime soon or in the middle of one now, give us a call to see how we can help!

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