Commercial renovation plan starts with smart thinking
Maybe you’ve dreamed of opening a business in a vacant commercial space just waiting for your special touch. This can be a thrilling time for you as you proceed, but also an overpowering one, emotionally and physically. But where do you start? Here are some answers to frequent questions about remodeling a business space in Avon Lake or other suburbs in Northeast Ohio.
Do your research
First, check with the city building department to learn the property’s zoning classification. In Avon Lake for example, there are four business zoning types: B1—Limited Business; B2-General Commerce; B3-Special Commerce; and O1-Office. Review the zoning classification to see if it matches your plan.
Then check on the certificate of occupancy and/or use of your potential property. This certificate lists what you use a property for under law. The easiest situation is to find a property whose certificate of occupancy matches your intention; otherwise, you will have to file for a change in occupancy.
In some instances, the certificate could be updated to include an additional matter. For instance, you might want to use a restaurant’s back yard for extra seating and the certificate must state this. It is usually easier to amend the certificate than to change the legal usage of the property.
Any open code violations?
If the potential property has been vacant for some time, it may have building code violations that haven’t been corrected. Perhaps a fire sprinkler system doesn’t work or an electrical installation wasn’t done properly. If these violations aren’t corrected, the city could bring a stop order on your renovations until the violations are corrected.
If you are leasing the property, correcting these violations is the responsibility of the landlord. However, this should be included in the lease. It’s best to examine the property accompanied by your contractor or architect, since you may not spot all violations by yourself.
Check the bones
Your potential space should receive a thorough review of the structure and infrastructure. If you plan to open up the workspace such as for an office, check the walls to see which ones are load-bearing. Removing such walls requires additional work. If such an open space is a mandatory design, and there is no way to remove the walls, you may want to choose a different space to renovate.
Be sure to examine the floors and ceilings for strength. If you leased a vacant space and intend to use it for repairing and storing vehicles, you need to be concerned about the weight the vehicles and lifts or cranes will add. Or for instance, if you want to open a book store, books add a surprising amount of weight to shelves and floors.
The electrical and plumbing systems need to be evaluated as well. Chances are you will need higher capacity for either or both. In the case of a new restaurant, the gas, plumbing and electrical supplies will be under increased demand, and you will need to adjust your budget and timeline accordingly.
Municipalities will want to approve engineering drawings and sign usage, if you will be including signs on the exterior.
Your building’s envelope
A building’s envelope is everything that separates the structure from air, water, light, heat and noise transfer. This includes the doors, windows, roof and similar elements. Check for any insulation or waterproofing concerns, for example.
Also pay attention to accessibility for the physically challenged individuals. The Americans with Disability Act, passed in 1990, requires businesses and employers to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Among the possibilities could be a ramp instead of steps, and restrooms and doorways wide enough to allow wheelchair access.
A major renovation of an older building may require the structure to conform to ADA requirements. Also, if the property is in a historic district, a renovation may need to follow requirements to maintain the historical façade.
The necessary rooms
Employees will need access to toilet facilities. Offices may be able to meet this standard with a shared restroom per floor. Larger facilities may need more than one restroom per floor.
Check the local regulations on toilet facilities, since requirements may change over time. In one city, for new construction or occupancy changes, the requirements recently lowered the number of public restrooms for small restaurants and bars with less than 31 seats to only one restroom. The same action allows those with less than 20 seats to not provide a public restroom.
Commercial renovations will go more smoothly if you consider these five areas—especially early in the planning process. You won’t want your dream to slip away because of poor planning!
There are endless for remodeling a business space in Avon Lake or other neighboring communities. The professionals at Sciarappa Construction are ready to assist you from the planning stages through to completion. By calling (440) 930-2882 or by emailing us at email@example.com, you can start to make your dream happen. We are at 32961 Oak Pkwy., Avon Lake, OH 44012, and have more than 40 years of combined experience in remodeling within the Bay Village, Avon, Avon Lake, and Greater Cleveland, Ohio areas. We are a family-owned and operated full-service construction company.
Sciarappa Construction offers services including new home construction, subdivision, development, apartment, and existing home and commercial rehab, plus general contracting and construction management.