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The construction of commercial property such as office buildings, factories, restaurants, motels and strip malls is subject to specific requirements to ensure that the resulting building is durable and safe for its intended use. Commercial buildings usually undergo annual inspections to maintain the integrity of the structures and the safety standards.
Observe Preliminary Requirements
Investigate the title of the land on which you want to construct your commercial building to ensure that it is suitable for the purpose. Confirm that the land is for commercial and not residential use in accordance with the local zoning laws and that the title does not have any other conditions that would effectively prohibit commercial development.
Conduct an economic feasibility study to determine whether the location would be ideal for the commercial use you want to put it to. You will also need to hire a surveyor, especially if you are undertaking a large project, to conduct topographical, soil and other investigations of the physical condition of the land to ascertain that it can withstand the project.
Draw Building Plans
Hire an architect to draw up the building plans incorporating all the design elements that you want in the commercial building. The plans should not only contain detailed specifications of the interior for your benefit but also full scale technical drawings indicating structural components such as floor plans, electrical, lighting, plumbing, ventilation and fire suppression systems. Include details of all green technology that will be applied in the building. In addition, contract an engineer to perform structural calculations for the building.
Estimating Costs and Obtaining Financing
You will need to ensure you have the money required to build your commercial building. You will need to calculate how much it is going to cost. If you don't have the funds, you will need to speak to a bank or other lender to borrow the funds that you will need. They will likely want to see a business plan, the detailed cost estimate breakdown, and your building plan before they will lend you money.
Obtain Building Permit
Inquire into the requisite number of sets of documents and prescribed fees, then submit the building plans together with your application for building, electrical and plumbing permit at your local authority. You will also need to fill a questionnaire regarding the presence of hazardous materials such as lead and asbestos.
The zoning, inspection and environmental services departments all have to review your submission to evaluate compliance with the building code and all other applicable laws before actually issuing you with the permit. When you submit your application, you will receive a reference number that you can use to check on the progress of your application.
Select Building Contractor
Select a building contractor, who will not only bring out your design skillfully, on time and on budget, but also one who is well-versed in building codes and modern technologies to eliminate the possibility of delays. Evaluate contractors on the basis of their reputation and whether they are registered with a professional association, licensed, insured and bonded.
Also consider their pricing and certifications such as in energy conservation. Inquire into their knowledge of building codes and commercial building requirements such as access for the disabled. Quiz the contractor on construction job site maintenance issues such as erection of temporary fences, signs, obstruction of sidewalks and right of way to limit the possibility of liability for damage to third parties.
Ensure Periodic Inspection
Schedule periodic inspections at the end of every construction phase to ensure the building is complying with health and safety standards. The permit usually indicates the number of inspections, depending on the size and complexity of the project. It is your responsibility to get in touch with the inspection department so that the inspector can approve every stage until completion of the project. The building will not pass final inspection if you were not diligent about the periodic checks.
- International Association of Certified Home Inspectors: International Standards of Practice for Inspecting Commercial Properties
- Dennis Glynn: Ten Steps to a Successful Building Project
- Building Arlington: Commercial Permit Review Process
- Business Development Bank: Constructing your own commercial building? 12 tips to build wisely
William Dailey is well-versed on local and international aﬀairs with sound financial, economic and business knowledge. He is an MBA and Business Administration graduate from the Kingston University and The London School of Business and Finance, respectively. William has been writing professionally since 2011.