A banquet room is used to hold a large gathering of people for many different functions. Business meetings will need tables and multi-media equipment. A wedding party wants a room that is a festive place for catering and dancing. A lecture event will need a plan for a platform and rows of chairs. To accommodate the variety of uses, a banquet room floor plan will need to be flexible and yet able to accommodate all the different purposes for the room.
Check with your county's building codes and the state laws concerning public buildings. Each state and county has its own laws and they are especially stringent with a public building. Safety issues will be their primary concern in a banquet room. Doors will need crash bars for emergency exits and special exit signs and lighting will be required. Your state will also want you to have posters available with emergency numbers for police, firefighters and ambulances.
Design the floor plan to be large and unencumbered with poles and angles that will prohibit dancing or viewing a stage.
Determine the basic uses of the room and provide storage for the items that will not be in use at each meeting. A movable dance floor will need to be stored during a business meeting or used as a portable stage. Tables and chairs will need a storage room for when smaller gatherings take place.
Plan for a kitchen or kitchenette, an out of the way drink station and access to bathrooms.
Put all the plans on paper or in a computer file. Once the basic ideas for the uses of the banquet room are in place, the planning needs to be on paper.
Draw the room's wall dimensions on a sheet of graph paper or with a computer generated program. Each foot of floor space should equal to one square on the graph paper. On a computer program, you can type in the dimensions and the computer will do this work for you.
Draw the furnishings and stage or other movable objects to scale with the dimensions of the room. Have your city's building code inspector determine the seating capacity for the room.
Plan your electrical needs for the room. Codes will require standard 120 volt outlets on each wall, but for media needs, multiple outlets and even 240 volt outlets may be needed in the staging area. Consider your lighting and sound necessities as well as cleaning needs, such as a central vacuum or dust collecting system. These four systems will need to be designed into the floor plan and built into your walls.
Draw the plan for your heating and cooling system. Traditional forced air heat will need to be designed away from the media center. Moving air does not combine well with a hanging screen. Other heating and cooling options, such as geothermal or baseboard heat, may be considered and designed with the room's various purposes in mind.
- tea-room image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com