REALIZE the Possibilities. DESIGN Your Reality. INFLUENCE Your Life & Community
Common Misconception: Your commercial renovation / build-out will be completed within a matter of weeks, and you will be open for business.
Reality: There are some aspects of the process you need to take into consideration when putting together a projected and accurate timeline. We’ll highlight those below.
We get it…As a business owner you want your renovation or build-out to interfere with business operations as little as possible. And to make it worse…All the TV shows you see reinforce the idea that projects only taking a number of weeks.
However, real life is not a television show. There are parts of the process not shown during those episodes. Don’t worry though…JP Architects, Ltd. is here to set the record straight.
Question: So exactly what aspects extend your commercial renovation or build-out timeline?
Answer: Permitting, Inspections and Lead Time
Permitting is an integral part of the process because without a permit many villages / cities will not allow you to get started, which is why it’s important to bring an architect onto your team sooner than later. While villages / cities have different policies, more often than not, permit is provided when you submit your construction documents to the village / cities building department. Those documents undergo a rigorous review to ensure they meet all local zoning and building requirements. Once approved, permit is posted in your window and your contractor can begin construction.
JP Architects, Ltd. construction documents always account for local zoning and building requirements. Additionally, prior to beginning a relationship with our architecture firm, we provide business owners with a zoning review to ensure their vision can be achieved under current conditions of the property.
However, sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances that occur during the review process that could delay approval. Two come to mind:
- Unique Building Requirements: Since you are renovating an existing building, there may be necessary updates to the existing structure, as it will no longer be “grandfathered” in under its current form. This could include fire systems, mechanical, plumbing, façade updates, etc. We research this prior to producing the construction documents; however, sometimes villages / cities have very specific zoning and building requirements that are specified during review and must be accounted for within an updated submission of your construction documents.
- Third-Party Reviewers: Many villages / cities work with a third-party to review documents. While generally they are prompt in their turnaround time, it is difficult to control or influence their timeline. Follow-up and complete, accurate construction documents are key to expediting this process.
An added bonus: Our construction documents allow business owners to obtain accurate bids from contractors. They’re also easy for your contractor to understand and build from. If followed properly, you will have no issue passing inspections, which brings us to our next point.
Inspections occur throughout the construction process. Once demolition has been completed and mechanicals, plumbing and electrical are installed, your contractor must contact the village / city to schedule a rough inspection before drywall.
Here’s the thing though.
Inspectors aren’t just waiting for your call. They’re out there inspecting other jobs, in meetings…Bottom line is, they’re busy. So your contractor needs to be strategic about the call as it could take a couple days for the inspector to arrive at your location.
After rough inspections are complete, your contractor will be able to get back to work and continue renovating / building out your space. There’ll be one more inspection scheduled at the end of construction and once passed, you’ll be ready to open. This final inspection accounts for any zoning and building requirements that are visible to the public or safety-related. For example, your fire alarm system, heating, light level, outlets available, ADA compliance throughout the space, bathroom accessibility, etc.
A little professional insight…In order to have a final inspection on your new business renovation / build-out, your facility must be completely finished. If not, the inspector will show up and ask you to reschedule. The reason we make light of this is because you need to ensure your permanent interior design materials are in place for inspection. Contrary to what you see on TV shows, you don’t just show up at Lowes, Floor & Décor, Home Depot or any furniture store and purchase these items – they must be ordered, produced and delivered. There is LEAD TIME to account for before scheduling the final inspection.
As said above, on many materials and finishes for your project there is production and delivery time to factor in. This is especially true if you want high-quality material and finishes as they are not available in store. For example, casing (cabinets) can take up to six weeks to produce and deliver.
Bottom Line: Materials and finishes should be ordered while construction is ongoing so that you can ensure there’s no delays in your timeline and make changes if product is damaged or not what you thought.
So to wrap this up – here’s ultimately what you need to know.
- This article was not written to scare you away from undertaking an office renovation or build-out. We’re being as transparent as possible about the entire process so that business owners understand the reality of the project and plan accordingly.
- THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Plan, plan, plan. Bring an architect onto your team early on in the process so that you can be aware of and prepared for all zoning and building requirements.
- Thorough, accurate & complete construction documents are the “golden ticket” to a successful, timeline-friendly renovation / build-out.
- As the business owner, stay in contact with your team – architect and general contractor. Make sure they’re on timeline, scheduling necessary inspections and directing you to order materials and finishes.
Until Next Time,
Jose R. Pareja, AIA
JP Architects, Ltd. was founded in 2015 by Jose R. Pareja, AIA. We specialize in and are passionate about residential design, commercial architecture and public sector planning / capital improvement projects. Located at 7250 College Dr., Palos Heights, IL 60463, we serve North and Central Illinois. We complete hundreds of projects per year and bring sound principles of design, resourcefulness, reliability, unmatched quality and enthusiasm to each project. JP Architects, Ltd. realizes the possibilities, designs your reality and influences your life and community.