Business Owner: The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions
REALIZE the Possibilities. DESIGN Your Reality. INFLUENCE Your Life and Community.
For each commercial build-out, renovation, addition or new construction, we receive some of the same questions, over and over again. So we thought - why not make a simple FAQ that could be a resource for all our commercial and business owner clients?
Q: Can you just draw up a plan?
A: No, and here's why. This mindset discounts the value of an architectural partner. Your architectural partner is going produce construction documents that account for mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems, as well as, building, zoning and/or health department requirements. Furthermore, these documents are permit and bid ready - meaning you can submit for permit from the local municipality to begin work and obtain the most accurate project budget. Simply put, 'just drawing up a plan' is not feasible, and this mentality will ultimately cost you time and $$$ in the long-run.
Q: Is it necessary to have an architect on my team?
A: YES. Building off the previous question, your architectural partner is going to have knowledge of all local, state and industry building and zoning requirements. Without including these, your build-out, renovation, addition or new construction will have trouble reaching completion. Why? Because it won't pass inspection, which will cause delays. Furthermore, if any engineers are needed for your project, your architectural partner will have these professionals within their network. It's a much more streamlined and organized process. Lastly, your architectural partner should be present throughout construction to monitor progress and answer any questions - keeping the budget on timeline and within budget.
Q: What can I expect from JP Architects, Ltd.'s architectural process?
A: At JP Architects Ltd., we've previously written about this in depth. Click here to see that, but for the sake of this FAQ, here's a brief overview.
Walk-through > Design > Construction Documents > Permitting & Bidding > Construction
Before proposal, we will visit your site at no-cost to discuss your goals and expectations for the program you intend to put into the space. Once we understand the project scope, we send a proposal your way with a defined scope and payment schedule. Upon acceptance, we head back out to your site to take measurements and survey the area. From there, we continue through the process you see above. We'll move into design and produce a schematic design (floor plan) for the space. There will be an in-person, phone or virtual meeting where we discuss any changes. Once finalized, the project proceeds into construction documents, which are submitted for permit upon completion. And after review, you'll receive permit from the local municipality and congratulations....construction is underway.
Q: Will my program fit in this space?
A: This is probably the most common question we receive from our commercial and business owner clients. The answer isn't black and white, but what we can say, an architect will maximize space and explore how to include your entire program. This is one of the reasons to engage an architect early on in your search for space. You'll know from the onset whether or not a potential location can accommodate your program.
Q: What are some common occurrences that can affect my timeline?
A: Many business owners want their project completed within a matter of weeks. We've all heard the old adage 'time is money.' And there is no time this is truer than when you're trying to open a business / location. You want your renovation, build-out, addition or new construction complete so you can begin to earn $$$ on your investment. However, the reality is there are some common occurrences that extend your timeline.
Permitting, Inspections and Lead Time
These are unavoidable aspects of any project. And we hate to break it to you, but in the spirit of transparency, these don't generally happen on 'your schedule.' There are many considerations to take into account with each of these; however, if you bring an architect onto your team early in the process, you'll be better prepared to tackle each of these. Here's a brief overview of each.
Permitting: 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. Permit is provided when you submit your construction documents to the village / cities building department and they undergo / pass a review to ensure they meet all building and zoning requirements.
Inspections: Inspections occur throughout the construction process. Your contractor needs to be strategic about the call as it could take a couple days for the inspector to arrive at your location.
Lead Time: Contrary to what you see on TV shows, you don't just show up at Lowes, Floor & D?cor, Home Depot or any furniture store and purchase these items - they must be ordered, produced and delivered. 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.
For a more in-depth look into each of these, check out our previous 'Business Owner' entry on the topic that can be accessed by clicking here.
This "Business Owner: FAQ" entry is meant to give you a brief overview of the architectural process, address some of the common questions we see from our clients and reinforce the importance of engaging an architectural partner early on in the process.
A little extra 'inside information.....' As the business owner, stay in contact with your team - architect and general contractor. Consistent follow-up will ensure they're on timeline, scheduling necessary inspections and directing you to order materials and finishes.
Until next time,
Jose R. Pareja
President | JP Architects, Ltd.
JP Architects, Ltd. was founded in 2015 by Jose R. Pareja, AIA. We specialize in and are passionate about residential design, commercial architecture, restaurant design and public sector planning / capital improvement projects. Located at 7250 College Dr., Palos Heights, IL 60463, we serve Chicagoland, North & Central Illinois and multiple states. We complete hundreds of projects per year and bring sound principles of design, resourcefulness, reliability, unmatched quality, enthusiasm, creativity and functional design to each project. JP Architects, Ltd. realizes the possibilities, designs your reality and influences your life and community.