How to Ensure Your Commercial Building is Up to Code

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 28 August 2019 14:52

If your business is expanding and starting a new construction project from the ground up, you need to get a lot of planning out of the way first. While renting or leasing out commercial space is often less of a headache, new construction has a lot of benefits too, particularly if you have unique requirements or specifications for your building. Once you’ve determined that new construction is the way you want to go and you’ve set your budget, it’s time to get your building permits in order. After you know that your construction will abide by local building codes, here are several key aspects to consider as you start.

Make sure doors and windows are fire-rated

Building safety is at the heart of most building codes, and fire safety is paramount in any new building project, commercial or otherwise. Two key features of your build to analyze when it comes to sourcing the right materials are your doors and windows. No matter what the material, fire ratings are always based on the time that it will take for the material to break down. In the case of doors, metal rates anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours. Wooden doors generally fare more poorly, with fire ratings maxing out at 90 minutes. What rating of door you buy and install is generally related to the kinds of ratings of the surrounding walls. For example, if your walls are fire rated at two hours, a door with a fire rating of 90 minutes will suffice. In walls that are rated higher, such as four hours, a higher rated door of about 3 hours will also be necessary. If you have any questions about which commercial fire-rated doors are best for your project, make sure to consult with local ordinances as well as your contractor.

Double-check that your roof is sturdy

The roof of any building is incredibly important and carries a variety of regulations that must be met if you want to pass a building inspection. Everything from the roof's wind resistance to its slope needs to be done properly if things are to be kept up to code. Even which materials you use have an affect on how your roof is constructed. If you're looking to construct a building which is environmentally sustainable, you'll likely have even more requirements in order to meet energy efficiency standards. For these reasons, you should always contract an experienced professional to handle the construction of your roof. Whether you manage an office park that needs commercial roofing in Seattle, WA or an ad agency that needs to replace its roof shingles in Boston, MA, hiring a local expert who knows the ins and outs of regional ordinances is a wise idea.

Inspect your HVAC system

Since your building's heating and air conditioning has a direct effect on the well-being of your employees and customers, it's vital that your HVAC is properly installed and maintained. Aside from keeping your building's temperature regulated appropriately, HVACs have a role to play in where air and moisture get disbursed. If your bathroom ventilation takes too much moisture into the ceiling, it may create conditions for mold to grow. This can be a safety nightmare and also cause a lot of extra work in order to restore your building to working conditions. Since all of these issues can derail your business' productivity, it's crucial that you get your HVAC serviced by a licensed local professional regularly. FEMA offers information on how buildings need to be constructed in order to be safe, and you'll definitely want to keep these in mind as you're applying for permits and planning your construction. Picking the right contractors also goes a long way in ensuring that your building is built properly and by the book. When in doubt, consult with your contractors and attorney, and you'll be well on your way to the new company headquarters of your dreams.

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Harris Johnston

Real estate investor with ownership stakes in commercial and residential projects in New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, Denver, and Laguna Niguel.

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