Friday, August 31, 2012

Never Burn a Bridge! Free CEU's for Architects!

Architects - free CEU's - just e-mail Brian (my former boss at Pella and a good guy)

CEU Presenters - there is one spot still open for this, and they do it quarterly. e-mail brian - must be AIA course and prefer HSW credit. Interested - also e-mail Brian anytime - day night, ten times a day - tell him it was my idea!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Building Codes vs. Business

In an earlier post I recommended not waiting to hire an architect to either help guide your move into a new space, or to bail you out if the move-in and use doesn't meet the code.

I found a relatively easy solution so this tutoring office, school, and potential worship space can keep their doors open just as they are.

Or price the cost to stay, change their program/use, expand the amount of space they rent, or move out.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Landlord & Banker as Client

If you are a novice business Tenant, you rely on your banker and landlord for advice on business and space needs.

Don't forget to add an architect to your team, BEFORE you move in.

This multi-functional space is at times an Office, A school, A church.

While zoning permits all these uses, the building code has requirements that vary, and must meet the primary use, and maximum use.

In this case the configuration of the space has been forced to work as-is. Same with the exits.....but the configuration as is doesn't work, and opening up walls makes the situation worse.

Owner will now have to 1) change program, 2) remodel space, 3) rent more space to gain a legal second exit.

This is my as-built plan, and prelim code info....will be a struggle to get plan to work with minimal expense to all.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Church Seating: Quality or Quantity?

Knee jerk reactions usually don't pan out.

After spending considerable time developing and refining a sanctuary seating plan that meets the goals of the entire building committee, a sub-committee directed us to relocate the stage to the corner.

I spent half a day making this work in the computer so occupancy, exiting and row/aisle locations all worked.

In the end we got 70 extra chairs to fit. Success?

While there are indeed 70 additional seats....there are actually 90 less "good" seats, if defined as 8 or less rows from the only 14" high existing platform.

Further, the first 2-4 rows in this new plan only accommodate between 2 and 4 folks sitting together!

They must now also build a back-wall, build two additional odd shaped stairs to behind the stage storage, as well as infill a triangle of space between the existing ramp and stage = $$$$ they don't have access to now.

There is no formal center aisle for weddings.

Overflow seating in the fellowship has half the visibility of the alter.

The ceiling lighting will have to be switched in a staggered fashion rather than front/middle/back creating distractions.

There are also 40 extra seats now under the existing lower ceiling.

Finally, in the original plan almost every seating row could exit to the left or right, and walk around the perimeter to find a seat or leave mid-sermon with minimal distraction to others.

Architects design for a reason. I have yet to have a "new" idea introduced after a solid design process that was actually better than the current solution.

A wasted day?

The congregation now has a seating layout that permits them to "pack them in" on Easter and Christmas, delaying the need for a third service and stalling the need for phase 2....a doubling of this sanctuary in 3-5 years.

Current plan:

Proposed Plan:

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Location:Elk River, MN

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scary Letter from the Fire Marshall

If you get a letter from a government agency telling you they are going to shut you not wait until the DAY BEFORE they are going to shut you down to call me.

A client received this letter two weeks before calling me. I could have resolved the issue in one week. Now I have one day....and will most likely fail to satisfy the fire Marshall with a preliminary code study. And they are so much easier to work with once irritated (sarcasm).

I hope this tiny Somali specialty school gets to stay open, but I am guessing they will be closed as of 2:00 today until I finish my work by noon Friday, and then wait to see how quick the City staff feels like taking to "process" their plan review, comments, re-review, inspection then issue a certificate of occupancy.

I will update status via comments to this post.....till then: CALL AN ARCHITECT.....planning and asking permission keeps your business in business rather than burying your head in the sand.

Yes this problem was created by "just moving in" and ignoring the change-of-use threshold requiring a building permit.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Hardware Matters!

Goals for commercial projects vary WIDELY, but when it comes to door hardware the goal is always the same.....satisfy everyone and, except for a few specialty doors, stay in the background.

The above is an opening schedule: this and the hardware specification are two of the most important parts of a project.

Who cares about doors and door hardware which includes: hinges, pull bars, push bars, kickplates, deadbolts, delayed egress, electric strikes, magnetic locks, magnetic hold opens, lever styles, color of hardware, type of locks: classroom, storeroom, office passage. Thresholds, hinges, overhead stops, wall stops, closers, panic devices, coordinators, drip caps, wall stops, floor stops, smoke gaskets, temperature rise, hollow metal frames, wood frame, aluminum frames, insulated glass, tempered glass, wired glass, Firelite, number of square inches allowed, fire rating, door swing, direction of travel, various levels of security keys, building security, building control, fire doors, door height, width, type of wall, installation method.....?

Who cares?
#1) the end user, but they have no idea what is behind the decisions made, but it better work the way they expect it to. There is one client and hundreds of end users: workers, customers, guests, thieves, fire/smoke emergency victims, EMT's, funeral directors, furniture movers...

#2) Architect.....not only to best serve #1's and therefore their client, but because they are ultimately legally responsible for #3's concerns.

3) Fire Marshall and Building official....getting people out of, or safe within, a building in an emergency such as a fire, explosion or 747 crashing into the building.

4) Contractor needs a "system" of miscellaneous parts from literally dozens of different manufacturers to arrive on-site, work with each other, be easy to install and adjust, and work long term to prevent call-backs.

So, the morale of the story is hire an architect who appreciates the importance of the invisible details of the project, and strives for perfection.

The next time you walk into a building look at the pull that you touch, the way it locks, how is the door attached to the frame?

What keeps the door shut, helps the door open easily, keeps the cold and wind out, doesn't trip you......

The goal is for you to NOT know what is involved, your operation of the door should be easy if not instinctive. If it is not.....someone screwed up.

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