Commercial Building Plans

September 17th, 2014 by Andre Marquez Architects

Do you know where to start?

Commercial building plans start slightly different from residential projects.

Oftentimes, residential projects are built in established neighborhoods, and the site needs are minimal. In commercial projects, however, there are many additional requirements.

For example, zoning laws will determine what you can or cannot build on a particular site, the size of the building, how many parking spaces you will need.

In addition, commercial construction needs to be approved by your municipality. Plans have to be submitted to an examiner, usually at the Municipal Planning Department, and they will require stamped (or sealed) drawings.

These will usually include civil (site plans), architectural, structural, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical drawings. Who creates these drawings? They are drawn up under the supervision of licensed professionals: architects and engineers.

Your first step may be to get a site plan done. For this you will need to hire a civil engineer. He/she will complete zoning studies and produce drawings which will show among other things access to the site, parking requirements, easements, and how much of the site can be covered by the building.

You will also need to hire an architect. He/she will use the information from the civil drawings to design your commercial building plans. Of course, you will need to be involved in every part of the decision making. You may need the architect to help you devise a program, identify needs and help you put on paper all the images you have in your head.

Once a basic architectural design (called a Schematic Design) is done, your architect will work with the rest of the engineering team to refine and detail the building. Depending on the scope of the project, these consultants will include Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical, Structural, Fire Protection, and Geotechnical engineers, and Landscape architects.

There are several phases and times of revisions and tweaking… but when their work is done, you will have a complete set of drawings ready for the construction phase of your project.

Another alternative, one which many people believe can save some money, is to look into pre-fabricated or metal building plans. There are many options, and many companies. However, regardless of what you are led to believe, please be cautious, and know that you will still need, at a minimum, a civil drawing, and in all likelihood, architectural and structural plans before you can erect any pre-fab building.

Do your homework!

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