No matter how many times you’ve remodeled your home, this experience doesn’t prepare you for a commercial remodeling project. The process, timelines and dynamics of commercial remodeling differ in many ways from residential projects. As Maryland commercial remodeling specialists, we find that our clients appreciate our ongoing guidance and support during the project, because many of them didn’t know what to expect and how to resolve the issues that came up. We’ve put together this short list of 3 questions you should ask yourself before jumping head first into commercial remodeling. This will help you plan ahead and avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.
Will the building use get affected?
When it comes to commercial properties, you have to consider zoning regulations before remodeling your new office space or other facility. Zoning is typically determined on the city or county level, and each commercial space is zoned for specific use or multiple uses. Take a closer look at zoning especially if you are not going to use the space the same way the old owner did. For example, if you plan to convert an old warehouse into an office, this may or may not be allowed in your area. It’s best to research the zoning before you even buy or rent the property.
Keep this in mind: just because a property you’ve purchased has been used as an office in the past, doesn’t mean this use is permitted under the current zoning regulations. It could have been permitted at one point, but not anymore. If you run into a situation like this, sometimes you can prove that the use has a “nonconforming status” and receive a permission to continue the use established by the past owner.
Will you be making changes to the exterior?
Does your remodeling plan include changes to the exterior? Even if you are not changing the exterior on purpose, you may end up doing it when you replace or add new windows, change doors, etc. If your building is in a major city such as Baltimore, especially in the old parts, it may be located in a “design district.” This means that any changes to the exterior will have to go through the review process before they are approved. This can be time-consuming and lead to unnecessary delays, so it’s often not worth messing with the exterior if it can be avoided.
Is your space ADA-compliant?
If you are altering “primary function areas” of your facility, you have to consider ADA compliance. Primary function areas are spaces like offices, waiting rooms food courts, and other places where your employees and/or customers are served. ADA requires barrier-free travel paths between these function areas, and also requires you to spend up to 20% of your remodeling budget on making these accessibility improvements. If this amount can’t cover all of the improvements needed, focus on what’s most important, such as entrances, restrooms and hallways.
As you can see, there are many things to worry about and many regulations to comply with when you are dealing with commercial remodeling. That’s one of the reasons why it’s crucial to hire an experienced and reliable Maryland commercial remodeling contractor to guide you.
Feel free to contact Northstar Commercial Construction for a consultation to discuss your upcoming commercial remodeling project!