Deciding to take that next step and transitioning into a space of your own (whether you’re a first-timer or an old pro) is a big decision. The majority of my clients will only do one, maybe two building projects in their lives. If you are one of those — or know someone who is ready to do a building project — I write this to help provide some guidance. This won’t take into account every situation or cover every aspect of your project since each project is unique. This will, however, provide some initial thoughts. I encourage you to please contact me and we can discuss the unique aspects of your project.
I always advise taking a hard look at what you are trying to accomplish with this move. You are getting ready to spend some serious money and you need to do all you can to get it right the first time. Building projects tend to stand for awhile and can be costly to rework or fix. Start with asking yourself some questions:
- What is the main reason for this change?
- What am I trying to improve or accomplish?
- What would make this a successful project?
- What type of space is conducive to the success of my goals?
Notice none of those questions have anything to do with square footage or cost. We will get to those later.
Often times clients will come to me with a list of spaces they feel they need and this list is typically based on what they have now or something they have seen someone else do. That is the first thing I will challenge. You currently have four 10’x10′ offices and you ask for five 11’x11′ offices. Why? Because you need one more office and a larger size sounds nice. When looking at a new space, it is time to forget what you are used to and think instead about what you need, what would make your dreams a reality. This is the time to lay all your dreams on the table. This will be your program. Once you create a wish list, we can prioritize together.
At the same time that an architect is pulling information together based on your dream list, a realtor can pull market information so you can begin looking at potential locations. Working hand-in-hand, your architect and realtor can help you find what you are looking for. Once the market analysis is complete and we have your program, the next step is finding a place for you to land. This might be a brand new facility, an existing facility or a remodel. As the realtor brings various options to you it is best to examine them closely and get an idea what it would take to accomplish your dreams. It may also be beneficial at this time to pull in a contractor to help give some guidance on what the various options could cost. As the team examines the potential sites we can talk about size and cost, verifying what you need now and what type of space you may need to expand on later. At this time, you’ll want to consult with your bank to ensure your dreams are inline with their risk levels.
Depending on the project and whether the proposed site is a brand new facility or a remodel, it may also benefit you to get various opinions from other experts in the selection process. Civil, mechanical, electrical, historic, environmental, zoning, Federal Aviation Administration, health departments, fire marshal — these are just a few of the things that could come up and it is best to be ready to examine them before selecting your location. The right architect will help you examine each option, giving you a glimpse of what could be, helping you to see the potential advantages and drawbacks. Even if this is your first time, you should surround yourself with experts who will help you make a more informed decision.
Now get out there and dream. And relax. We are here to help make those dreams happen.