Leasing a commercial office space is one of the largest expenses incurred by new or expanding businesses, so it is important to do your due diligence. As an architect, I am usually called in when the lease is about to be signed and the business is trying to determine the cost and time involved in preparing a design for permitting and construction. From a designer’s viewpoint, this tends to raise a flag because it is important to look at the options in a space earlier in its selection.
Location can be driving many factors on where that space is located, but fitting your business within an existing building or space with its multitude of factors can affect its layout.
1) Square footage of space. Will it fit?
2) Orientation within the complex. Is it easily found, is it visible?
3) Orientation to parking and availability. Is there enough?
4) Restroom facilities. Are existing provided and to code? New bathrooms add significant costs.
5) Condition of existing mechanical / electrical systems. Depending on the type of business and its intended use, existing systems may be inadequate or not meeting current building codes.
6) Does it portray your business image or philosophy?
A well trained architect can look at a space to determine what may need to be addressed. We can look at the variety of options that are presented to you typically by a real estate agent. An architect can come up with a variety of layouts within the confines of a space to determine if it will fit with your needs before you sign the lease.
When you sign that lease and then hire a architect, it’s like buying a custom business suit without having it fitted first. Since its custom, it’s not returnable and you will be wearing an ill fitted suite for many years. It’s not really a custom suit, is it?
So next time your are looking to expand or update your current facility or lease in a new location, and your working with a real estate agent, hire an architect to help you with those design issues to make that space well fitted.