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Anyone able to do buildout WITHOUT hiring an architect?

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I'm dealing with the building owner who has an architect doing drawings for his old 25,000sf building, of which I'm renting 2300sf, and the building owner's property manager keeps insisting that I need my own architect for my space - and he says I should have $15,000 allotted for one. He keeps trying to sell me on his friend who's an architect. About 5000sf of the building is warehouse of which I'm taking a little less than half. The lease negotiations included that the building owner is responsible for the cost of a demising wall, HVAC, ADA restrooms, dedicated gas and electric to my space, and plumbing to the tasting room bar and the still/ manufacturing area. My responsibilities include building the actual bar, installing my equipment (including a small steam boiler), and the separation of tasting/ retail from bonded area for TTB purposes. Given that the bulk of the work is to be done by the building owner, I don't see a need for me to hire an architect for my purposes. It seems to me that I would just need contractors to pull permits for the work that I need done.

I'd never hire their architect anyway as I've already had to provide them with the IBC, IFC, and NFPA citations that I used to argue my F1 occupancy as opposed to an H3 with the fire marshall.

Anyone out there able to offer insight?

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I didn't use an architect either but I would mention that a "demising wall" will probably only be a fire partition, not a firewall. That has the potential to give you a headache with the fire marshal. I didn't know there was a difference between the two but my fire marshal certainly did. In general, I have no idea why you would need an architect to plan out such a small space (or even a bigger one though they might have pointed out I had a fire partition and not fire wall).

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Specific to our situation, the answer to the question is "no". We had to hire an architect, at the request of municipal zoning.

However, the suggestion that you have a $15,000 job is insane. I shopped the specs for our job to a number of architects. All of the multi-partner architectural firms came back with estimates in the $4000 - $5000 range. I then got a response from a licensed, sole practitioner who offered to do the job for $1500.

I would suggest that route, if it's available to you.

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My tasting room bar/sinks where subject to a commercial code inspection by the city I am in.. They required me to submit stamped drawings when I submitted for the permit; so I ended up needing an architect for some of the work you are describing as being your responsibility. I have also always needed to submit drawings for the addition of walls/separators, etc as the first part of the review (before they issue the permit to begin work) is making sure you maintain proper clearances, access, fire-escape, occupancy, etc. On a few occasions I have had inspectors allow me to create my own drawing for smaller changes. Best bet is making friends with the inspector now and getting him to tell you exactly what you will need.

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Thank you for the responses - all were very helpful!

I ended up speaking with the building owner today and he expressed similar frustrations with his own building manager. He has offered his stamped drawings for me to provide to an architect of my choosing - to be used as a starting point - if it becomes necessary to hire my own.

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I'm at the point in my process where I've signed the lease on my building and now need to do some interior renovation work to make the building fit our needs. Basically, we need to open some space up by removing some interior non-structural walls (old offices) as well as the obligatory plumbing and electrical modifications for the distillery equipment. I've gotten a bid from an architect that I consider way way way out of line and I was wondering:

1) since no real structural work is required, do I even need an architect to get my building permit

2) can anyone give me a ballpark estimate of what an architect may charge me to provide stamped drawings for a 6000 sf building (3000 main floor, 3000 basement)?

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I'm at the point in my process where I've signed the lease on my building and now need to do some interior renovation work to make the building fit our needs. Basically, we need to open some space up by removing some interior non-structural walls (old offices) as well as the obligatory plumbing and electrical modifications for the distillery equipment. I've gotten a bid from an architect that I consider way way way out of line and I was wondering:

1) since no real structural work is required, do I even need an architect to get my building permit

2) can anyone give me a ballpark estimate of what an architect may charge me to provide stamped drawings for a 6000 sf building (3000 main floor, 3000 basement)?

It's going to depend on your city, state and other regulatory agencies. We went into a rectangular, single room 2000 sf space and changed nothing except for adding a little plumbing outside the walls and having a few electrical cords run outside the walls. Still had to have the signed plans for the basic layout of the space sent to the city and to a local government office that you (thankfully) most likely don't have to deal with wherever you are.

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My municipality required stamped drawings. As a result of 9 months of buildout delays caused by my landlord I ended up negotiating with him that he cover the cost of the architect/ engineers - after I'd threatened to leave. I don't know what that cost was. I did end up having to hire one engineer directly (for steam design for mash tun and still) and that was $950.

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I'm an Architect and trying to start my own craft distillery. Even though I can do a bulk of the design work myself, it's still likely I'll have to hire an engineer for some of the mechanical systems. There are a LOT of variables. If you were moving in to an old micro brewery and making no changes, you might not need one. Usually though if you need a building permit, and it's commerical, you're going to need a stamped set of drawings. (Residential is a whole other beast.)

Just because a space is small doesn't mean it isn't complicated. Just because a space is big, doesn't mean it has to be expensive. The general rule of thumb is +/- 6% of your construction cost (mind you if they have to hire engineers, that comes out of their 6%). If there's a lot of code research involved (muti tenant/fire separations, change of building use) that can drive up the cost as well.

You might not think there's much to the drawings but there's a lot to the paperwork and anyone putting their stamp on it is liable fo the health, saftey and welfare of the people in and around that building.

If there is infrastructure that needs to be put in by the owner to be able to fit out your space, that might be a reason for the high cost. 15k does sound steep, but like I said, variables abound.

We were hoping to buy a building, then it would be cut and dry for me. As it stands now we're looking at a lease, and I'm plenty confused about how to approach who pays for what. That's not the end of the business I ever have to deal with.

I'm hoping once I get through my own set up, I can start helping others out as well. There's still a lot to learn.

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We made it through the following without stamped drawings:

Special Use Permit

ZBA Parking Variance

City Commission Approval of Small Distillers License

Now that we're getting building permits and building out the use areas (F-1, Business, A-2), they're requiring the stamped drawings.

We called in some local favors to companies that have supported start-ups and craft breweries and have had success with TowerPinkster

Cheers

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On July 15, 2014 at 10:52 AM, OldSpye said:

Specific to our situation, the answer to the question is "no". We had to hire an architect, at the request of municipal zoning.

However, the suggestion that you have a $15,000 job is insane. I shopped the specs for our job to a number of architects. All of the multi-partner architectural firms came back with estimates in the $4000 - $5000 range. I then got a response from a licensed, sole practitioner who offered to do the job for $1500.

I would suggest that route, if it's available to you.

Totally agree - go with a local sole practitioner. We were lucky enough to find one who has done a distillery previously, and he's been very helpful. 

With that being said, we are in the midst of our building inspections, and they have not gone smoothly (not the architect's fault). My advice is to get a team of folks who know the town officials, the inspectors' preferences, and how to navigate the municipality. Without that knowledge (or in some cases, like ours, even with that knowledge base) you could end up spinning wheels and draining bank accounts while you debate with them the necessities for a relatively small distillery operation.   

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15k might be too high, but it will be more than you expect.  We had to do plans for our space which was 2000 sq ft.  We ended up with plumbing, electrical, mechanical and a general architect.   The architect was good to have on board as he was able to negotiate a solution to our fire loading and unknown building renovation. Pm me if you want details on cost for each step and what they did. 

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