We got a call from a lady that had an idea for a new business. She is an entrepreneur in a specialty food market niche who was working out of her house. She had some success and began to think that it was time to take the next step – move out of her house and into her own building. She thought it would make great sense if she could buy an older building, renovate it and provide rental space for others in her “small business” situation. She found a building, in need of some tender loving care, that she could buy right. So she purchased the building and that is when we got the call.
- What are the code requirements for changing the use of the building (which she would be doing)?
- Could she and her husband do the construction renovation work themselves?
- What our reaction was to her preliminary layout for using the space and her idea of phasing the work.
- The building Code is very specific about the requirements when an existing building changes use. Our first look showed that she may not have to make major renovations to satisfy the building code. But now that she owns the building she will be on the hook for whatever the code tells her to do.
- We told her that the local building department requires a licensed contractor to do all the work. Not good news because she was hopping to put a lot of sweat equity into the facility.
- Her preliminary layout showed us her thoughts on how she wanted to use the space, but a site walk through quickly reveled the obstacles in the way of an efficient layout and phasing of the work.
After hearing our comments she decided to put the project on hold for the time being and reevaluate her strategy. In the meantime she owns an old building that may not be the asset to her business plan she had hoped.
The lesson is: Always count the cost before you start. When you don’t, you too may just get caught owning an “old building”. Contact us; we are in the business of helping you Count the Cost…