Purchasing an existing building and renovating it for your needs can be less expensive than new construction for your business. The main concern is making sure the building is up to the current codes for your location and business type. The following are just a few code issues to check for.
The Americans with Disabilities Act sets forth safety and accessibility requirements for businesses. For example, your building may need ramps installed, wider doorways, railings, or accessibility options in the restroom. Older buildings may not have the most current updates, especially if they have been unused for some time.
General Safety Requirements
There are also general safety requirements to follow. Stair railings or banisters must be up to the local current code for height and spindle distance. You may need a fire suppression system, depending on your business type, or you may need to install more alarms or emergency exits. You may also need to install safety stations, such as an eyewash station, depending upon the business.
Sometimes the basic building structure is the problem. You will need to make sure that the wiring and circuit boxes are up to current code; otherwise, you may not be able to open for business. The same goes for plumbing and sewer. You may also need to update your HVAC system. The roof structure can also be a concern, especially if climate changes in your area necessitate a stronger roof due to heavier annual snow falls.
Some things are a major safety hazard, along with possible code violation. You need to verify that there is no lead paint, or that it is properly contained. The same goes for asbestos, which is common in some older buildings. You my need to have insulation replaced or fire doors installed.
If you live in an earthquake-prone area, older buildings may need their basic structure reinforced to current codes. The same is true in hurricane- or tornado-prone areas, where there may be updated safety codes that the building must meet to ensure it is stable during a wind event.
These changes and updates can make a location that seemed like a good deal a very expensive proposition once the building is brought up to code. Hiring a building code consultant to inspect and advise on necessary updates before you close your real estate deal can save you a lot of money and a lot of headaches in the long run. Contact a local building code consultant to get started.