Locating Your Business: What To Look For In A Building - InformationWeek

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12/22/2009
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Locating Your Business: What To Look For In A Building

They say that real estate is all about location. But small and midsize companies may discover that what their building is made of can be as important as where it's located. Some building materials can interfere with your company's technology equipment!

Resource Nation provides how-to purchasing guides, tips for selecting business service providers via VoIP Service, and a free quote-comparison service that allows business owners to compare price and service offerings in over 100 categories from direct mail to steel buildings.

Moving a business in always stressful. Whether your business is looking to relocate to an existing building or build from scratch, the buildings that your company inhabits should be environmentally friendly, affordable, schedule friendly, and most importantly, safe.

To make sure it works out that way, it pays take the time to study up on comparable costs, zoning laws, building permits, OSHA regulations, costs, and facility requirements before making any decisions.

And you may also need to consider how certain materials interact with your company's technology and equipment. Nowadays, most businesses are looking for buildings that are environmentally friendly. It's not all that simple, though. Here are some of the items you'll need to consider when choosing -- or building -- a new home for your company:

Technology And Building Materials
If your company relies heavily on telecommunications you may need to do some extra research and planning. For example, if your office uses a VoIP system instead of traditional phone lines, you need to pay attention to the building materials.

Although wireless signals work great between steel walls, communications through steel buildings can be problematic. Weak signals may need to be fixed with additional antennas or repeaters, and planning ahead can help your IT personnel set up your gateways in better coverage areas.

Zoning Laws, Building Codes, And Permits
Zoning laws, building codes, and permits can all vary widely depending on where the building is located. Here is an overview of what to expect when researching the regulations in your own city and state:

Zoning Laws >
These laws regulate what type of construction is allowed in certain areas. Because zoning laws vary greatly, it is hard to predict your company's particular zoning requirements, but typical zoning considerations include:

  • Minimum size requirements for lots
  • Size and height limits for buildings
  • Density of development restrictions
  • Prohibitions on keeping livestock
  • Regulations on extraction of natural resources
  • Open-space requirements
  • Outside appearance
  • Number of doors required
  • Protection of historical buildings
  • Environmental hazards (what can be stored on the property as well as who is responsible for removing these hazards, including asbestos, lead paint, petro-chemicals, radon, and other toxic wastes.
  • Public easements and rights of way

To find out the exact zoning laws that apply to your company's building, contact your city's development office.

Building Codes
Building codes can be tricky. You may need to get your blueprints certified by a registered third-party to see if your building meets the code requirements for that property.

Permits

Make sure you know exactly what types of businesses are allowed in the area you are looking at. You don't want to invest in a building only to learn that your type of business is not permitted in that area. Some common types of permits often required for commercial buildings are:

  • Building Permits
  • Electrical Permits
  • Environmental Permits
  • Mechanical/Heating Permits
  • Plumbing Permits
  • Sign Permits
  • Soil-Erosion Permits
  • Street-Use Permits
  • Wrecking / Moving Permits

Existing buildings often have these items in place, but they can significantly impact new construction and renovations.

Safety First
If you're constructing a new building or doing extensive renovations, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations are designed to make sure the site is safe for construction workers. Make sure your contractors are aware of and will follow all relevant OSHA regulations.

If your company is moving into an existing building, look into other safety factors, including employee parking. Make sure the parking lot is well lit, and check if there will be security monitoring the lot.

Cost, Convenience, Prestige
Obviously, costs and taxes play key roles in selecting a business location, but so does parking, for example. If your employees have to pay for parking, you may have to offer higher salaries to compensate. On the other hand, a prestigious downtown address may add credibility to your business -- and offer public transportation options as well.

That could be important, as it can be hard to attract workers and customers to hard-to-reach, inconvenient, or hidden locations. Even something as mundane as traffic can make a difference.

The main point to remember is simply to do your homework before building, buying, or renting a new building.

Resource Nation provides how-to purchasing guides, tips for selecting business service providers via VoIP Service, and a free quote-comparison service that allows business owners to compare price and service offerings in over 100 categories from direct mail to steel buildings.

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