One of the most overlooked items in the construction of retail spaces is also one that can have the most impact on maintaining budget and timelines: The site survey. When planning a retail store whether it’s a large retail chain roll-out, or a one-off boutique there is typically time and money set aside for design, permits, fabrication, and construction, but what happens when the building all this work is centred around isn’t the way everyone thought it was?
Many projects start out with an old drawing supplied by a landlord. That drawing might be original from when the building was constructed, or it may even be a drawing from the previous tenant’s permit application. When planning a project on documents like this, one has to make a lot of assumptions. You would have to assume the building was built exactly as it was drawn, assume that there were no errors made, assume that no-one did anything that was in violation of their permit, assume that there were not renovations done without a permit or drawings at all. If left unchecked, these assumptions can result in costly and time consuming change orders, addendum to your permit application, or your fixtures not fitting where they are suppose to go.
A thorough site survey before any site specific design work is done will lay the groundwork for a quick and trouble free permit application, construction process, and store opening. This allows the store to open on time, and revenue start to flow sooner. Every day your project is delayed due to errors or unseen problems is a day of lost revenue, and that lost revenue quickly eclipses the cost it would have been to get a site survey done early on.
I good site survey captures all current existing dimensions of the space. It includes photos, makes note of potential structural, electrical, or plumbing issues. It looks at whether the existing space is code compliant for both building code and accessibility. It should also review any landlord criteria and municipal restrictions and bylaws that may affect the project or the design such as sign bylaws, patio permits, occupancy, zoning etc.
Think of a site survey as a building inspection for the business owner that will enhance the entire process, and reduce the stress associated with projects of this scale.
Getting this right….
Will make sure this fits right.