Estimating the Dream

By: Brian Hale

Clients often come to us with their dream of a new office that they have envisioned.  We take pride in making this dream office come true.  Oftentimes, there is a great lack of information that we as estimators need to have to provide accurate pricing for this office.  Because of this, we have to “take-a-stab” at specifying the desired plan of the space presented to us.

 Let’s start with the basics: A simple floor plan. The floor plan is the base plan for any office.  It includes walls, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, doors, equipment, and labeled rooms.  A floor plan is the first element required for a new office.  This can be initially provided by the client via a space planner, architect, equipment supplier, or can be produced in our in-house design-build services.  The floor plan is the first step of office planning because it shows the client their ratio of revenue generating areas versus non-revenue generating areas. 

 There are many restrictions imposed on a new commercial space from the Texas Accessibility Standards.  These are state standards that must be followed in most jurisdictions in Texas.  There are accessibility clearances that must be maintained throughout most of the office that must be complied with.  Sometimes, when these standards are not complied with or ignored, it can spell disaster to the tenant and to the building owner when attempting to pass inspection at the end of a project with a TAS Review.  This is ultimately the responsibility of the building owner of the property being constructed on.  Fines for failing to comply can be as much as $1,000.00 per day.  For this reason we stress that the floor plan designer make every effort to comply prior to estimating.

 If a plan for construction comes to us for estimating and clearly does not comply with TAS standards we make every effort during estimating to make our clients aware of the problems with the plan and suggest solutions.  Some of the biggest problem offenders are plans which to not have wide enough doors to offices or closets, restrooms that do not have the proper fixture clearances, rooms that do not have proper maneuvering clearances and doors that do not have the proper clearances on their lever side.  Some of these problems can be corrected during construction, but better planning from the beginning can save valuable time and money.  Lastly,  compliance with all regulations also keeps all of your clients and employees with disabilities more comfortable while spending time in your office.

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