FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I DON’T OWN THE BUILDING, WHY IS THE CITY MAKING ME BRING THE OUTSIDE AND/OR THE COMMON AREA TO ADA COMPLIANCE?
ADA compliance for Tenant Improvements – Both the tenant and property owner are responsible for ADA compliance within area occupied by tenants. This responsibility may be allocated by the lease, but courts have no responsibility to enforce lease terms in ADA litigation. Generally, operational issues within the tenant space will be the responsibility of the tenant, while both the landlord and tenant may be responsible for compliance of the physical improvements.
The agencies that govern accessibility have language that defines how much must be spent on making the property compliant. The California building code has its own accessibility guideline and its own hardship definition for costs. It uses an annual cost threshold for the total construction cost of alterations, not including the accessibly alterations. For projects up to this threshold amount, the owner is required to make additional improvements for accessibility compliance up to 20% of the cost threshold. The 2013 cost threshold is $139,934.00. If the owners construction cost goes above the threshold it is required that all the modifications be made to make all required items accessible.
WHAT IS TITLE 24 AND WHY DO I HAVE TO THESE LIGHTS IN MY OFFICE?
Let’s answer this in a two parts, first What is Title 24 – Throughout California the Title 24 energy standards address the energy efficiency of new (and altered) homes and commercial buildings. Energy efficiency reduces energy costs, increases reliability and availability of electricity, improves building occupant comfort, and reduces impacts to the environment, making standards important and necessary for California’s energy future.
Second question, Why do I have these lights in my office – Indoor lighting is one of the single largest consumers of energy in a commercial building, representing about a third of electricity use. The objective of the title 24 non-residential lighting standards is the effective reduction of this energy use, without compromising the quality of lighting or task work. The Title 24 non-residential lighting standards are the result in the involvement of many representative of the lighting design and manufacturing community, and of enforcement agencies across the state.
DO I HAVE TO GET AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?
This comes down to personal preference and budget. Yes you can do it yourself and a good general contractor will guide you through the selections needed and their deadlines so our project can stay on track, but your head could be spinning during this process.
A few questions to ask yourself before taking on this task. Can I make quick decisions on my own? Do I have the time to go look at samples and products? Can I visualize the finished product? Have I selected design features and coordinates in the past and have I been happy with the selections? If you answered yes to all these questions you might be up to the task of acting as our own interior designer.
Check your interior designer’s credentials, make sure they are used to specifying commercial products so your offices lasts. Someone working in residential interior design may not be familiar with the best products needed in a commercial application. Remember someone with a design “flare” is not a commercial interior designer.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BUILD PER SQUARE FOOT?
Cost per square foot is a legitimate method for assigning costs to easily definable projects, such as general offices, Targets, warehouses – projects where the level of finish, construction method, lighting and HVAC is all standard grade. However applying similar unit prices to say dental facilities that have varying complexities – med gas, multi zoned HVAC, additional lighting needs, and most importantly design features – does not translate equally. You do not need glass walls, 3form panels, granite reception tops, a decorative stone reception face, but you might want all these items which will significantly change your square footage costs.
Space also comes into play. Say you’re building a dental office and you want 4 operatories, a waiting area, a lab sterilization room, a staff lounge, a consultation office, one restroom, a private office and storage/IT closet. You have found two spaces, one is 2100 square feet and one is 1800 square feet. Your cost to build these should be very close with exception of a few trades needing more material. Your prices come in at $186,000.00 and $180,000.00, respectively but translates to a cost of square price of $88.50 and $100.00. See the difference for primarily the same thing?