We talk a lot in this blog about tenant improvement projects. However, we often focus on the fun part of these types of projects: beautifying a commercial space and adapting it to fit the needs of a specific tenant. There’s another type of tenant improvement project we often engage in with our commercial clients. It’s probably a lot less “fun” for our clients, but just as necessary. It involves doing tenant improvements for the purpose of helping a business owner get a business license from a city like Long Beach.
You may not know this, but most cities in California require a new business moving into their city to submit site plans and floor plans before they will give them a business license. Most business owners (especially new business owners) don’t have any clue. They usually find out about this requirement when they go to the city to get their business license. Here’s how the conversation likely goes:
Business owner: Hi, we’re moving into a building in your city, and we would like to get our business license.
City: Great to have you here in our city! All you need to do is provide a floor plan and a site plan of the building you’ll be occupying. You’ll probably want a local architect to help you draw those up.
Business Owner: That’s all? Great! I’ll call an architect today.
The business owner then calls us, and we explain to them what the city is really looking for. The city needs a floor plan and site plan that they can use as a starting point to see if the building meets all the latest code requirements. In almost every case, there is something about the building that is non-code compliant, whether that be the amount of parking available, handicap accessibility, proper exiting, adequate fire separations, or a host of other code requirements. The building code changes approximately every three years, so a commercial space that was fully compliant when it was built likely won’t be today.
We could just give the business owners what they are asking for: site and floor plans for their existing space. However, once submitted, the city will then come back to the business owner with a laundry list of fixes that will require them to have other plans drawn up.
At Grisafe Architecture, we prefer to help our clients take a more proactive approach. We typically propose that we measure and draw up floor and site plans for the existing space and also provide them with plans that show the city what will be done to fix the non-conforming issues. This could include new ADA, structural, mechanical, electrical, and/or plumbing plans, depending on the building. Doing it this way tends to shorten the approval process, which means business owners can get their business licenses sooner and get their businesses up and running in their new spaces!
If, at the same time, a business owner wants to makes some other improvements to the space, our architecture firm can help with that as well. Contact us to learn more about working with a Long Beach architect for tenant improvement projects and to help you meet the requirements for a business license in Long Beach (or any of the surrounding cities).