Great news! Your business is booming, and it is time for you to find a new location that serves the needs of your business and growing staff. You have possibly gotten by with renting a small space, maybe just a few rooms in an office building or a co-working space. But now you need a space of your own, and you don’t know what to do. If your business is still relatively small you can probably work with a local interior designer and get what you need for your new space. However, if your business is pushing or has passed the 50-person mark, I suggest you hire an architect specializing in workplace design.
Indiana uses the International Building Code and there are many additional code implications, mostly relating to egress, that need to be addressed when you are designing spaces for over 49 people. Your local architect is going to know and have experience working within these requirements to help you design a space that not only serves the needs of your business, but also keeps your employees and visitors safe. Let me tell you a little story about why this is so important.
I attended a meeting at a recently renovated office of a local Indianapolis business the other day and was very impressed with the space, until it was time to leave. When preparing to walk out the main door to the space, I noticed a deadbolt *gasp* right over the door handle! I quickly thought to myself that this new office space could easily support over 50 people. I look up. Sure enough, there is an exit sign over the door. Oh no!
Why does any of this matter you ask?
Architects are tasked with protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Making buildings and spaces safe environments for people is at the forefront of what we do. Making them look and function fabulously comes in at close second.
Being a licensed architect, I often find myself looking and noticing things that most people would never see. When I go through a space that has basic code infractions, my hackles go up a bit. Now, there was an attempt at correction made by a small sign affixed over the deadbolt saying something along the lines of “This door to remain unlocked during business hours”. But what about after hour functions, or if someone makes a mistake and forgets?
Or what if there is an emergency? As everyone is attempting to evacuate the space, what happens when they head for the door only to find it locked? People then pile up against each other pushing and shoving trying to get the heck out, but because of an inappropriate locking mechanism and high levels of panic, no one thinks of flipping the deadbolt. Not good. Properly designed, this door should be equipped with panic hardware – meaning you can push on it in a panic and the door will ALWAYS open. An exit sign should always mean “Go this way to safety and easily get out of this space”.
This is just one example of how an architect is needed to make sure you are getting a safe and functional space for your needs. So when you are ready to expand your business, give us a call. We can help you think through your options and determine if hiring an architect is the correct next step.