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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are the technical requirements that make partitioning an office space more complex than just throwing up some new walls? I'm responding to a referral that I don't very much expect to convert to a job, but I figure I might as well learn something. I realize that requirements may be different in California, where I'm located, but most things will be common to most states.

1) Sprinklering - The building is sprinklered. Does every room have to have sprinkler coverage?
2) Electrical - I know residential requirements, but not commercial. Are receptacles required in office spaces the way they are in residential?
3) Lighting - I would expect that separate lighting controls are required in every room. This being California, there will be other requirements for high-efficiency lights.
4) Egress - No puzzles in the current case.
5) ADA - I don't know what claims the current space has about accessibility; doors and signage might need to meet ADA standards.
6) Ventilation/mechanical - Must every room in a commercial space have ventilation?

Any other major technical requirements?

I've worked on a few TI projects before, but with plans in hand, so I don't know what's necessary v. customary. Basically, I don't even know what I don't know.
 

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Answers not based on California

1) Sprinklering - The building is sprinklered. Does every room have to have sprinkler coverage? Yes
2) Electrical - I know residential requirements, but not commercial. Are receptacles required in office spaces the way they are in residential? No
3) Lighting - I would expect that separate lighting controls are required in every room. This being California, there will be other requirements for high-efficiency lights.
4) Egress - No puzzles in the current case.
5) ADA - I don't know what claims the current space has about accessibility; doors and signage might need to meet ADA standards.
6) Ventilation/mechanical - Must every room in a commercial space have ventilation? No

Any other major technical requirements?
The wall between the spaces may be required to be a fully rated demising wall, or at the minimum, full height to structure. Or may not, depending on the occupancy and building type
 

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Bob,

Much of what you are asking is based on occupancy load.

Your AHJ will have many, if not all of these answers.

In an office it would be tough to have too many elec. outlets.
Don't forget data, phones, maybe wireless access points?

Many jurisdictions are adopting the new ADA regs already.

Fire Alarm now required?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I appreciate the comments. As I said, I really don't know what I don't know.

The City's given huge tax gifts to tech companies to move here, and they're flooding in. I'm getting 1 or 2 calls per week very much like this one, and I'd just as soon have a structured response. These companies have some money.
 

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The City's given huge tax gifts to tech companies to move here, and they're flooding in. I'm getting 1 or 2 calls per week very much like this one, and I'd just as soon have a structured response. These companies have some money.
Been there and done this with the very same industry. If they're asking dumb questions now, they'll never stop.

And chances are that they are going to fail six months to two years from now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Been there and done this with the very same industry. If they're asking dumb questions now, they'll never stop.
And chances are that they are going to fail six months to two years from now.
Thanks, yes, that's all true. For the time being, they're driving things in the Bay Area, and ignoring them doesn't seem sensible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
...
Your AHJ will have many, if not all of these answers.

...
Griz, thanks, good point, actually. I'll head down to the B.D. and see if they have any general info; sometimes they're friendly to inquiries of that type, and in recent years they've been putting together guides of various sorts, though usually for residential work.
 

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The energy efficiency standards part of Title 24 are being updated for California; it was supposed to go into effect January 1st but has been pushed back to either June or July as they couldn't get it together.

It's a major revision, especially for non-residential. I'm not sure how much of it will apply to what you do but it's likely there will be some impacts and there might be some opportunities coming from the changes.

Down here the information is being disseminated through SDG&E, in LA it's SoCal Edison and up where you are the giant PG&E. They'll have seminars and other sources of helpful information all paid for by anyone who uses power in the state.
 

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You can't just go into an office and build a demising wall. In the commercial world it's all about safety, rules and reg, check codes in your area, and they may vary from town to town. I had an inspector fail me over the lip of my sink bowl being 34 1/16"
 

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How are you working up a proposal with no plans? The IBC requires commercial projects be submitted to the AHJ bearing a stamp from a RDP - section 107.1 There is an exception if your AHJ dismisses that requirement, but I can't envision any jurisdiction in Cali. doing so.

I'd over-bid that thing BIG if I didn't have a set of plans to work from...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
How are you working up a proposal with no plans? The IBC requires commercial projects be submitted to the AHJ bearing a stamp from a RDP - section 107.1 There is an exception if your AHJ dismisses that requirement, but I can't envision any jurisdiction in Cali. doing so.

I'd over-bid that thing BIG if I didn't have a set of plans to work from...
I appreciate the heads-up. For the moment I'm just responding with some initial numbers to a referral, to correct the prospective customer's obvious lack of knowledge.

As for the plans, AHJ's in California allow the exception all the time - not everything needs an engineer or architect.
 

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Not to be rude or disrespectful but if you are asking these types of questions, maybe you should decline to give these folks a price or get with subs to give you numbers.

Assuming you're looking at a demised space. (lease or tenant space) A demising wall is a term used to describe seperation of tenant spaces.

1) Sprinklering - The building is sprinklered. Does every room have to have sprinkler coverage? Yes! It's based on sq footage of the room. Generally 7'6" max off any wall.
2) Electrical - I know residential requirements, but not commercial. Are receptacles required in office spaces the way they are in residential? Outlets are not required like residential
3) Lighting - I would expect that separate lighting controls are required in every room. This being California, there will be other requirements for high-efficiency lights. The Energy Conservation Code requires some type of lighting control. Occupancy sensors are getting to be the norm here (light stats) Over 5000 sq ft requires building automation
4) Egress - No puzzles in the current case. Exit/Egress lighting is required, common path of travel has length limitations.
5) ADA - I don't know what claims the current space has about accessibility; doors and signage might need to meet ADA standards. The big issue is clear floor space. 12" on push side of doors, 18" on pull side.
6) Ventilation/mechanical - Must every room in a commercial space have ventilation?
Depends on the HVAC system, size of room, Occupancy load.
Any other major technical requirements?
 

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Hi Bob,

Sprinkler design I leave as a deferred part of the permit to the company that is going to install.

Electrical outlets vary by the occupancy as Griz said. MEP engineer does the load calcs and all that but you have to say how many per room etc. but I think you know that. Mostly going with the residential placement works fine.

Lighting control in each room is a yes if the walls go to ceiling an separate the compartments completely.

Egress is always a puzzle.

Most if not all doors will have to be 34" clear opening. A 34" door won't cut it as it has about 3/4" of stops at the sides. Gotta go 36".

Mostly I find that the HVAC system takes care of any ventilation requirements with out having to have make up air of some kind.

I am not of much help but there it is anyway.

Andy.
 

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You can't just go into an office and build a demising wall. In the commercial world it's all about safety, rules and reg, check codes in your area, and they may vary from town to town. I had an inspector fail me over the lip of my sink bowl being 34 1/16"
Did you throw a piece of vinyl flooring on the existing floor in front of the sink and tell him to measure again? :whistling:blink:
 

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Did you throw a piece of vinyl flooring on the existing floor in front of the sink and tell him to measure again? :whistling:blink:
Don't joke, I had an inspector measure 18-1/4" to the center of a toilet. I kicked the thing and said measure it again. He smiled and said "great problem solved" and then wrote on the inspection ticket "fail; seal WC bowl to finished floor"
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Not to be rude or disrespectful but if you are asking these types of questions, maybe you should decline to give these folks a price or get with subs to give you numbers.
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Tony, no rudeness or disrespect taken; I appreciate the feedback.

The prospective customer's stated budget - $X - was ridiculously low, even considering only the stuff that I know for sure, and my plan was to start the conversation by explaining in general terms why the cost was likely to be $10X. I had that conversation, was thanked effusively for helping to reset expectations, and was invited for a site visit. I asked some questions, found that I would be one of 5 possible contractors, and suggested that they call me if they couldn't work something out with one of the others.

Had things moved along with them, I wouldn't have had any problem getting bids from subs, maybe/maybe not would have gotten an architect involved (no structural work at all, no demising walls added or altered, energy code easily handled by electrician and mechanical subs), and submitted a proposal based on the numbers. I like commercial work, and this project would have been well within my capabilities.

As far as what I do or don't know about this sort of project, well, I'm more a sandbagger than a bluffer.

- Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the help, everyone. The contact for the customer - the office manager - planned to bring in 5 contractors to bid the job, and I declined to continue. Aside from significant budget issues, I could see a long process before the decision maker (not the office manager) got involved. It wasn't worth my while.

Thanks,

Bob
 

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Dang, I knew CarpenterSFO was sandbagging all along! (lol) I'm glad it worked out for you.
5 bidderrs on an upfit is a disaster waiting to happen for the client, esp. when they don't have solid plans and specs. The low bidder is going to be really good, knowing how to get the project done very efficiently or more likely someone that working the system. (eg, the plans didn't specify you wanted the walls painted) I advise people all the time that instead of getting a bunch of numbers, get two, maybe three and pick the contractor that they feel the most comfortable with. Generally all contractors in the TI business pay roughly the same amount for subs, materials and general conditions. If someone is very low, they missed something, if someone is very high, they likely missed something or don't want the project. A max 10% swing in real bids is very common. Around here, most TI GC's are working on a 15% GP margin at best on an average size project.
 
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