Commercial building construction must account not only for the safety of the owners and occupants but also the public who will enter and exit the facility regularly. Whether a retail, office or manufacturing building, commercial construction must meet certain codes and requirements for safe occupancy. An inspector will determine if the building meets all regulations and issue a certificate of occupancy before the building can be opened for business. Knowing what the inspector will look for during and after construction will go a long way to insuring the building will pass on the first walk through.
A commercial building’s structure should be engineered and constructed to exceed maximum expected loads. Multi-story buildings should be able to resist certain climatic conditions, e.g wind, earthquake or hurricane force winds, and contain fire-resistant materials throughout.
Some building codes will also dictate the necessary insulation to reduce heating and cooling requirements. Again, it is best when possible to exceed these requirements. The structure inspection will also include any elevator or stair case installations and insuring adequate access and exits for the maximum number of people expected in the building at one time.
Electrical systems should provide more than adequate power to all circuits. Wiring must meet codes for insulation and rated current. Always go up in conductivity and current specification when installing wiring and lighting systems in a commercial building. Electrical systems are a leading cause of fire hazards when circuits are overloaded. When businesses expand and install more electrically powered equipment there is rarely an upgrade of existing electrical wiring and breakers. Anticipating future use will avoid catastrophic mistakes.
Plumbing codes require adequate pressure for all outlets and especially for fire suppression systems--sprinklers. Water mains to the building must provide more than adequate flow. Adequate draining and sewer connections will avoid any sanitation problems. These requirements are especially important in commercial structures for food preparation and processing.
Building inspections will look for safety features meeting all codes including fire escapes, lighted exit signs, overhead sprinklers and protected electrical conduits. Commercial buildings should also have a ready supply of fire extinguishers. Commercial buildings have many people coming in and out who may not be as conscientious as necessary to avoid producing an ignition. Contractors and owners should plan on the worst-case scenario for avoiding tragic fire damage and possible loss of life.