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What to know when choosing a building site or location

If your business is growing beyond the needs of your current facility you may find that the time has come for a new building to accommodate growth. How much consideration have you given to choosing a building site or location? The building that houses your company and its location in your region are just as important as the product or service that makes your company so successful in the first place.

When it’s time to move or open a second location, choosing a building site should not be taken lightly. There are a lot of factors to consider in the selection of a construction site. Take the time to ensure your company is familiar with these factors so that an informed decision is made, setting your business up for further success in the future.

Commercial Site Survey
This particular concept can get lost in the shuffle, but it’s imperative your business examines the physical characteristics of the site. Whether experts in your company perform this chore or you delegate your commercial builder to do so, the physical characteristics of the construction site are vital.

Take note of the overall dimensions of the site as well as its topographical features. Are there any portions of the site that are unsuitable for building? Check the grade of the land and the soil composition, as both will impact the excavation, load bearing capacity and type of foundation used in your new building.

Lastly, check out the environmental factors and local building codes. What is the typical temperature in the region? What about temperature extremes? Is the building site in a flood plain or high-wind zone? These environmental factors may tie into building codes that require specific floor heights (to protect against flooding) or shear walls (to brace against high winds). Additionally, will the city require on-site storm water retention?  Is there room for a holding pond or will other measures be required?

 

The Proximity of Commercial Building Projects 

When taking into consideration your commercial building project, examining the local area is just as important as investigating the actual site. There are several factors about the local area that could override the benefits of the building site. First and foremost, consider whether or not the area matches your brand image. Would moving your company into this building, in this area, fit the image you have? For example, IT giants located in Silicon Valley wouldn’t relocate to a new building in a smog-filled manufacturing center. It doesn’t fit the image of their company.

What about the local market? Take the time to familiarize yourself with the other businesses located in that area. Are they complementary to your industry, or direct competitors? The local labor market is also a critical factor to consider. Is there a labor force available that possesses the proper skills to work for your company? If not, how far is the commute for employees that do have the required skills?

Other factors to consider about the area include zoning regulations, safety, and logistics. What’s the traffic flow in and out of the site?  Is there accessibility issues?  Many local governments strictly regulate the type of construction that can take place, as well as the type of businesses operations, in certain parts of town. Does your operation meet those requirements? What about local crime rates? You want your employees to feel safe in the building and walking around the facility. Additionally, how close is the building location to regional transportation assets (shipping, air freight, rail, and ground transportation) and suppliers?

Cost Effective Construction

Lastly, you have to assess how your selected location impacts the fiscal standing of the company. Cost effective construction practices exist if you take the time to do your research with the bids you’re receiving. Other than building costs, did your examination of the physical characteristics of the site reveal hidden costs to construction that could drive up the price? Income tax, sales tax, and property tax rates vary from state to state and even city to city. You might have two construction sites selected at this point, so which one has friendlier taxes from a business perspective? Government economic incentives can also play a major role when choosing a building location. Local governments often provide economic incentives to lure businesses to specific regions. Will your business meet the requirements for any small business loans or tax breaks for choosing one building site over another?

When you are choosing a building site, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. Some of these factors, such as the physical characteristics of the site, should be discussed with your building contractor. Other factors will require coordination with local government agencies. Take the time to do your homework and consult with business owners in your industry to learn as much as possible before selecting a specific site.

Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya

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