Opening a retail franchise location can be a technical challenge, since you must meet mandatory requirements from different parties. When you become a franchisee, the brand will give you detailed operating manuals that must be followed to the letter. Your franchise fitout is also subject to local building codes and zoning regulations like any construction project, and there are often local laws that impose additional requirements. Finally, you can expect technical specifications from the real estate company leasing you the commercial space.
All these combined requirements can pose a challenge, especially when an entrepreneur is working with a franchise for the first time. However, an MEP engineering firm can simplify the design and construction process. You will also get a quick approval with the local building department, the landlord, and of course the franchise.
Opening a retail franchise? Meet operating manuals and local building codes with a professional MEP design.
Here we will discuss the main benefits of working with professional MEP engineers when setting up a retail franchise establishment. With their help you can speed up design and construction, while getting added-value features such as energy efficiency measures.
1) MEP Engineers Can Help You Pick Commercial Spaces for Retail Franchises
A franchise fitout project becomes much simpler when you can find a commercial space that meets your requirements. This is especially true for utility connections, since they must have enough capacity for the operating needs of the franchise.
- For example, if you’re starting a laundromat franchise, you need to find a commercial space with an adequate water supply.
- If you purchase or rent a property without checking the existing installations, you could soon be dealing with expensive upgrades.
MEP engineers can help you identify a suitable commercial space for a retail franchise. They can conduct a professional assessment of existing installations, and tell you which systems fall short of your energy and water needs.
Comparing commercial spaces can be challenging: you may find properties with an excellent appearance, but where the MEP installations are designed for businesses with a low energy consumption. You can avoid major expenses by getting a property condition assessment (PCA) before signing a lease or buying a property. If you skip this step, you may run into hidden issues that make your franchise fitout project much more expensive.
2) MEP Engineers Can Help You With Retail Franchise Manuals
Retail franchises have a specific way of doing business, and this impacts the design of your fitout project. However, MEP engineers can specify the components and features you need to meet the operating requirements of the franchise. In other words, they can translate the franchise manuals into plans and specifications that can be used for construction.
For example, a retail franchise may require specific lighting conditions and operating temperatures for a process. Based on these requirements, MEP engineers can specify lighting fixtures and HVAC systems that will achieve the conditions described. This saves plenty of time during the design stage, since you don’t have to “figure out” how to achieve the conditions described in franchise operating manuals.
Some retail franchises provide sample drawings and construction documents, but these are intended as reference and not final documents for your fitout project. You will still need a design that meets local codes, while adapting to the conditions of the chosen commercial space.
3) MEP Engineers Can Meet Building Codes, Zoning Regulations and Local Laws
Regardless of the operating requirements of a franchise, you still need to meet local building codes and zoning regulations. This can be especially challenging when code requirements limit your design options.
- For example, Local Law 97 of 2019 places emission limits on many NYC buildings starting from 2024, and staying below this limit can be difficult for energy-intensive franchises.
- In this case, you need an energy efficient design that will still achieve the operating conditions specified by the franchise.
Unlike franchise manuals, which have the goal of achieving the same results in all locations, building codes vary by state and city. This is important if you intend to open the same retail franchise in different locations: a design that works in one city may need changes to be used in a different jurisdiction, even if you can find identical commercial spaces.
The combination of franchise operating manuals, local building codes, zoning regulations, local laws and landlord specifications can seem overwhelming at first. However, experienced MEP engineers can design building systems that will meet all these requirements, even in cases where there are design conflicts between franchise manuals and local codes.