Must-Haves for Commercial Buildings

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 The safety of buildings is a paramount concern for architects and engineers. Building codes have been updated in the past few decades to include new safety features that help protect people from all types of hazards.

This is why there are many new safety features in commercial and residential buildings. These include emergency lighting, emergency generators for power failures, and fire suppression systems.

These smart business property notes are brought to you by Shirley Martin of Thanks Shirley!

Fire Safety

Automatic fire sprinkler systems for all new commercial structures with a fire area of more than 5,000 square feet. Any remodeling or expansion that extends the fire area beyond 5,000 square feet, or any single tenant increase in occupancy requiring a new certificate of occupancy, will require sprinkler systems to be installed throughout the building. Also, buildings more than 55 feet tall must have automatic sprinkler systems installed. And they are required in townhomes with more than two residential occupancy units within a structure.

Fire-resistant materials can slow the spread of flames and reduce the amount of smoke produced. Fire protection materials work by insulating the structural members, keeping them below the temperatures where structural failure will occur for the specified fire rating. In the event of a fire, these coatings help to protect infrastructure assets from collapse, maintain paths of egress for occupants to exit the building, and ultimately save lives.

Fire doors with self-closing mechanisms are required on many commercial buildings in order to protect occupants, block the spread of flames and smoke, and minimize the overall property damage. Because they close automatically when a fire is detected, they are a key component of a building’s passive fire protection system. Interior fire doors help block or delay the spread of heat, smoke, and flames through hallways, stairwells, and between sections of the building.

Smoke detectors now have batteries with a 10-year life. The use of 10-year sealed battery detectors came as a recommendation from the National Fire Protection Association. Encasing the long-life battery inside the unit helps prevent tenants or homeowners from disconnecting or tampering with the battery. In addition, it eliminated low battery “chirping” and allowed for more reliable fire alerts.

Outdoor Safety Lighting

Outdoor commercial lights aren’t just for safety purposes. They are also the only way to ensure accessibility to your business after dark and help your employees and customers find the entrances to your buildings more easily.

Adding outdoor light fixtures around all entrances and exits of the building is a good first step towards making your building feel much safer.

Switching these LED lights for parking areas and structures can lower energy costs by 60%. Instead of ceasing to function properly once a fuel source is significantly reduced, LED-generated light output degrades very slowly over time. And finally, LEDs distribute their light via a multi-point design, giving them an evenly distributed light pattern on surfaces.

Electric Vehicle Parking

There are 41,000 electric charging stations in the U.S. According to Grist, President Biden’s American Jobs Plan calls to construct 500,000 more. Like the drivers of gasoline-powered cars, the 1.4 million drivers of electric vehicles in the U.S. also have to “fill up.”

Having electric vehicle charging stations installed in a parking lot or garage will attract these drivers and keep them returning regularly to those businesses.

EV charging stations can also increase parking revenues with an additional revenue stream.

The biggest cost differentiator will be whether you want standard level 2 DC chargers or DC fast chargers. A level 2 charger can cost between $800 and $7,000 per charger, while DCFCs can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000 each.

The latest advances in technology, like EV cars and parking stations for them, will ensure you’re keeping up with customer demand. And new methods of occupant safety, like improved fire suppression and improved outdoor lighting, are making it easier to be safe in the workplace and at home. 

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