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  1. #1
    Jacob Sanchez's Avatar
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    Default Need some advice on a project please :)

    I'm in the process of making plans to partition half the garage off and finish it so i can use it for my home based pc repair business. The main problem is that i don't have a whole lot of money to pay people to do things for me (like wiring for example).. I Just wanted to throw out there what my plans are and hopefully a few nice people can give me some input on what looks good and what needs changed.

    First off, here is my drawing (don't make fun of it, it took me 4 hours lol ) If you can make any sense of it it might give you an overal idea of what im trying to accomplish.

    And here is another pic w/ phone lines and network cables (what a mess)...



    The plan is to install a dual 60 amp breaker in the house breaker box, run 6/3 cable to the garage to another breaker box w/ 3 20 amp breakers, hence the 3 wires comming out of the breaker on the illustration.. Any Input would be great. Thanks

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    First question:

    Are you allowed to have a retail store in your house?

    I mean, I am "not in Kansas anymore", but you still are ...

    Is that allowed?

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  3. #3
    Jacob Sanchez's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Its not a retail store, even though the illustration hints it to be so.. The "Retail Section" is just the part where the customers are going to be when they bring/take there computer. No retail, services only. There is a guy down the road here that runs an auto detail shop, and his garage is directly attached to his house and he's been there for a few years so i figure they don't care in this town.


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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Sanchez View Post
    Its not a retail store, even though the illustration hints it to be so.. The "Retail Section" is just the part where the customers are going to be when they bring/take there computer. No retail, services only.

    That's "retail" ... to have people come and go, either for service or sales (you are "selling" the service).

    I would check with the town before going any further. They may allow "it" ("it" being a business in your home) but may not allow *it* (*it* being retail with people coming and going).

    My office is in my home, I have an occupational license from the City of Ormond Beach allowing "it". However, if people were to come and go, it would be considered "retail" and I would not be allowed to have my business here.

    Do not (DO NOT) "assume" that just because the person down the street has been getting away with it that it is "allowed" - find out first, obtain an occupational license to make it legal.

    Your town 'may allow retail' in your home, but if they do, I suspect they would required 'fire inspections', which would mean fire extinguisher, and you would need to make your bathrooms available to your customers, and ... it just gets more complicated ... because you are now allowing customers into *your* home, putting them at risk, which changes *your* home into a "commercial space".

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Most places require commercial places to have all construction performed by licensed contractors; DIY is not allowed.

    I have the appropriate license. I'm not about to venture a 'professional opinion' sight unseen. Commercial rules differ greatly from residential, often with many local amendments.


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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    I'm not about to venture a 'professional opinion' sight unseen.

    Treat it like a plans examiner would, they do it "sight unseen" (with, of course, the knowledge of the local code and local amendments).

    John,

    Do you think that would meet all requirements for retail space (commercial space) including, but not limited to, emergency lighting, etc.?

    Then, of course, there are ADA issues to be addressed (which I was only hinting toward with regard to the bathrooms), and all the other issues ...

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    I'm not a plans examiner. I don't even play one on TV

    If I need a plans examiner, I have one I pay already ... in city hall. There are too many unknowns here, and I'm not about to help someone circumvent the law.

    Nor do i think the topic is appropriate to the forum.


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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    There are too many unknowns here, and I'm not about to help someone circumvent the law.
    As should have been clear by my posts, circumventing the law is certainly not being entertained or promoted, and, in fact, the opposite to that has been stated.

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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    John is so completely correct on this. I have no issue with home based businesses. Nonetheless, once customers are actually coming to the location that changes criteria in many muni's. Just because the guy down the block does it does not mean it's approved. The first things to look into are zoning, licensing and fire district requirements.
    If the guy wants to run an underground shop, that's his business and that's fine with me. As far as giving advice on how to set it up, no way. On a public forum no less.
    The drawing is really nice but it doesn't tell you anything about the structure, fire separation, heat or electric. 60 amp this 3 20 amp that sounds plausible but who knows if it is appropriate or not.
    As far as starting up a computer repair business ... I have to wonder. Honestly I can't think of anyone I know that actually gets theirs repaired. Don't many just go buy a new one? (Or am I in the wrong demographic?)

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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    As far as giving advice on how to set it up, no way. On a public forum no less.

    Markus,

    Actually, this is a GOOD PLACE to ask this advice, and the answers from three of us have told him the same basic thing:

    1) That he needs to check with his town first, before doing anything else.

    2) And that his proposed use would make that space into a "commercial/retail" use space, which has many (MANY) requirements.

    3) See 1).

    If he had not posted that question here, but had done what his neighbor down the street did, he would not now know that he needs to start with his town and their requirements.

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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Markus,

    Here is a question to ponder ...

    In many areas, builders build showcase homes to which they take their prospective clients so they (the builders) can show what type of work and homes they (the builders) do.

    Does that now make the builders showcase homes 'commercial/retail' space?

    Hmmmm .... food for thought.

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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Having any type of customers coming into space within your home is a bad idea.

    If someone was to fall or be injured, their attorney is coming after you and your homeowners insurance, which by the way may not and probably does not cover your home being used as such in a business manner.

    Don't forget about the neighbors when they start calling in and complaining about it also. The guy down the street you mention may be the mayors brother or the chief of police and are getting by with it for some other type of favor.

    If your going to run a business as such you should rent some space in a more business like area.


  13. #13
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
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    Red face Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Another thought (I have many) if this is an attached garage, you will be changing the classification from R3 to mixed and that brings in the whole fire rating of the separation walls. And what about fire alarms, bathrooms for the employees. What about heat for the new area? I would recommend putting in an additional meter box so you can separate the electric for tax purposes.

    You better go have a nice long talk with your local CEO.


  14. #14
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    J
    As far as starting up a computer repair business ... I have to wonder. Honestly I can't think of anyone I know that actually gets theirs repaired. Don't many just go buy a new one? (Or am I in the wrong demographic?)

    I have relatives in Maryland that are doing pretty well with a repair business. They get most of their work from business's. However they have a store in a retail center, one would have to wonder if a business is going to seek out someone doing work out of a converted garage.


  15. #15
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    Cool Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    I don't do electrical but from a building codes standpoint, don't forget ADA accessability and parking.
    Lots of luck
    The River Pirate


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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Nettnin View Post
    one would have to wonder if a business is going to seek out someone doing work out of a converted garage.

    Sure I can fix it, just leave it over there on the shelf.

    Call me back in a week or so.

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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Jacob asked for input, and the first thing he needs to do is contact his town for an occupational license, from there, his town will direct him to what follows next ... (which is something Jacob is not ready for).

    That said, most of us work out of our homes too.

    Besides, Bill and Paul started out in their garage too ... (okay, it may have been a dorm room or an apartment - same thing)

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Wow.. so much for entrepreneurial spirit here.. I'm not sure what you guys are used to dealing with but this is a very small town, with many small business in the area that do have hardly any of the requirements that were suggested here, and they've been there for years. I never stated that i wanted to do this underground, i simply wanted to ask a few questions regarding to construction because i don't know anyone around here to ask. As far as contacting the city hall, I've tried, 3 days in a row, no answer, what do i do now, call the county? Also, all the talk with "in your home" and "converted garage"... Its not my home, it will be a business, not a garage, The only thing that makes it a garage is the fact that there is a garage door ...Once that's gone and there interior walls it can be whatever the hell i want it to be.

    Thanks for all your support!

    oh and ps, could anyone answer my question, about the wall to slab attatchment? All these replies and all i get is negitive comments.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Sanchez View Post
    Wow.. so much for entrepreneurial spirit here.
    We are not knocking your entrepreneurial spirit, that is what we all are.

    We ARE, however, pointing out that you need to do it right.

    [/quote]As far as contacting the city hall, I've tried, 3 days in a row, no answer, what do i do now, call the county?[/quote]

    Have you applied for an occupational license as I suggested?

    If you get it with no problems, go for it - that makes your business legal should they want you do to something later.

    If you do not get it, find out why, then do what is required.

    Also, all the talk with "in your home" and "converted garage"... Its not my home,
    Yes it is, you said (in your first post) "so i can use it for my home based pc repair business".

    it will be a business, not a garage,
    EXACTLY!

    That is what we are saying.

    Now go get (apply for) an occupational license for your computer repair business, it will be, as you stated "it will be a business, not a garage".

    The only thing that makes it a garage is the fact that there is a garage door
    That does not make it a garage door, many business are located in warehouses with overhead doors.

    ...Once that's gone and there interior walls it can be whatever the hell i want it to be.
    That's the spirit!

    Come here, ask for advise, then ignore that advise because it was not what you wanted to hear.

    Thanks for all your support!
    I repeat: GO GET YOUR FRIGGIN' OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE! (See, we can both post with that attitude, if you prefer.)

    oh and ps, could anyone answer my question, about the wall to slab attatchment? All these replies and all i get is negitive comments.
    These are not (most anyway are not) negative comments, THEY ARE ADVISING YOU WHAT TO DO ... you know, just like you asked us to do.

    Sheesh! Is this guy for real?

    Jacob, tell you what, you write down what you want to hear, then we can all go 'Ditto. Sounds Good.', after all, you certainly do not want to (are not wanting to) hear anything which you disagree with.

    GO GET YOUR FRIGGIN' OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE!

    There, that should solve everything.

    Either the town gives you one, or they do not.

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  20. #20
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    Cool Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    you can "red head" or expansion bolt the interior walls to the slab, use Simpson H clips or equal to attache the top of the walls to the trusses---anything else? I think everyone was just letting you know things that they've run into that might be problematic for you. Sounds like you don't have to worry about handicapped access or business license or change of use permits, or much else that you'd have to deal with in Oregon.
    Good luck.

    The River Pirate


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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard N. Pinkerton View Post
    you can "red head" or expansion bolt the interior walls to the slab,
    Shucks, man, let the man just drive in some cut nails, ain't nobody going to care ... isn't that the attitude he wants?

    Sounds like you don't have to worry about handicapped access or business license or change of use permits, or much else that you'd have to deal with in ...
    ... in areas where people live and expect to be safe when going into a business.

    I'm not so sure that he does not need a business license (that occupational license thing I keep telling him to get).

    He first needs to apply for one, if the town does not issue one, apply for one from the county. Make sure to APPLY IN WRITING, and get and keep IN WRITING the town's response saying you do not need an occupational license, same if the county says you do not need one.

    Then, whether or not you have to get an occupational license, ask you homeowners insurance agent (you do have homeowners insurance, right?) what you need to do to make sure you are still covered when you convert your garage into your business.

    If your insurance agent tells you IN WRITING that you are covered, keep that too - you may need it, and make sure it is not 'just from the agent', that it is from the insurance company which insures your house, you agent is not going to have deep enough pockets to cover you when your insurance company says 'Your agent had no right to tell you that.' and your agent then says 'Oops ... I guess I was wrong.', which leaves you on your own to deal with whatever has already happened (say, someone slips entering or leaving, or while walking up to or back from you business).

    If you get all of that covered, hey, a little wiring mishap is not going to bother anyone either.

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    I appologize to those that weren't just here to give me a hard time, but i do consider someone accusing me of "trying to circumvent the law" bs... I've never started a business before, i don't know what an occupational license is.. I'll look it up and call the city up (if they answer) see about getting one. Thanks for the input.

    My main source of frustration is that i don't know where to turn, it seems so damn confusing. I need this to get this, but i need this before i can get that and so on.. Any more usefull input would still be appriciated. Appoligies again for comming off the chain..

    Also, just for those making fun of me for turning what is currently a garage into a business.. I'm sorry you have so much money that you can just buy some land and build something to work with, I CAN'T.. therefore i have to use what i have to work with. The Back of the garage faces main street in town (wich will be the front of the business), and a major highway is on the corner. The garage isn't attached to the house, you wouldn't even be able to tell it was used to be garage.

    *edit* from what i can find there is no business license required for doing computer work...

    Last edited by Jacob Sanchez; 10-15-2008 at 09:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Sanchez View Post
    I've never started a business before, i don't know what an occupational license is.. I'll look it up and call the city up
    In that spirit ... don't "call them", you live in a town, which means it is not that big, go down to City Hall and ask the person at the front desk where you get an occupational license ... if you get a blank stare, ask where you get a business license.

    Most times it will be either at the building department or the city clerk, or both (the building department will want to make sure your place is as safe as they require it to be and the city clerk will want your money, probably $50 or less).

    My main source of frustration is that i don't know where to turn, it seems so damn confusing.
    Welcome to being a "businessman" and owning your own business.

    Now, just wait until you start asking about "taxes" and "the tax man" (an occupational license is just a city tax you pay for a piece of paper which says you can operate your business in that town).

    I need this to get this, but i need this before i can get that and so on.
    1) Start with the occupational license.

    2) Then contact your insurance agent. (Really, you are going to have customers coming to your place of business, your house, you do not want them to be able to sue you for your house, which could happen.)

    3) I suspect that many of your answer will be given to you when you get your occupational license.

    4) If not requested when you get your occupational license, you will need to get the appropriate permits for the work you are going to do: building, electrical, maybe others, probably even a zoning issue will come up.

    5) Depending on how lax, or strict, your town is, you may not have many problems, but you need to be prepared for the worst (such as we are giving you).

    6) Don't know what is next on the list until you get to 5).

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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Sanchez View Post
    *edit* from what i can find there is no business license required for doing computer work...
    There is, if there are occupational licenses.

    Computer repair is the same as 'office machine' repair, which is the same as anyone other repair - it is "service work" in which your clients come to you, and in which you may also go to your clients.

    If your city says you do not need a license, get it in writing, otherwise, it may come back to haunt you.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Jacob. every one on the board has your best at heart. If you want to work from your home set it up and work from your home in the back. don't let the general public just walk into your home it will soon not be your home.

    Go pick up your computers at there homes, repair them and then drop them off and set them up for people. you will have a better day in the long run. Just the insurance alone will kill you!!!

    Best

    Ron


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Thanks Jerry, hate for you to have to spell it out for me like a little kid lol, but this is all new for me. And yes, i mean i would go up to city hall, since they obviously don't answer there phones anymore.

    Go pick up your computers at there homes, repair them and then drop them off and set them up for people. you will have a better day in the long run. Just the insurance alone will kill you!!!
    I could try that avenue with more advertising, but that is currently what i am doing, and it doesn't bring in a whole lot. Maby im wrong here but i feel that alot of people don't want to call someone up and talk about a subject there unfamilliar with (obviously, because they called me to get it fixed) and have me come into there home to get there computer. I belive they want to just bring it to a location, say fix it, and leave. Wich is where this idea stemed from..

    Last edited by Jacob Sanchez; 10-16-2008 at 06:22 AM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Sanchez View Post
    Maby im wrong here but i feel that alot of people don't want to call someone up and talk about a subject there unfamilliar with (obviously, because they called me to get it fixed) and have me come into there home to get there computer. I belive they want to just bring it to a location, say fix it, and leave. Wich is where this idea stemed from..
    When you compare that to ... having to unhook everything which is hooked up to the computer, then, when you bring it back ... having to try to figure out how to hook it all back up ... having someone who is willing to come out for a reasonable price is well worth it.

    When I was in South Florida, I had a place I could bring my computers to, they would also come out to my office - for a price (sometimes too big of a price). Their office trips to 'repair it in your office' were geared toward larger businesses than just one-man-shows. Also, time is of the essence for most, waiting for their man to come to my office (little old me versus a large office with a large network setup with many computers and many $$$$) was not something I could do - so I would take mine in most of the time.

    Since having moved up here, I had one guy come out to help me get my network up and running again (I was having a problem connecting my notebook computer through my wireless network to my network drive) only to have him say 'Oh, that is what you meant, I don't do that stuff. Sorry. I'll look at it but if I can't do anything there will be no charge.' There was no charge. (I did spend some more time on it and got it myself.)

    Then, when my wife's computer crashed, I called around (anyone but that guy), found a place and took the computer to them.

    There is a market for both services.

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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Sanchez View Post
    The Back of the garage faces main street in town (wich will be the front of the business), and a major highway is on the corner. The garage isn't attached to the house, you wouldn't even be able to tell it was used to be garage.

    Nonetheless, the garage *is still* 'on the same property as the house is' and is covered by your homeowners insurance.

    You would need to have your insurance agent severe the garage from the homeowners policy and write a business policy to cover the garage. That should cover you regarding doing business out of your garage as far as insurance goes. BUT, of course, your insurance will cost more, a lot more.

    Then there is the legal issue (which is different than the insurance issue): suppose someone slips/trips and falls at your business and your business insurance policy is the minimum (because that is all you can afford right now), that person takes your insurance policy to its limits, then sues you, and, because the garage is technically 'part of the house property', they go after your business (your garage) AND end up getting your house too.

    I understand that your garage sounds like it is well sited for business, facing main street and with a highway on the corner, a real nice business location (as they say in commercial real estate 'there are three things which matter most: 1) location; 2) location; 3) location' ... and you already have them: location, location, location ...

    ... except it is also part of your house.

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    In my town you need a business license and they don’t allow retail businesses in residential zoned areas. There are a few exceptions but they’ve been grandfathered years ago. You might want to alert your neighbors as any undo traffic sets people’s teeth on edge and all it takes is a couple of complaints and you will have invested serious money into a project the city will more than likely shut down.

    Best scenario; run your plan by your local city building department or planning director before you go any further.


    Jerry McCarthy
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    I got ahold of the city, and so far so good. I told him exactly what i wanted to do, renovate the inside of my garage, put some signs up in front (main street) and start doing business. He said that main street is zoned for business, and i asked again if it was ok to have a business and residence on the same property, with the same address, and he said that was fine. He went on about how the city (of Laharpe) very much encourages new business in town and will go with pretty much anything, as long as its not an adult business. He also said i do not need a business licence, but i do need to come before the city at the counsil meeting and get there "blessing", wich he said they havent turned anyone down yet. I asked about a building permit, he said i just need to come up and pay $10 for that. He also said he wouldnt inspect me to death wich is nice. The concensus is, they really don't give a damn lol.. So i guess i couldnt' get much luckier than that

    You might want to alert your neighbors as any undo traffic sets people’s teeth on edge
    I'll be lucky to see 5 cars a day pull up the drive, that shouldn't bother the neighbors lol. This is a one man operation, and with an average of $45 profit per repair/upgrade i'd be extatic to get even 3 people per day. Expenses will be minimal (unless again, the insurance becomes an issue).

    So now i guess the big hurdle will be the insurance issue. Wich will prob. put and end to this now that i actually made headway.

    Last edited by Jacob Sanchez; 10-16-2008 at 01:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    You might just ask about a rider on your homeowners policy. This is not all that unusual since lots of people across the country do the same sort of thing. Just ask for the simplest way to get coverage, no need to reinvent the wheel; but I agree with others here that have said get it in writing on all of your plans. Politicians and people (not necessarily the same thing ) change their minds and insurance companies tend to be a bit slimy when it comes to paying off on a claim.
    JMO

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    The insurance company seemed cool about it. They said for now they would cover it (yes i did get it in writing). But they said when business picks up and gets steady that i should come in and get coverage separate from the residence. They said it would be $500-700/yr. which is great, i was thinking quite a bit more than that.. This is crazy, you all had me worked up thinking this was never going to happen, and so far its easier than i ever imagined.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Sanchez View Post
    This is crazy, you all had me worked up thinking this was never going to happen, and so far its easier than i ever imagined.
    I can only say that in the places I've lived (urban areas except one small town of 1,500 when I was a kid) ... you would never have been able to do what your are being allowed to do.

    Your town and building department (and other town departments/persons) apparently has a lack of understanding of the potential hazards for the public when entering places of business such as you are suggesting. Either that or they are aware of the potential hazards and just do not care - in which case the building department (and other town departments/persons) should be kicked out on their butts.

    I would say 'lucky for you', but in you being 'lucky', your customers are being put at risk, so I will not say you are 'lucky', your customers are 'unlucky' is the way to way it.

    Maybe small towns are all that way, they need the small business so much that they are willing to look the other way for all other hazards?

    Regarding your plans in this post, submit them to the building department and get their blessing - you will not get it here.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    what the heck is with all this "risk" ?? Im not a retard, i'm not going to put customers at risk (or my business for that matter), by not doing my homework before doing the work. I just don't see what the deal is. Even though they didn't say i had to have it inspected, i still will, that way if something does happen i won't feel like i did something wrong that caused it. I do see your point in customer saftey in a larger setting, but these people won't ever be 10ft from the door, and if they can't sense a fire and run 10ft in time, then they prob. wouln't be in there any way. Maby you could give me some examples of what could happen... I'm just not seeing the big deal.

    Regarding your plans in this post, submit them to the building department and get their blessing - you will not get it here.
    I don't need your damn approval... I don't see how you people can be such dicks. Hope you enjoy your life.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Sanchez View Post
    I just don't see what the deal is.

    I'm just not seeing the big deal.
    I know you are not seeing it.

    Go back and re-read some of the first posts.

    Can you spell ADA? Do you know what ADA stands for?

    Do you know what fire set backs are required for businesses? What fire rating the walls are supposed to have is those set backs are not met? What openings are allowed in those walls if the set backs are not met?

    Have you heard of "emergency lighting"? Where is yours on your plan?

    Exit signs?

    That is why we say: Take your plans to your town, do whatever they say you need to do (apparently - not much). Get your occupational license (business license). Keep your in$urance papers in a fire resistant safe.

    You asked for help. We have tried to offer help. You don't like the help being offered because ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Sanchez View Post
    I just don't see what the deal is.

    I'm just not seeing the big deal.
    Not much else we can do for you.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Sanchez View Post
    what the heck is with all this "risk" ??

    Im not a retard, i'm not going to put customers at risk (or my business for that matter), by not doing my homework before doing the work.

    I just don't see what the deal is..
    .
    Try Here!!--- ADA Standards for Accessible Design And Here Department of Justice ADA Enforcement
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Billy,

    Not worth your time. I thought it would be at first, but then the truth came out and he is too intent on getting something for nothing and not being considerate of his customers who take the chance to walk onto his property.

    Sounds like his mentality and attitude is the same as that of his building department, local government, and even his insurance agent - 'This is Hicksville and anything goes here.'

    I did not realize there really were people and places like that still around, I figure that they at least read the newspapers, watched TV, and read what was on the internet, and, with all of that awareness, how could they be so inept?

    Boggles my mind, I tell you.

    I think he and TM would fit right in with each other. One 'sees no evil' and one 'hears no evil' ... just missing 'speaks no evil'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    This is a great post to follow.

    My.... How times have changed!

    I see a young person trying to be an entrepreneur with an idea to make a living, probably with a family, coming to this website looking for information. He spent hours just drawing up his Idea and looking for input from our experts. He'll spend many more hours and investments of time and money developing his ideas into a business that may or may not even work.

    I see responses from professionals that have spent their entire lives dogging lawsuits (me included) that only respond to the volumes of bureaucratic bipartisan negotiations (codes) and "big" governmment intervention - all stumbling blocks to this small start up business. All of our responses were about - How to reduce RISK or follow the LAW. For the most part all of our advice would only add stumbling blocks, cost more money, and discourage this start up - NONE were encouraging to this assumingly young person. I particulary liked Jacob's response to our recommendations for fire safety, separations and alarms for a few customers that will have to take ten steps to the door.

    A few of us even stepped out of our bounds and criticized his idea of a home based computer repair business, without any facts to back it up. Possibly discouraging Jacob from pursuing or fullfilling his dream.

    I see a small town acting neighborly, working with Jacob, trying to help him achieve his dreams of a start up business and encouraging him to be successful. - Yet we still find ways to criticize this town.

    Even though I know time moves on and we must adapt to change, I often wonder if it is for the best, or if we are so blinded by the rules that we can't see the forest through the trees!

    For ME - This post was a good lesson learned.

    JACOB - YOU GO MAN!! and Good luck!


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    NONE were encouraging to this assumingly young person.
    Ken,

    We have, guess you did not read them.

    However, there is a large gap in your thinking on this.

    One is this is a startup by an individual ... we said go for it.

    The other is this is asking OTHER PEOPLE to walk into your place ... THAT brings that risk you talk about and THAT creates the additional layer of risk.

    Which is what lead to the suggestion that he go to his customers - allows him to continue his startup, and does not put others at risk in HIS place.

    The problem is, Jacob said so himself, business is slow that way, and slow to build.

    Yeah, it is. That's the price you pay for 'starting a business and accommodating your customers coming to you' versus 'starting a business and you going to your customers'.

    By the way, Jacob, there is a call for your business, done right ... today I am taking my computer to a computer repair place near me to replace the CD and DVD drives which have quite working. Sure, I could just replace my computer, but then I'd have to screw around with Windows Vista, re-loading all my programs, etc.

    However, note that this computer repair place is a business in a small retail strip center.

    I say 'go to your clients' until you can make enough to start up in your garage properly, then keep going to your clients too, they will like it, and, yes, it will cost a little more to have you come to them.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 10-20-2008 at 07:07 AM.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  40. #40
    Todd Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)


    Jacob,

    I, for one, commend you on your entrepreneurial spirit. It takes guts to do what you are doing. You were right seeking out advice; you would not have asked if you didn’t want to do it “right.” You'll be fine playing by the rules, and so will your customers. Hang in there, and don't take these guys too seriously.

    It is possible to have good and right input AND be considerate while doing it. I grew up with a family member like that; full of great ideas and good counsel, but equally full of himself and lacking decorum. If you can set the personalities aside here, glean from their opinions and perspectives. Also, know with whom you are dealing. It will help you understand their vantage point. One example: Jerry is in litigation support these days, helping assign fault by supporting sometimes right conclusions, and other times foregone wrong ones.

    From his website: “I can review and inspect the structure or building to document what in the finished construction does not meet the applicable codes or installation instructions. Such a determination assists in assigning liability in any resulting litigation.” This implies he will always find something wrong, that someone will be at fault, and that litigation can ensue. Thus, his responses to you are from the perspective of someone in the business who assigns fault. Notice how responses turned on the township when one could no longer beat up on you or your ideas? It is an opinion generated from a “someone is liable” standpoint. My comments are not intended as an indictment on Jerry, but a subjective observation (opinion) of many of his postings over the years.

    While he often makes some good points, he is not always correct. For instance, I strongly disagree with Jerry’s other business of uploading inspection documents. In many states that information is considered and explicitly defined as privileged information between the client and inspector. By making it available to a database or others, it could be considered unlawful. I’m sure Jerry did his best to ensure compliance with State law, but I can still disagree regardless of the permission statements on the submission form. YOU are now doing your best to stay compliant with local ordinances. Nevertheless, Jerry can still disagree.

    I have strongly disagreed with Jerry in the past on HVAC Max breaker and Minimum ampacity requirements. I still insist that there is no reason to accept a smaller wire, just because you can. I believe, as a former electrician, that breakers and wire sizes should match to provide the best possible safe environment for the occupants. 'Because code says I can get away with it!' is not worth the risk of overheating, loss of use, or worst-case, fire. I’m not going to take it personally. Based on my experience, precedence, best practice, and concern for safety, I will consider mismatched wires and breakers to be unacceptable. That said, Jerry often makes good recommendations, as well.

    Do what you can do to make it safe and comfortable for your customers and their property. I agree that you should follow the rules and do keep your customers well-being in mind. After all, they will appreciate and notice it.

    And you can always post a sign "Lord, protect all those who enter," or have each sign a waiver before they enter.

    BTW, we should be asking you some questions before providing any opinions:

    - How old is the home? The garage?
    - What is the ADA requirement in your town, on Main Street, your zone? As there are may be some exclusions for age, types of use and occupation, etc.
    - Would you consider separate power/separate metering from your house and garage? Similar steps may help reduce your risk, and further create firewalls between personal and business.
    - Did the Garage have or will it require a separate U&O?
    - Does the garage have HVAC?
    - Looks like your receptacles and lighting are tied together. Recommend you separate them and have it reviewed by an electrician. Does the town require inspection and permit?

    No doubt we could ask dozens more, ask for pictures, etc. but I don't think that is the detailed response ("approval") for which you are looking. I believe you wanted thoughts on how to proceed. You definitely got that! :-)

    Don’t give up, but do follow the rules and laws! You must also now strongly consider the fact that you have posted this on a public forum that could be leveraged against you, should something happen.

    Todd



  41. #41
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Billy,

    Not worth your time. I thought it would be at first, but then the truth came out and he is too intent on getting something for nothing and not being considerate of his customers who take the chance to walk onto his property.

    Sounds like his mentality and attitude is the same as that of his building department, local government, and even his insurance agent - 'This is Hicksville and anything goes here.'

    I did not realize there really were people and places like that still around, I figure that they at least read the newspapers, watched TV, and read what was on the internet, and, with all of that awareness, how could they be so inept?

    Boggles my mind, I tell you.

    I think he and TM would fit right in with each other. One 'sees no evil' and one 'hears no evil' ... just missing 'speaks no evil'.
    Just curious about the sentence in bold!


  42. #42
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Stevens View Post
    - What is the ADA requirement in your town, on Main Street, your zone? As there are may be some exclusions for age, types of use and occupation, etc.
    Todd,

    The ADA is a Federal law and requirement, it is not allowed to *not be followed* by local governments, however, it is allowed to be followed with more stringent requirements. However, when taken to court, most of those more stringent requirements can be knocked down and out.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Just curious about the sentence in bold!
    TM,

    Not TM from Texas, TM from Oklahoma. You know, Diamond Tony.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  44. #44
    Todd Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The ADA is a Federal law and requirement, it is not allowed to *not be followed* by local governments, however, it is allowed to be followed with more stringent requirements. However, when taken to court, most of those more stringent requirements can be knocked down and out.
    Jerry,

    Indeed, and am painfully aware of those standards (from buildout projects for fed gov some years back). Though, some buildings based on age, ex cetera may not be "able" or required to be brought up completely to those standards. E.g Old Two-story office building in Annapolis did not have an elevator and did not have to one installed immediately. It would IF it had met other conditions, but not at the time they were originally cited. Our friend may have an exclusion, but only his local office would know that.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Stevens View Post
    Our friend may have an exclusion, but only his local office would know that.
    Todd,

    Yes, there can be exceptions, based on a variety of things, when remodeling an older multi-story building, such as the example you gave.

    However, when remodeling an empty structure, it is a garage, I can think of no exception which would apply. If the side door is not large enough, there is that quite-large-garage door opening which can easily be made into an accessible entrance.

    But the ADA is only one of the many issues being ignored by his town's building department when they say 'no problemo'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  46. #46
    Jacob Sanchez's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need some advice on a project please :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Stevens View Post

    - How old is the home? The garage?
    - What is the ADA requirement in your town, on Main Street, your zone? As there are may be some exclusions for age, types of use and occupation, etc.
    - Would you consider separate power/separate metering from your house and garage? Similar steps may help reduce your risk, and further create firewalls between personal and business.
    - Did the Garage have or will it require a separate U&O?
    - Does the garage have HVAC?
    - Looks like your receptacles and lighting are tied together. Recommend you separate them and have it reviewed by an electrician. Does the town require inspection and permit?

    Todd
    Thanks for the constructive input.

    The garage is ~10 years old. And is very well built, otherwise i wouldn't even be trying this. Its 22' x 22'. For the moment i plan to use about half of it.

    As for the ADA Requirements, they did kind of crack me up there, im sure jerry will like this one. They said they weren't sure if i had to follow them, and then they pointed out that the store just up the road doesn't handycap accecible doors or parking. So i guess that means again, they don't care, But i plan to follow as closely as possible to the ADA Guidelines.

    I asked the city about getting a meter/line seperate for the business, and the cost was very reasonable so i will be doing that. That should make things alot simpler on the accounting side of things.

    About the HVAC, I know jerry will just love this one, because i don't even like it.. For the winter i'll only have 2 2000w space heaters, on there own circut. Yes i know, this is stupid, and it will prob. be burnt down in a week, so wish me luck

    I've made quite a few changes to the electrical actually. I'm working on making a professional and correct looking floor plan, and electrical plan (actually use simbols this time..). Lights will be on there own circut. Looks like i might have to get a bigger breaker box


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