Hidden Franchise Construction Costs

The build-out construction process is often the most challenging component of any franchise startup. Blending design decisions, city review, landlord issues and financial concerns, the project culminates with the added stress of final details before the doors open for the franchise. Often if business owners had a mulligan, they would go back and rethink the actual costs in building out the demised space. Hidden franchise construction costs lurk behind each build-out, which after the lease is inked, become the responsibility of the unaware tenant.

One of the most important aspects of site evaluation is understanding the physical condition of the tenant space and how it relates to the franchisee use. A “standard” vanilla box condition, negotiated in most leases, may leave the incoming tenant with many required upgrades not known when the lease is signed. These are often facilitated by code requirements, poor condition of existing construction or design requirements brought to the project by the franchisee.

Consider the following brief list of common potential hidden costs:

A. New or reworked fire suppression system.

B. Additional egress requirements.

C. HVAC system modifications.

D. Demising wall fire rating.

E. Electrical service entrance adequacy.

F. ADA modifications.

G. Asbestos or hazardous material abatement.

H. Water or gas service size deficiency.

I. Additional toilet rooms required.

J. Fresh makeup air requirements or exhaust systems.

K. In-wall blocking, sound attenuation insulation needs.

L. Underground plumbing, fixture requirements, drinking fountains, mop sink, floor drains, etc.

M. Floor prep, waterproofing membrane requirements.

N. Health department finish requirements beyond Vanilla Box specifications.

O. Fire alarm systems.

P. Required use of Landlord’s roofing contractor for warranty.

Q. Adequacy of storefront construction, location of doors, glass areas, energy efficiency, etc.

R. Location of landlord provided work not compatible with plans.

S. Adequacy of site to stage construction, parking, dumpsters, deliveries, etc.

T. Excessive building permit fees, bonds, insurance costs.

U. Stringent landlord required construction site policies and procedures.

V. Union labor requirements or landlord contractor use requirements.

W. Tap fees for utility connections.

X. Hidden or unforeseen conditions in walls or under floor slab.

Y. Complexity of demolition activities – removal of debris from jobsite.

Z. Additional emergency / exit lights required by building department.

The list stretches from A to Z. The best advice is to know the physical attributes of the space you are leasing. It may have a profound effect on your decision when you are considering various locations. Combining various expertise at the outset can be very beneficial: a general contractor for demised space review, a financial planner for business plan review, a real estate agent for site review and a real estate attorney for lease review. Directing a bright light at these hidden issues before you commit can make all the difference.

How Health Insurance Brokers Can Help You Find Affordable Medical Insurance

With all the choices available to everyone for health insurance, people definitely need help finding the right (and most affordable) policy for themselves and an insurance broker can certainly do this. For example, why pay high premiums for complete coverage, when you have no need for maternity benefits, or if you don’t have a lot of pre-existing conditions?

Insurance is basically a contract between the insured individual or group and an underwriting company or insurer, which provides for reimbursement in the case of loss; in this case, loss of money spent on health maintenance and accidents. In an economy where medical care is as costly as it is, one cannot afford to be without medical insurance.

Because the cost of premiums paid for such a policy can be expensive, especially for individual policy holders, the services of brokers can be invaluable. Brokers work independently and can sell policies from many insurance companies, or through numerous agencies. Most of these professionals work on commission, so they spend a lot of time looking for clients. Once they have set up a policy for a certain client, they follow through to help settle claim disputes between the insurance company, the insured, and the healthcare providers. This is especially true with non-typical claims such as those involving workmen’s compensation; when the insured is injured on the job.

Stud Spacing and Wall Framing

Remodeling and building homes over the years I have seen all sorts of stud spacing measurements in bearing and non-bearing walls.

How far should we space a framing stud in a bearing wall?

Most plans will give you this information. If you have a structural shear wall the plans will tell you what size of lumber to use at the plywood breaks. The normal spacing on a bearing wall will be 16 inches on center unless otherwise noted on the building plans. This is the most common spacing for studs in a wall.

How far can we space framing studs in a nonbearing wall?

I have seen studs spaced as far as 24 inches on center in a nonbearing wall. Over the years looking at the building code books I have found this to be acceptable for most framing applications. Do not confuse a nonbearing walls with a structural shear walls because there is no weight sitting on the shear wall.

Interior structural shear walls will require 16 inch on center spacing or less depending on the structural engineer and your local building department.

What are the disadvantages of spacing the studs 24 inches on center?

Using half-inch drywall with 24 inch on center stud spacing can give the wall a week or spongy feel. I have been in houses that have 24 inch on center’s stud spacing and can actually push the wall and see it move. Using 5/8 drywall will solve this problem in your walls.

What are the advantages of spacing the studs 24 inches on center?

The only advantage in spacing the studs farther apart is the fact you will be able to save a few dollars on the overall cost of building or remodeling your house. I personally do not recommend this process because the savings is minuscule compared to the overall cost of building the entire house.

If you look on a measuring tape between 19 and 20 inches you will usually find a little diamond. This little diamond is another measurement for laying out eight-foot walls or floors. So instead of using 16 inch on center layout you can use 19 1/4 for stud spacing. This will save you an additional stud in your wall or floor joist every 8 feet.