Old Morris Bridge Road & 122nd Avenue
The location of this site is outlined in the map above.
The building will be used as an office and an apartment. Due to the proportional amount of area used for business and home it's easy to determine this is a occupancy class B building per FBC section 304. After looking at the FBC charts on section 500 and 600 you'll notice if I try to get approval for a bigger building the fire rating requirements go up. An example of this is if I used construction type I-A can build up to an unlimited height and have an unlimited square footage per FBC table 503 but I get hammered by the fire codes on FBC table 603 which starts asking for 4 hour fire ratings and fire sprinklers. As you start asking for less space and height the fire rating requirements start coming down dramatically.
I am pointing this out for a few reasons. There are many people out there that have no idea what the difference is between fantasy and reality when it's time to design buildings. Showing this explains to people how things work in the real world. This is only one of several governing factors that can and will limit your building size and height. Every place you go, including your home was designed and built to building codes. Knowing the building codes, looking them up and applying them to your design while incorporating function of the end user separates the professionals from the people using CAD software as an etch a sketch.
I personally think the best fit for this project would be to go with construction type II-A. It offers an 37,500 square feet total when my building is significantly less than this, a maximum total height of 65 feet or 5 stories which ever comes first and the highest fire rating it requires me to use is 1 hour. The last part might be cutting it a little close but I can deal with it. A two hour fire wall at worst case scenario costs much less than a four hour rated one needed for the type I-A. Keep in mind it's not simply just slapping on an extra piece of type "X" gypsum to fix the problem. There are requirements for every penetration and structural member within the building also. This still does not even cover the added cost of the labor, shipping or the other materials to install it. Adding all of this together is far more than just the cost of the extra gypsum board.
Even after looking at the size limitations and requirements for the construction type II-A , if I am a few feet over and it's totally necessary I can opt for a variance but I need to keep those kinds of requests for emergency use only. Now it's time to look at some of the real problems that come into play when we start looking at the site:
Lack of a sewer means the owner of the property is responsible for treating the run off from their land. So all of the water has to be treated before it gets into the creek that dumps out into the Hillsborough River at the north side of the property.
Part of the property is designated as wetland which means even that much less space you can build on and another setback you need to maintain for your building.
The flood plain designation also makes some of this property more expensive to develop than others.
There isn't a fire hydrant in close proximity to the property limiting the size of the structure you may build.
The shape of the property tapering off at the south instead of being an easy square parcel of land while maintaining the required set backs make placing the building on the property that much more difficult.
There is only one access to the building from the north due to 122nd Avenue being a dead end.
The allowable permeable and impermeable square footage made things almost impossible especially when planning for parking.
Odds we will still have to use fire sprinklers in the building due to a lack of a fire hydrant in close proximity to the site. So I'll try and make lemonade out of the lemons by exploring the idea of taking recycled rain water, treating it and then using it for the fire sprinkler system. There's a green idea we will probably put to good use in the future.
Due to the types of issues and the amount of other problems that have occurred through other agencies we can not make a normal building entry like found on many buildings which was depressing to find out. The current entry is a lack luster journey through the Level 1 parking area. I was thinking of eventually developing a canopy design for an exterior elevator entry but I have not fully explored that option as of yet. Sometimes that's how things are when dealing with large bureaucracies that have impossible or impractical demands.
Just to give you an idea this is only the start of the red tape I have to go through. I still have to chase down every single last item used to make the building for an approval code. Only if they were this tough on other industries like the banking industry perhaps we would all be working instead of going through a financial crisis. So sometimes we have to settle for things that are not optimal or less desirable which is far better than not having a building at all.
So much for designing buildings for fantasy land. We are off to make a Occupancy Group B Building with Construction Type II-A guidelines using the smallest foot print possible while making everything we can cantilevered for the most square footage. It's a good thing I design projects to be built in the real world which isn't to say I won't need a few variances to make this happen.