1. A Full Site Survey
This includes topography and many other data characteristics, will be necessary for design and construction. With the proper “survey checklist” there is nothing to keep you from having the survey performed even before you hire a design professional.
Collect and provide specs to the designer for all specialty equipment that the department will provide.
2. Architect References
Before selecting your architect, be sure to speak with several of their past public safety clients to gauge their level of satisfaction with the architect’s performance.
3. Consider Soft Costs
There are many non-construction costs associated with a project. These are typically referred to as “soft-costs” and can include items such as; land acquisition, surveys, special inspections, furnishings, equipment, design fees, etc.
There is normally a significant price increase to build a multi-story station compared to single-story.
4. Free Property
“Free property” often turns out to be very expensive based on its development cost, unusable easements and right-of-ways, or what is below the ground surface, i.e., unsuitable soils, rock, high ground water, buried debris, etc.
5. Combine Agencies
You may be able to secure additional capital funding sources if you provide minimal space for other agencies like EMS, a police substation, or parks and recreation space.
6. Decide on Equipment
Collect literature or cut-sheets on the equipment you plan to purchase for the new facilities, such as extractors, compressors and alerting systems. This information will be needed during the facility design.
7. Include End Users
Try to include “end users” on your planning committee. They have a vested interest in being dedicated to the project’s success. If they are not included, they will certainly find items in the finished facility that doesn’t meet their expectations.
Station 2 was designed with a by-pass truck lane that can later become the third apparatus bay.
8. One Story or Two?
It is almost always less expensive to build a one-story station compared to a two-story station, assuming that you have the proper site to do so.
9. Consider Future Growth
Plan the site and facility for future growth and modifications. It will happen.
Materials selections that do not require painting and constant cleaning will reduce operating costs and increase the station lifespan.
10. Training Props
You can incorporate indoor and outdoor training props into the design for relatively little cost.
11. Material Selection
Select durable, maintenance-free materials and systems for inside and outside.
12. Using Glass
If you chose to use glass on the apparatus bay doors, consider not using it at the bottom panel. The glass at the bottom of the door is what requires cleaning most often.
There are many systems that apply color to the apparatus bay floors during construction, but very few of them provide a meaningful UV color fastness warranty in writing.
14. Sample Flooring
Prior to pouring the apparatus bay floors, have the building contractor pour a sample floor panel so that you can approve the floor finish you expect to receive with the final product.
Your department may be eligible for grants or low-interest loans from government agencies such as FEMA, FHA, or USDA.
For more information on these ideas or many others, contact us or any experienced public safety design professional.