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I am working on my first set of commercial construction documents and need to know what information is required. Square footages, construction type, use group, life safety layout and any other info that is required. Is there anyone out there that could lead me in the right direction to learn this info.?

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Unless you are a licensed professional ( Architect or Engineer ) you probably are not legally able to do commercial structures.  I don't know the law on this in VA but most states require a license for commercial projects.

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I no longer carry a license here in Indiana, but without it I/others can produce plans for, and file a State Design Release for commercial projects up to 30,000 cuft, or build-out projects as long as there are no structural changes.

 

Having said all of that, my guess is the requirements for what I put on plans here in Indiana is different that what you need in Virginia. Coastal Virginia is probably even vastly different than the Western part of the state. You need to do a lot of research, legally and professionally, before you simply jump into commercial design and plan prep. 

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you need to check your state requirements and find and Architect or structual engineer to work under so he can stamp them for you that is what I do here in Pa with the advantage of my son being a structual engineer to do plan reviews on commercial projects since he works for the state in the bridge department, you might be able to google the requirements for Virginia

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as Joey stated it is possible to design/draw commercial plans but they will need to be reviewed and signed/stamped

by a licensed architect or engineer

 

I worked in VA and did residential and light commercial there

 

sometimes we created the cad drawings and then the engineer would review/signoff

 

other times he would create a basic drawing we would do it over in Chief's cad and he would review/signoff

 

other times he would create the final drawings and we would attached them as addendum to the plan set

with appropriate reference notes in the plan set

 

If you follow the IBC for most of the project and get the signoffs you should be ok

 

the more "custom" work the more involvement from the engineer or architect

 

Lew

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A quick Google search revealed that Virginia uses a modified version of the 2015 ICC model codes: they call it the Virginia Construction Code (VCC), or alternatively the USBC. Authority to enforce the code is delegated to local Building Officials. Contact your local Building Official; they will determine what you have to show on the drawings, what other information must be submitted, the fee schedule, the permitting process, etc.

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Rod:

 

the schools keep it fairly generic since each permit office has different requirements

 

I learned to call the local office of each project and check their website to determine what they needed

calling them also helps after you have narrowed your questions down to a few

 

for one commercial project the builder and I scheduled a meeting with the permit officer to discuss what they needed

face to face

 

working in the DC metro area I had DC, MD, VA and 12+ counties across those jurisdictions

that all had different requirements - including the size of the paper

 

also ask the builder for samples of prior projects

I found that each builder has different requirements

 

some want to see drawing A and others drawing B

its amazing how varied everything can be

 

Lew

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To instill a bit of confidence.... I am NOT licensed, however I have drafted several commercial projects, some were required to be stamped, others were let through without a stamp. Working on one right now that will require a stamp. A lot cheaper to do it and have it stamped if you find the right engineer to work with.

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I'm coming from a position where to work on a commercial project without being the employee of an architect would be breaking the law, and an architect stamping my design would be breaking the law too.  Your laws may vary, but get to know them.  But I think the OP's question is much to broad to be answered by anything short of some good solid education of any sort, or at the very least gaining experience with someone local who knows this stuff.

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In California, for example, the limits of what an unlicensed person can do are spelled out here: https://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/pubs/building_design_auth.pdf

 

If the work falls outside of these limits, then you can certainly draft directly for a licensed professional, but if you are designing a project and or providing documents for construction, then I probably would not want to have my title block on any drawings. Building departments may let things slide if they see an engineer's stamp on some of the drawings, but they don't always perceive that it's their job to enforce the Architects or Engineers license laws. In California, any investigation and fines probably would be handled by the California Architects Board.  In most states, it only takes a report by a disgruntled client, or a pissed-off architect, who discovers you working beyond your legal authority to make your life suddenly very difficult. "Getting away with it" on a regular basis should not instill a sense of confidence. (Usually this just means the penalties are more severe when they finally catch up to you.) The definition of "responsible charge" varies between states, as well. In some, if an unlicensed person even contracts with someone other than a licensed design professional for work involving a non-exempt building, even if only just for design ideas, they can get nailed. It's important to know the laws of your state.   

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19 hours ago, Richard_Morrison said:

In California, for example, the limits of what an unlicensed person can do are spelled out here: https://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/pubs/building_design_auth.pdf

 

If the work falls outside of these limits, then you can certainly draft directly for a licensed professional, but if you are designing a project and or providing documents for construction, then I probably would not want to have my title block on any drawings. Building departments may let things slide if they see an engineer's stamp on some of the drawings, but they don't always perceive that it's their job to enforce the Architects or Engineers license laws. In California, any investigation and fines probably would be handled by the California Architects Board.  In most states, it only takes a report by a disgruntled client, or a pissed-off architect, who discovers you working beyond your legal authority to make your life suddenly very difficult. "Getting away with it" on a regular basis should not instill a sense of confidence. (Usually this just means the penalties are more severe when they finally catch up to you.) The definition of "responsible charge" varies between states, as well. In some, if an unlicensed person even contracts with someone other than a licensed design professional for work involving a non-exempt building, even if only just for design ideas, they can get nailed. It's important to know the laws of your state.   

I have been designing projects in California for 40+ years, using an engineer most of the time, Richard is just trying to scare people here.

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