900 East Main Street, Suite 109

Grass Valley, CA 95945


1250 East Ave #10

Chico, CA 95926


Design Process for Commercial and Non-Residential Buildings

Design Process for Commercial and Non-Residential Buildings

I recently spoke to Russell Davidson about the design process for commercial and non-residential buildings. After receiving his degree in Architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Russell initially worked for a boutique architecture firm in San Francisco, followed by a move back to Grass Valley to work for a local firm. In 2018 Russell started his own practice and completes designs for both commercial and residential projects. Russell is a licensed Architect in the State of California and can be your lead Architect for a project.

What is a commercial project?

For the purposes of this discussion, a commercial project consists of any structure built on commercially or industrially zoned parcel as well as some residential multifamily projects (depending on several factors, could include projects with 3, 4, or 5 or more units).

What are a few considerations for those wanting to proceed with a commercial design?

Russell advises anyone who is considering purchasing a building or land to further develop into commercial space to fully understand the current zoning of the parcel and what types of upgrades will be required for their intended use. These upgrades could include ADA improvements, structural upgrades, restroom facilities improvements, septic or wastewater considerations and many more.

Additionally, the design and planning process for this type of work can take time and should be factored into one’s decision making process.

What does a commercial design project team consist of?

This depends on the extent of the project. However, here’s a list of those typically involved.

  • Architect- Team lead. Completes the architectural design of the project and coordinates efforts of other team members.
  • Contractor- assists on completing construction estimates, sequencing of work, and provides design reviews.
  • Civil Engineer- completes land improvement designs. These typically consist of ADA improvements from the parking area up to the building entrance, storm water designs, parking lot designs, utility plans up to the building, and much more.
  • Electrical Engineer- completes the electrical plans for the project.
  • Mechanical Engineer- Completes the Mechanical and Plumbing plans of a project as well as energy calculations.
  • Project owner or rep- Oversees the project, makes decisions on design alternatives, creates a project budget and scope, and is the main contact for the project team.
  • Structural Engineer- completes structural analysis of building and determines beam and joist sizing and spacing, lateral resisting systems, foundations, and more.
  • Specialties- These can have a wide range of responsibilities and inputs and are only used on specific projects. Some of the specialty type include an interior designer and acoustical engineer.

Read more from this conversation with Russell click here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *