Anyone who has started a business and seen it grow knows that its office/plant/warehouse/whatever-and-etc. must grow too.
Usually that means either of two solutions, both imperfect: moving to another building or enduring the mess and confusion that are inevitable during construction of new space.
A Southland firm has come up with a modification of the second solution that minimizes the dislocations of constructing new space.
The company is Scotsman Corp., Long Beach-based builder of relocatable commercial, industrial and residential structures ranging from 4-by-4-foot guard posts to buildings containing tens of thousands of square feet of space assembled from 14-by-60-foot modules.
To sweeten the pie, Scotsman has joined with Interior Planning Associates of Westlake Village to furnish the new building with Westinghouse "systems furniture," providing what it calls a completely flexible working environment.
Scotsman designs and builds a one-story building that is planned to have a second story added on top when needed later. Adding-on consists of constructing the modules in the factory, trucking them to the site and putting them in place on top of the existing building.
When that's done, the parking area may be cluttered with cranes and other equipment for a few days, but neither the parking nor the landscaping is torn up. Finishing and furnishing the upstairs can be done with minimum disruption to the office's work. The elevator and stairs are even planned in; their space can be used as a storeroom or something until the second floor goes on.
"In other words," according to Larry Smith, Scotsman's marketing services manager, "the facility is totally designed initially for the second-story expansion and begins as a single-story building."
The result, he said, is "a commercial building with nine-foot ceilings, ambient and task lighting, carpets--the most recent interior design concepts and furniture."
He said modular (system) furniture can save up to 20% of the building space by using cubic footage rather than square footage and can return a saving of up to 97% on any rearrangement required by personnel growth or decrease, changes in individual workers' functions or departmental rearrangements.
"Rearranging doesn't require costly construction and disruption of work," Smith claimed. "It's simply a matter of shifting panels and components that are designed for ease of movement. Walls do not need to be moved, there's no need for changes in the heating-ventilating-air conditioning system or in electrical system or carpeting. This virtually eliminates any down time."
The buildings range from 1,500 to 150,000 square feet and are available in at least four different exterior finishes that Smith said have not been used previously on modular buildings.
"In fact," Smith continued, "this concept utilizes all the advantages of this type of construction to their maximum potential then then adds furniture and furnishings (including computer, communication and fire-safety systems if desired)."
The company offers the completed building, designed and furnished to suit, on a one- to five-year lease, for outright purchase or a lease-purchase contract.
In fact, Scotsman itself is so sold on its product that is recently opened its new Northern California office at 6055 Scarlett Court, Dublin, is just that kind of building.