Thanks FWDbuff , we are just in the early planning stage and out town has a new building inspecter so we anticipate that we will be working closely with him. Just following the Chief's ongoing construction has been very helpful as well as feedback from people like yourself. Money is always a problem so getting the process right the first time is very time consuming but necessary. Building a station is usually a one time thing for most of us and I hate reinventing the wheel. Better to learn from others what works and what doesn't. Again thanks.
FWDBuff, your points are valid and absolutely correct...I agree, this issue (and a couple dozen others we have had to address during construction) should have been identified before construction began. It appears that the stairs were drawn incorrectly in the plans and nobody caught the error during review...in construction they found that the stairs would not fit in the existing space as designed :mad:
I really won't get into any more detail than that, because this thing has gotten ugly (not quite as ugly as our aborted first attempt, though, see first page of thread)...we're just trying to see this thing through to completion and we'll sort out who goofed later.
When it's all over the average person will walk through and see a beautiful new station. Those few of us who have been closely involved in the construction, though, will always be a little annoyed at how this detail or that feature turned out, because some of it is not as originally planned.
Penman, if I can offer one very important piece of advice, make absolutely sure that you have someone very knowledgeable of codes and requirements working on your design, and then possibly have another knowledgeable third party look them over before approving them. We're firefighters, after all, not engineers, we aren't supposed to know how to design a building :rolleyes:
Thanks Chief, we are also going to explore possibly using the expertise the local university as a student project. Anything to control cost yet still achieve our objectives. Thanks for sharing with us.
This is great advice. One thing I pointed out earlier in this thread was a mistake that we made- the powers in charge (at that time, almost 20 years ago now....damn has it been that long?) chose to use a member of the committee's brother (an architect who never did a fire station before...) as the architect. We are adament to this day that if we ever do it again the Architect will be someone familiar with and has previously done fire stations.
Originally Posted by dmleblanc
Getting an architect that knows the codes will be of tremendous help to you- the more he/she knows, the less work the Code Official has to do- mind you not that we dont like to work or dont want to do our jobs, but if we look at a set of plans that are crap and have many mistakes, it's going to want to make us smack the architect, throw the plans at him with our famous stamp "YOUR PLANS SUCK." I certainly understand money is a concern, but when hiring a design professional, it's one area you dont want to skimp. Less mistakes= faster approval time= shovels in the dirt quicker.
Many states also have provisions for third-party plan review services. Some Design professionals also do plan reviews- I would avoid this. You dont want the same firm that designed the plan doing the review for code compliance- you can see where that has the potential to go. Have your plans drawn up, and then you might consider having a third party review them for compliance. Present everything- foundations, structural steel, framing, electricals, HVAC-mechanical (dont forget heat/cooling load calculations & cut sheets), plumbing, energy conservation, Life Safety plans, sprinklers, etc etc etc....Make sure all drawings, plans and calculations are signed and stamped by the appropriate engineer/architect.
Study and know your municipality's documents/plans submittal requirements. Submit everything the first time (most municipalities require at least 2 full sets of plans/documents, some places 3...) Nothing worse then having to call an applicant to say "Uh, you are missing sheet A-3 from these plans" for a several million dollar building that is in a time crunch for approval.
Also check with State and Federal officials- many public buildings are getting grants for being GREEN or LEED certified.
Penman, whoever you use, just make sure that some experienced members of the department follow the project closely, from design through construction. If you don't have the option of using an architect who has experience designing fire stations (and even if you do) you'll need to be sure to work with him closely so the station has the features you want for the way you operate. Fire stations are a very different building than an office building, a school, or a mini-mall...you want it to be functional and built for your needs.
Also remember that this is a building you will be in for many, many years....try to do a little future planning and anticipate what your needs may be 10, 20, 30 years from now, not just today. If you can't afford to incorporate those features today, at least try to come up with a design that will allow for future expansion. The station we're in now is landlocked on a small lot and has no place to expand, which is part of the reason for the new station.
Some (very few) locals in the community have been vocal in saying that it's ridiculous that a volunteer department needs a station this big. Of course, in these people's experience a fire station is just a garage you park fire trucks in, why would you need anything more than that? But we all know that a fire station has to be a place to train, to store other equipment, to do maintenance, to perform administrative tasks, and any number of other tasks. Think about all the tasks that you need to perform in your department and all the equipment, records, gear, and supplies that need to be stored and make sure you have a place for all that.
One thing I'm glad we included is the workshop area. We already have a breathing air compressor and cascade system taking up floor space in our old station. We will be getting a bunker gear washer and dryer, big mechanic's rolling tool box, and an ice machine, among other things. It will be nice to have this stuff behind closed doors to keep the engine bays neat. Also, the space above the shop will be a very large storage area (which I'm sure we'll fill up before we know it)...like you said, it's more economical to go up than out.
All great advice. We are a very small town but we do have 2 local towns nearby that have recently constructed police, fire, ems buildings and another that was just approved at their annual town meeting. We hesitate to use the word complex, scares the taxpayers, so buildings work for us. Thanks
I am right there with you on this one brother. There have been things that have come up with our new station that have literally had me losing sleep. We just did the community open house this past week and everyone loved the station and improved facilities. Yet we still know of the small things that should have been done a different way or haven't been done yet at all.
Originally Posted by dmleblanc
The key here is knowing which battles to fight. In the end we will be in a much nicer station than the one we have right now, yet we want to make sure it is done right. It can be a slippery sloap.
Thanks again for sharing, Chief Leblanc - nice pics. We're just developing an RFP for an architect - very early in the overall process - so any tip or tidbit you can provide (or anyone else for that matter) helps out.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about....the shop door had to be moved when it was realized that the stairs would fall right in the middle of the doorway....so now the shop door is under the stairs. It will still be functional but it's not what we requested.
My VFD is currently finishing out our new Central Station.
The metal shell was built about 5 years ago, and has housed apparatus since then, but the interior was never finished out due to some cost overruns on the shell.
Our current station has one office and a small training room with a max capicity of about 12 people.
The new station will have 3 offices, a kitchen, handicapped compliant bathrooms and a training room capable of holding 25-30. It will also have a washer dryer and a shower. There will be bay space for an engine, a tanker and 2 small vehicles. There will be a good 20' between the rear of the trucks and the rear wall for props and some workspace.
The original plan was to have enough room for a full 2nd floor to be completed later, but the command staff decided to go with 9' instead of 8' ceilings, and the ceiling trusses can in at 28", so the second floor will be limited to probably a dayroom in the middle 1/3 of the space with storage rooms flanking.
At this point the electrical is in and completion is expected in about 3 weeks.
Sounds similar in dimensions and function to our new station. Training room should handle about 25-30, room for 4 apparatus (if 2 of them are relatively smaller), dayroom uspstairs, etc.
Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
You going to be at the LSFA convention this year? It's on your turf....
I expect to be as it's only 15 miles away.
Originally Posted by dmleblanc
We'll have to get together.
It does sound like a similiar setup. By that time it should be done. Maybe you can take the short trip out and see both my combo and volunteer stations if you have the time.
Upstairs paint and floor tiles are complete
Engine bay drop ceiling
Floor of meeting / training room
Brick address sign out front on main highway...will have an LED message board installed on top
Pouring the last concrete of the front apron / driveway....one more pour being done today behind the station as well.
I think that is the first ever drop ceiling I have seen in an engine bay. Coming along nicely.
We're about 2 weeks away from moving into our new Central Station at my VFD.
The electrical is in and sheetrock is up and painted. Only thing that really needs to happen is ceiling needs to go in and lights. We are simply polishing the existing concrete floor to save money but we are coating the concrete floor in the apparatus bay.
This thing has been a shell simply housing apapratus for almost 5 years. It will be very nice to actually have atraining room capable of holding more than 10-12 people and multiple offices, as well as an actual kitchen.
We started doing this in all of our new stations and re-builds at work a few years ago. Makes an amazing difference in heating, cooling, and acoustics in the bays.
Originally Posted by GTRider245
Yes, now that I've seen it in place I'm very impressed with how good it looks. Really gives the bays a finished look. I'm just worried how those nice white tiles will look after being exposed to diesel exhaust for a couple of years.
Originally Posted by GTRider245
I was about to ask about a exhaust extraction system.
I have a feeling they'll get pretty dirty.
Got some new pics...we're really getting close to the finish line now. The contractor's deadline is in about another week or so. Power and water are on, appliances are being moved in, it's mostly detail work and punchlist items from here on in...
A pic from a few weeks ago....the shop area with metal staircase installed
Downstairs handicapped accessible restroom
The old siren has had a new shroud fabricated and painted...installed last week and tested today (still works!)
Upstairs room is essentially complete
Epoxy coating has been applied to the engine bay floors
Looks gorgeous Chief. Love the upstairs room. Great job, well done.