Surviving the Math for Business Facilities and Operations

Measuring Properties

Measurements tell you about the size of something. Say, a building lot, for example. And a Floridian’s yardstick is the same as one belonging to someone from Montana. In fact, measurements are the same almost everywhere you go. So you can feel confident that your calculation of 6 square feet (sq. ft.) is the same as the next person’s understanding of the same footage. Your challenge, instead, is to know how to do the computations of the area of a room or building so you can do comparisons with someone else.

Businesses both expand and contract. What I mean is that they sometimes need to add space, reconfigure existing space, rent out part of their space, or relocate to smaller quarters. And it’s not just the inside areas that need to be measured. Many businesses have large parking lots that need to be resurfaced or cleared of snow; they also may have grounds to be mowed and landscaped. Many aspects of a business and the space it takes up involve knowing how to determine the amount of area needed.

Exploring Area and Perimeter Formulas for Different Figures

Several different area formulas are used throughout this chapter. In the later section, “Squaring Off with Square Measures,” for instance, you see the formula for the area of a rectangle. In the section “Measuring Irregular Spaces,” you become familiar with the formulas for the areas of triangles, trapezoids, and regular polygons (a polygon is a figure whose sides are segments).

This section helps you get started with the basic area and perimeter tools. You find formulas for the commonly used figures found in buildings and plots of land. Even though every polygon can be broken into a number of triangles (see the later section “Trying out triangles”) and the area can be computed using those triangles, this method should be saved as the last resort. Why? It’s generally easier to use the specific formula designed for that specific type of figure.

Taking frontage into consideration

Having more lake frontage may be important to a restaurant that wants to take advantage of patio dining in nice weather and the gorgeous view during the spring and fall. Other considerations, of course, are that increased lake frontage means more upkeep. Even though Canada geese are lovely to look at, they leave behind rather messy and smelly souvenirs along the walkways. And don’t forget that geese are prone to attacking the unwary stroller who may venture too close to goslings.

Determining Cost per Foot

When building a factory, store, or office, you want to start out with an approximate cost. This way you know what you’re possibly getting yourself into before committing yourself to hire the architect, buying the land, and so on. Of course, everything seems to cost more than your first figure, but a ballpark estimate at least helps you determine whether the project is even worth considering.

Last word

Costs per square foot are going to vary widely depending on what part of the country you live in, the quality of construction materials you intend to use, the cost of gasoline or diesel fuel, concrete availability, and sometimes other unpredictable factors. The examples in the following sections serve as general guidelines for estimating the costs and having intelligent conversations with Realtors and builders.

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