So maybe you like drawing out plans – and you should. Sit with your building dimensions, and a pad of graph paper and play junior architect yourself. But before you finish this project, you will probably hire a real architect. Much like we talked about in the Permits Page, there are lots of rules that must be followed, and architects get paid to know and follow the rules.

These will vary by city to city, and having an architect that knows the laws and requirements will probably save you a ton of money in the long run. There are requirements on how much light you need in your facility, and energy requirements for the amount of insulation, the efficiency of the lights, ac units, etc. An architect will know and understand the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) rules. Your bathroom sinks must be a certain height. You must have doors that are a certain width, hallways must be so wide – you can’t use steps unless you have handicapped ramps also, these ramps must have a certain pitch and finish, you must have so many handicapped parking spots, etc.

I know you’re probably thinking that someone in a wheel chair will not play paintball, but people in wheelchairs play basketball, go scuba diving, etc, and even if no one ever does want to play, it is the law that your facility must be set up so they could if they wanted to. And the fines and penalties can be huge. And all it would take is one person in a wheel chair to file a complaint – and your field would get shut down until it could be proven to be ADA compliant.

And the bathrooms and staging areas have to meet requirements, and it’s very realistic that a parent might want to watch their child play, and they may have a disability. So make sure this stuff is covered.

The amount of research you would have to do to figure out all this info that a good architect would know instantly would be staggering. And if you use an architect, you won’t have to worry as much when the city comes through for their final inspection, then tells you your bathrooms are not compliant and need to be torn out, and start again, or your hallways are 2 inches too narrow.

And the city will want a copy of the architectural drawings in order to grant the work permits you need to do any of this work. So get an architect, and have him work with the city and your general contractor – and in the long run – you’ll save yourself a pile of money, time and trouble.

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In my first field, the architect bill for both outside parking, and internal finish out, came to only about $3,000 as our finish out was very simple. And with a few things he pointed out verses my initial self done drawings, the architect saved me way more than that in mistakes I would have made.

So even though I’ve been through the process, I again used an architect when designing my second field that we are working on now. Again, I started the basic design I wanted to use from experience, but then working with the architect, we ironed out the details, legal requirements, efficiency of space, etc.

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