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THE AGRITECT

A blog about all things rural and agritourism related

4 Biggest Mistakes when Planning an On-Farm Event Venue


Tags: , , , ,     Categories: Agritourism, Bank Barn Adaptive Reuse, Rural Revitalisation Ideas

So, you want to create an event or wedding space? You’ve got a Pinterest board full of ideas on how beautiful the space will be! It will be the next best wedding destination! Now to get started. But before you start designing make sure you’ve done all your research. In our experience there are a few key mistakes people make that can stop a project in its tracks.

Underestimate the difference of Rural properties and urban properties

Creating and event space in a city is very different than in the country. Many people underestimate how difficult and different it can be. Make sure your consulting team has rural experience. There are some aspects that are easier, and some that are more difficult and potentially more costly without the creative and experienced solutions a consulting team can provide. You need to negotiate firefighting, septic systems, parking, zoning, privacy, neighbor relations. etc. Don’t get me wrong there are also lots of opportunities if you know what they are and how to take advantage of them. Amazing landscape, views and photo opportunities, rich rural history, campfires, and storytelling!

What makes you different, what atmosphere do you offer?

The on-farm wedding and event space market is starting to get crowded, so knowing what you’re your site can offer that is different than everyone else is really important. What atmosphere and style is your venue, rustic, modern, sustainable? Do you offer outdoor spaces for gathering, photo opportunities? Can the wedding party stay on site? There are lots of choices, but this can be the difference between someone to choose your space or not.

Missing the sweet spot in the building code.

You have a grand vision of the amazing space and business you are going to create and then there is a building code. I hate to burst your bubble (hopefully someone has already done that for me…and I’ll bring you the good news) The farm building code isn’t going to cut it here; you need to apply the Ontario Building Code and the most stringent section because you are now in the care of anywhere from 30-300 people’s life safety! Every building must fall into a certain category of the building code and each category has thresholds for area, fire safety, number of people, and washroom requirements. And its all about finding the sweet spot! That spot where you can make a viable business and avoid many costly building features and achieve your vision. And you want to make this choice early on as the cost to change it later continues to get more expensive as you move from research, to design, to permit, to construction. There are over 70 choices of categories to choose from! So having an expert find that sweet spot can save you thousands to hundreds of thousands on your project before you even start! So you can spend that money on more existing things like light fixtures, flooring, and furniture

Failing to work with your authorities early in the process

In addition to the Building Code, you will have to deal with the township or county. They have another set of requirements you have to meet. They may have a Site Plan Approval process, you may need rezoning, or zone amendment, or conservation authority might have rules you need to follow as well. Its important to again check these things before you get started so you can work within the constraints they set out. Their requirements will also have an effect on the budget, both for consulting fees and construction elements. I know it’s starting to sound like not a fun project. And it definitely has its challenges. But if you hire an experienced team, they can help you with the red tape, save you time and money and headaches, and get you through the process so you can get on with the fun stuff, like picking interior finishes and hosting events!

VELD architect provides the research to review of many of these aspects before you get started on your journey. Contact us if you need help with getting any of these answers!

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