What does it take to open or reopen a glass blowing studio? It’s a Herculean effort, really. There is a huge difference between a small studio in your backyard and a place that is visible and open to the public.

In your backyard, you can probably get away without all the permits, inspections and compliance with uniform building codes. I stress “probably” because I have heard of backyard operations that have been red tagged and had to be dismantled. When your building is in a highly visible location, however, and within a highly trafficked city environment, be prepared to have to comply with every applicable city and state building code.

In fact, I have heard of studios that have taken up to two years to get all aspects of compliance and get a “Certificate of Occupancy.” Just what does it take to open your dream studio? The first answer is money. Lots of it. Just to get to the stage where you are prepared to submit your plans for review (in order to get the necessary permits you will need) you must have the services of a licensed architect. The architect will need to hire an electrical engineer, structural engineer, a mechanical engineer and someone to do the plumbing designs.

All are professionals and all are paid accordingly. That is just to get a set of plans to submit to the building department, city planning department and fire department for approval. Sometimes these agencies then require changes that you also get to pay for. So, get the checkbook out. A modest effort will cost you between $10,000 and $20,000 and that is just for the drawings. Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder if I chose the wrong profession.

In the next post, I’ll address selecting a licensed contractor to do the build out and finish work.