When Do I Need a Licensed Architect?
Hi, this is Oklahoma Cannabis Business Attorney Jesse Kovacs, and today’s question is, do I need a licensed architect to help me design, plan, implement, or approve my building plans for my Oklahoma medical marijuana business? Now, generally, the Oklahoma law states that buildings constructed for certain use groups, as they’re called underneath the International Building Code, do need a licensed architect to design, plan, and approve those building plans.
Now, one of the situations where this is always going to be required is if you are changing from one use to another. So if you’re changing from, let’s say, a dispensary, which falls under the code use group M for mercantile, to a grow operation, which falls under the use group F for factory and industrial, then you are going to need a licensed architect to help you with those plans.
Now, generally speaking, for, let’s say, dispensaries, again, it falls under M for mercantile, you’re only going to need a licensed architect to help you with your plans here if your building is either over two stories tall or over 200,000 square feet. If you’re under both of those limits, you do not need a licensed architect, and that’s going to be a running theme here.
Requirements for Different Categories
For example, with growers and processors, this includes grow facilities, oil extraction operations, marijuana-infused product kitchens and bakeries. All these things fall under the use category of F for factory and industrial, but here the only question is, is your building over two stories tall? If it’s not over two stories tall, you do not need a licensed architect. If it is, you do. And that’s going to be the same question for all the remaining categories.
If you have some sort of storage facility on your premises, again, that’s going to be, is it over two stories tall? Agricultural buildings, barns, carports, sheds, greenhouses, private garages, these things fall under the code use U for utility, but again, the only question is, is it over two stories tall? If it’s not, you do not need a licensed architect to help you with those plans. If it is over two stories tall, you do. And importantly, the basement does not count for either the story counts or the square footage count.
Local Regulations and Exemptions
Now, one thing to keep in mind is that there might be other regulations and restrictions imposed by a local agency having jurisdiction. This is just the Oklahoma statewide rules, but you should always check and make sure that there’s not another local agency that imposes some other requirement. And quickly, I’ll just say that any upgrades, repairs, replacements, and changes made on an existing project are exempt from this architect requirement unless they affect the existing primary structural, mechanical, or electrical systems, or life safety systems, fire codes, methods of egress, stuff like that.
Get a Free Consultation
For more help on this question and others like it, you can always visit us at our website at oklahomamedicalmarijuana.attorney. We offer a free consultation to discuss your specific needs and requirements.