Executing an event in raw space requires a level of expertise all on its own. There are risks, liabilities and design decisions that will make or break your event. The ever-changing variables are the very reason a majority of event professionals stay far away from doing events in raw space. Not to mention, it can also be cost-prohibitive.
Now that we’ve gotten all the negatives out of the way, working in raw space doesn't’ always have to be scary and can also have huge advantages. You get to create a one-of-a-kind experience for your client and really knock the socks off your guests.
There are five key vendors you want to make sure you always have in your database when working in raw space:
This person has the permitting knowledge necessary to lawfully execute your event. This is crucial if you’ve selected an event space that is not categorized with the Department of Buildings as a location that can accommodate more than 75 guests. Spaces like warehouses, commercial offices, or retail storefronts require a TPA (Temporary Permit of Assembly) for indoor gatherings for religious, recreational, educational, political or social purposes, or to consume food or drink. For any of these instances, a Permit Expeditor will prepare your TPA application with the necessary supporting documents and have it submitted 10 days or more, prior to the event date in order to avoid rush fees.
Another key agent in helping you lawfully host your event in a raw space is an architect. Having an architect on-hand is very helpful not only to your TPA application but also central the execution of your design. With an architect, you’re able to translate your design specifications into detailed schematics and floor plans. These documents are drafted to scale and account for your furniture placement, problematic columns, points of egress, and other key components to your layout and logistics. With an architect on your team, you’ll also have access to a general contractor and/or electrician, which can be helpful if you need an uneven floor leveled or additional electricity for your caterer.
Scenic fabrication creates a powerful experience in any raw space by taking advantage of customization opportunities (with your architect’s help) and allows you to fit your vision within the confines of your raw space. Most fabrication companies have services that include sketching your design to scale, fabricating necessary custom pieces, and installation/ tear-down surrounding your event date(s). This is great for both a corporate annual meeting looking for that brand punch to motivate the sales team and a personal concert the boss is throwing herself for her 50th birthday. The best vendors will figure out how to work within your budget and you expect to start the tab around $5,000.00 USD.
Unlike your Permit Expeditor who’s job is done once the TPA application is submitted, your technical director would assist with the application and stick around until post-event. Their experience includes drafting basic technical drawings of the event designs, gauge feasibility of installation per vendor schedules, and ability to provide alternate solutions for problem-solving. This person is also a huge asset to your event production team; they help with production timelines, soliciting necessary vendors, as well as onsite production on event day(s). When you apply for a TPA, the Fire Marshall will do a walkthrough of your space on the date of your event. It would be the responsibility of your technical director to escort the Fire Marshall to show that the event setup matches the floorplans your expeditor submitted in your TPA application.
Security / Fireguards
A great security team is your first line of defense and what allows all the weeks of preparation to come to fruition. The best team will be one who’s security guards are also certified fireguards. Fireguards are required by your TPA, and the quantity is determined by your architect or expeditor. These guards also assess security breaches or threats to your event and provide protocols and proactive plans to avoid undesirable situations. Always be sure to include the head security captain on the final vendor walkthrough before your event. They need to be well acquainted with the space as well as the flow of guests and staff.
With any vendor your work with, it’s important that they not only have a similar work ethic as you, but you’re also looking for those who work well as a team. Executing an event in a raw space presents a unique set of challenges that require the expertise of professionals with a specialized skill set and the ability to communicate should be at the center of everyone’s process.
With the right team, you can execute unique and draw-dropping events in raw space.