Complexity of Stores Revealed by Permits

May 26, 2008

The complexity of an Apple store is visible to visitors, but beneath the structure of stainless steel, glass and stone is another level of complexity that is just as important. According to city permit records, the electrical, plumbing and other systems inside the store are extensive–and expensive.

The Boylston Street (Boston) store has 550 lighting fixtures, 224 electrical receptacles and 25 switched outlets, consuming a maximum of 1,200 amps, according to permit records. That’s enough current to power 12 average-sized homes. The store has 17 motors for various air conditioning and elevator operations, and a 200 KVA gas-fired generator inside the roof building to supply electricity if the utility power fails. The fire alarm system consists of 97 different detection and initiating devices, and has 37 alarms to alert the public. According to the permits, the stores has 51 security devices, 94 data outlets and 90 “telecommunications” devices.

According to the “Application to Perform Electrical Work,” the value of the electrical installation was $971,000.

The store’s plumbing is equally complex: three water closets, one kitchen sink and four lavatories in the basement, along with one hot water heater, slop sink, one urinal and one drinking fountain. Two boilers in the basement connect to the HVAC system, supplying a maximum of 1 million BTUs, a measure of the system’s capacity to heat or cool.

The store’s video surveillance system uses 36 cameras, according to the permits, watching over both the store’s public and non-public areas.

Even the work permits themselves came with a high pricetag: $11,590 for the permit covering the installation of temporary electrical service during construction, and $80,900 for the permanent electrical work permit. The closed-circuit TV permit was $20,700, the plumbing permit $17,000, and the gas fitting permit $12,000.

Overall, some estimates put the total cost of the store at nearly $6 million, including $236,000 to demolish the original building on the site.

Download (pdf) the electrical and plumbing permits here.

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