Many automotive brands have recently created “image enhancement” programs to redefine their products and provide a more distinctive and recognizable dealership. These programs have been designed to increase the visibility of the dealerships and improve the in-store experience. In order to conform to the new corporate image many dealerships are remodeling their building exteriors, which usually require the addition of new façades, canopies, portals and other exterior enhancements. This has created several questions about how we treat these embellishments in our cost segregation studies.
When confronted with a new facility exterior design, we ordinarily examine it for structural dependence or independence. This means that we investigate how the structure is supported. If it is free standing, we generally classify the structure as personal property; however, if it is integral to the building, it becomes a part of the structure and is treated as real property. We classify free-standing structures as possessing the ability to support itself with minimal lateral support (if any) whereas in an integral design, the exterior structure is an essential part of the main building’s structural framework.