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Commercial Alterations and Tenant Build-Outs
What is considered to be a Commercial Alteration / Tenant Build-Out?
- Commercial Alteration – When an existing tenant remodels their space, including exterior renovations and roof replacement.
- Tenant Build-Out – When a new tenant establishes occupancy in a previously occupied or unoccupied commercial space (shopping center, mall, office building, etc.)
When is a Permit Required for Tenant Build-Out?
NOTE: Whether Commercial Alteration or Tenant Build-Out, a Commercial Building Permit is typically required.
The following is a partial list of the most common conditions requiring a permit:
- Where there is no current valid Certificate of Occupancy for the building or space.
- Any change of occupancy type is proposed.
(Examples: the previous use and the new use are changing Mercantile to Business, Office to Restaurant, etc.)
- There are walls removed or added.
- There are structural alterations.
- There are revisions, repairs, or replacement of fire-rated assemblies.
- There are alterations to any required means of egress.
(Examples include a change to an aisle-way or means to an exit, relocation of exit doors, addition of walls, etc.)
- There are alterations or new installations to the water supply and distribution systems, sanitary drainage system or vent system.
- There are alterations or new installations to electrical wiring.
- There are alterations or new installation to fire-protection system, mechanical systems or fuel-supply systems.
- There are alterations or new installations of any other equipment regulated by the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC).
(An example would be above-ground or below-ground storage tanks.)
- There is an increase to allowed occupancy load reflected on the C.O.
(The allowed occupancy load is based on Table 1004.1.1 in the IBC International Building Code. A restaurant, for example, may have 3 different occupant loads because of the use of the different areas i.e. kitchen, seating and waiting areas.)
NOTE: The requirements above are the most common, yet are not representative of all the conditions when preparing tenant build-out drawings.
The City of Chesapeake classifies alterations/build-outs by levels of complexity of the project. There are four (4) different levels ranging from 0 - 3.
How do I find out what level is my project?
- LEVEL 0 – Painting and carpeting; no change of use and occupancy
- LEVEL 1 – Minimal alterations to a tenant space; establishing new use and occupancy
- LEVEL 2 – More extensive interior alterations (removal and addition of walls, etc.) or when the use is changing.
- LEVEL 3 – Architectural/Engineer prepared plans with seal required.
What should I bring to Development & Permits?
Fill out as much information on the Commercial Alteration/Tenant Build-Out checklist as possible. Much of the information can be obtained from the landlord/owner or online.
After determining which Level will be required for the tenant build-out based on the description above, link to Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 for a complete list of items to bring to Development & Permits to obtain a permit.
Permit Applications, Instructions & Other Resources
|Building Permit Application|
|Electrical Permit Application||Instructions for Electrical Permits|
|Fire Protection Permit Application|
|Hazardous Materials Permit Application|
|Mechanical/Gas Permit Application|
|Plumbing Permit Application|
|More forms & permits (Development & Permits)|
- Top Ten Reasons for Plan Rejection
- Top Ten Reasons Why Fire Protection or Hazardous Material System Plans Get Rejected and/or Delayed
For further questions or assistance
If you have any questions and want to further discuss the requirements:
- Contact the Plans Examiner’s office at 757-382-6018, or
- Meet with a Plans Examiner of Development & Permits on the 2nd floor of City Hall. Hours are:
Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Counter Assistance: A Plans Examiner will be available at the counter of the Department of Development & Permits to assist in determining requirements and answer any commercial permitting questions.
- Plans Examiner will determine what level of plan review is required.