- 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 (PDF) 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.)
- See allowed occupancy load
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 to 3.
- How do I find out what level my project is?
- 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 and 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 and Permits to obtain a permit.
Permit Applications, Instructions & Other Resources
- Building Permit Application (PDF)
- Electrical Permit Application (PDF)
- Instructions for Electrical Permits
- Fire Protection or Hazardous Materials System Permit Application (PDF)
- Mechanical / Gas Permit Application (PDF)
- Plumbing Permit Application (PDF)
- More forms and permits (Development and Permits)
If you have any questions and want to further discuss the requirements:
- Contact the Plans Examiner's office at 757-382-6018
- Meet with a Plans Examiner of Development and Permits on the 2nd floor of City Hall. Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A Plans Examiner will be available at the counter of the Department of Development and Permits to assist in determining requirements and answer any commercial permitting questions. Plans Examiner will determine what level of plan review is required.