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.

Show All Answers

1. What is considered to be a commercial alteration / tenant build-out?
2. When is a permit required for tenant build-out?
3. How do I find out what level my project is?
4. What should I bring to Development and Permits?