Commercial Building Evaluation

A commercial building evaluation service offered by the Inspections Division gives owners, landlords, and prospective tenants useful information about the requirements for converting a commercial building or tenant space for a new use. Through this service, a team of inspectors looks at the space and determines what changes are needed to comply with the building code if the space is going to be used for a purpose other than its last legally established use.

About the Process

The service allows prospective tenants to know what modifications, if any, would be needed to use a former retail space, for example, as a restaurant, says Dan Dockery, the Chief Building Official. In the past, people would lease space without considering the building code and zoning requirements for their proposed use, and what it would cost, Dockery said. Now they can start assembling that information before committing to a lease.

For a $250 fee, the Inspections Division will review, based upon the proposed use, how well a space meets the requirements for building and fire safety, ventilation, electrical, plumbing, and compliance with zoning provisions of the Uniform Development Ordinance.

The information is provided in writing, allowing an architect or engineer to incorporate the requirements into building plans before they are submitted to the Inspections Division for approval.

Change of Use Inquiry

Before requesting a commercial building evaluation, a tenant or landlord should first submit a Change of Use Inquiry / Occupancy Form (PDF), fillable on-screen. "Save as," and attach your completed document to an email. Within five business days the Inspections Division will research the property in question to determine its last legally established use. A building evaluation may not be needed if the last established use corresponds with the intended use.

We see this as a way to provide better service to our customers, Dockery said. We’re trying to be proactive, instead of reactive, to help facilitate the re-use of existing buildings.