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Renovating residential into commercial.

1532 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  bob_cntrctr

I'm thinking of buying a house in town on main street and turning it into commercial space for lease. Office space upstairs for things like accountants and lawyers, and retail/office space on the ground floor for things like real estate agents or travel agents.

The house is already split up into apartments with separate entrances, and the ground floor units have big bay windows ideal for store fronts. Lots of parking 'round back.

But this would be new for me. What are some generalities concerning differences in commercial renos from residential renos? I figure obviously I can take the bathtubs out. I'll put each unit on separate electric and water meters. I'm thinking extra outlets and wired for data network...But, what else might be substantially different when you're renovating a space to be an office rather than a living room?

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First you should talk to a zoning officer to make sure you can turn residential to a commercial space. Commercial space has different parking space requirements. If you can convert, then just follow commercial office space requirements i.e handicapped access etc
Other considerations would be updated electrical wiring, (existing may not meet code for commercial), ADA compliance in bathrooms and entrances, firecoding between different zoning use areas (between some types of retail and offices for eg), noise restrictions may require acoustical changes, floor load considerations, emergency lighting and exit signs, sprinkler systems may be required, smoke detectors and annunciators, separate alarms systems for each unit, accessibility restrictions between different units may hamper emergency access and egress, and energy upgrades to meet audit compliance. Also consider updated communications wiring.

Anything else? I'm sure we can find more. :shutup:
Hey that's a great start - thanks. Love to learn.

" upgrades to meet audit compliance.." Can you tell me more?

Everything he said.

Remember, a change in occupancy requires the requirement to meet the new occupancy requirements of current code.
Bob, in some places changing the use designation of a structure triggers an energy audit. So does a permit for certain renovations and remodeling. You could find the building so old from an energy perspective that additional insulation is required, possible energy efficient windows, potentially a more efficient HVAC system. Not saying it would happen, but it is something that you could run into. You asked. :sad:
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