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» ICC Bulletin Board » Code Chat » Building and Residential Codes -- Non-Structural Issues » Occupancy classification for Ofice Condominiums

   
Author Topic: Occupancy classification for Ofice Condominiums
Tmeeks271
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I'm trying to classify occupancy for an office condominium. If it falls along the line of a business occupancy or a residential occupancy. I have 15 newly constructed buildings each 4500 sq.ft. 2 storeys, divided in to 3 units 1500 sq. ft. per tenant. No fire rated separation wall between units. The issue I see is that each unit has areas that are called out offices but could be used for sleeping. Also they have a full bathroom with shower in each condo. Has anyone ever had an issue with this type of occupancy in the past?

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TMeeks
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Posts: 16 | From: Harris County | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
giveit2fred
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Sounds to me like they are just home offices. Architects name rooms to give the residents ideas for the use. It could also be a bedroom. Don't worry about it.
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permitguy
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Already constructed? Why are you just now classifying occupancy?

It doesn't sound like they were constructed as or intended to be dwelling units. The mere presence of a full bath in an office would not be a concern to me. We have a locker room in our City Hall with a shower. Doesn't mean anyone sleeps here . . . except during meetings. [Smile]

I'd call'em "B".

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Mark Randall
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What did the designer/Architect say it was? I'd have to see the actual layout to give an opinion, but like permitguy said, full bath doesn't mean anything. Does it have a kitchen? Are there storage closets in each (bed)room. Even if you answer, yes, it could still be an office building.
A few years ago I converted a residence into an office location for my client. They left the kitchen and dining room in for a break room. We added an accessible toilet room on the only accessible level, but left all others. Closets were left for storage areas. Even after all our modifications, it still looked like a residence, but it is now B occupancy.
It is what the designer says it is until it's not being used for that purpose anymore. Do you have any reason to believe people will be living in these facilities?

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Tmeeks271
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Mark,
Yes there was a full kitchen but no storage closets in the upstairs, but downstairs there were a few. The Architect classified the building as business occupancy, as I looked through the plans I could see that the floor plan was laid out as a living facility, except they had labeled the rooms as offices. The buildings were built without obtaining a permit from our permitting office. One of our inspectors caught the developer on the last 5 structures. We have had a few of Office condo's come in, but they never had so many residential features.

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TMeeks
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cda
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so are they going to
a. main use operate a business out of the condo

or

b. main use residental??

if the question is that the room can be used for sleeping, if it is labeled as something else than that is what it is.

Zoning?????????

[ 10-22-2007, 07:12 PM: Message edited by: cda ]

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FredK
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Had a plan show up like that once. When I asked all the stupid questions: like purpose, who's going to own what, details on seperate electric, sewer, etc... it left town. Of course it was in an area that would never have supported an office and maybe an apt.

It looked exactly like a two bedroom apt except labeled office(s). I think it was designed that way so that if the office idea failed guess what show back up and ask for a change to apts or condos.

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Mark Randall
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I would call it a B occupancy (for now).

I find it hard to believe there are still people out there trying to build projects of this scale with out a permit. I'd watch this project closely. I'm assuming IBC is your code and the building is not sprinklered. If just one of the units gets used as a residence, they now have to sprinkler the whole building as well as meet all other R occupancy codes.

Just for clarity, you could add a comment on the front page of the documents saying R occupancy is not allowed in any units. This would require a change in occupancy requiring sprinklers, smoke alarms, escape windows, etc.

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architect1281
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CALL ME SCEPTICAL
Sounds like someone bouth off the shelf plans and called them what they want (back to the money thing) CHEAP. Condominimum is a form of ownership and is not a building type, use, or classification. so you would classify it as a multiple tenant whatever the uses can be building. Separations will have to be what they have to be and some uses may not be allowed by building type if seperated uses or fire separation requirements apply. The disturbing thing here is Baths, and Kitchens. Sounds Like Dwelling units to me. Tell me they are acessible baths and kitchens even if they are a commercial use. As far as what you should call it for a use be mean, If they dont tell you assume the worst Use H, and send them on thier way.

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A lie is as good as the truth if you get someone to believe it!

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giveit2fred
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Use H, thats a good one, I like your way of thinking, architect1281, or should I say "skeptical".
If they were built without a permit I would let "them" come up with a use, construction type, etc. Then throw the code book at them.

[ 10-29-2007, 11:12 AM: Message edited by: giveit2fred ]

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permitguy
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Or even throw it. . . [Razz]
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thelunatick1
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Isn't "condominium" just a term defining method of ownership of the property?

A business condo would suggest a situation where the tenant buys the unit, but pays fees towards the maintenance of the overall structure.

If a unit were to be re-purposed for another use, such as a residence. Then would not the building have to be re-addressed at that time?

Under IBC 2006, unless there are exceptions, it would likely require the whole building receive sprinkler to permit the change of occupancy.

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NJFireMarshal(Ret)
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I would not worry about the "residential" appearance of the layout.

I had to deal with a 500+ residential development of apartment style condos with access off a main highway that built the initial 16 unit building (8 over 8)along the highway to use as a development office w/residential models with the intent to convert the building to office condos after the residential complex was sold out.

That meant the layout for the future "office condos" would match a "residential" unit.

The only hiccup in the process was that the building department reviewed the units as R-3 units (1981 BOCA) and forgot to address the resulting "B" use. Only minor issues needed to be addressed fortunately.

In 20 years of dealing with those units we only had a single incident of residential use and that was by a business owner who was in a bankrupcy process wherein his home had been used as collateral and he lost it. The business owner condo association alerted us and it was taken care of quickly.

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Borrowed comment: "Telling me your design meets the minimum requirements of the code just means it's one violation away from being illegal!"

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peach
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what is it zoned for? condo is just the ownership. Lots of "B" office "condos".. the developer doesn't have to worry about collecting rent.

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Thanks for the memories.. Frank (old blue eyes) Sinatra

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