A simple example, on the building code summary form list, the occupancy type and construction type are indicated. Presented with that basic information it is easy for the reviewer to know whether the area and height of the building are permitted under the code. He doesn’t have to go looking through the drawings to try to determine what type of construction or even if it is several types of construction. We have been using the building code summary in North Carolina for so long, I really can’t imagine trying to review a set of plans without it. I do not know if other states use such a form. I know Virginia does not, as one of my fellow Hokies is an administrator in the plans, permits and inspection department in Virginia and she had not seen one before I sent her the one from North Carolina.
For those of you unfamiliar with the North Carolina State Building Code, it is the International Building Code with North Carolina amendments. My understanding is we have a more rigid structural section because we have these things called “Hurricanes” over here, something I am sure people in South Dakota have read about. As stated before, the Building Code Summary is in our Administrative Code, so I am not sure if other states have a similar document..
Now strange as it is, the city of Raleigh will not accept the state building code summary form. You must download and use Raleigh’s form or they will not accept your drawings. I find that hard to imagine, so one day I asked the “gate keeper” as they call her, as she is the one who accepts the drawings for submittal, why we can not use the state’s form? She talked to one of the senior plans reviewers, someone who I always had a difficult time communicating with, and she pass down this explanation, “I was told that Raleigh had created the building code summary first and that the state had copied Raleigh’s AND Raleigh thought theirs was better. How do you argue with that.
I do mostly commercial work. Free standing building and upfits. If you have the word “upfit” on your title block, the city of Raleigh will not accept your drawings for review. On the building code summary I typically check one of two boxes on the Raleigh form. These options don’t exist on the state form and they are “shell alteration” or “tenant completion”. Ironically “upfit” is an option on the state form. I understand the concept of what Raleigh is trying to do. They are trying to control what occupancy goes into a spaced that has been issued a Certificate of Occupancy.
The example I typically use is if a small strip center is designed and built and was classified as mercantile, that is what the expected use should be for that building. I have seen several situations where the a couple of bays have been leased out to an emerging church that is looking for a place to call their own. Many times they used rooms in school or municipal gathering spaces and that leaves them at the mercy of the primary use of that space, so they may not be able to get it for their intended schedule. These churches want to rent a small space they have control over. The problem is that a church is an assembly occupancy not a mercantile occupancy, which may cause a situation where an hourly separation is required. If the city issues a CO for the mercantile space then the realtor can then give the key to the potential tenant and then move on. The city want to control this by issuing a “Certificate of Compliance” for the modified shell space and wait until you have a actual tenant to issue the “Certificate of Completion”. So in some cases I have issued the exact sames drawings I did for the “Shell Alteration”, but with a tenant name in the title block so the City can issue a second permit and a CO.
More recently I did the same types of drawings in Durham where I knew of no issues with upfit and shell alterations. To my surprise I was informed by the contractor that we needed to resubmit with tenant names on the drawings. I had to make several trips to the inspection department to finally grasp what I was being told. I was informed that if the drawings had - shell, vanilla box, upfit or something similar that they would only issue a Certificate of Compliance. I asked specifically what if the space was 100% complete and all that was need was for the realtor to hand over the key and the tenant could move in a desk and be ready for business, what then? Again I was told that if it had vanilla box or something similar they could not issue a CO. So regardless of how complete the drawings are, the title determines whether I can get a CO.. I asked do I need to specify a tenant name on the title block and the answer was “No”. So after a brief discussion it was determined that if I put “for occupancy, 100 Main Street, Suite 100, Durham, NC” then I could be issued a CO regardless if there was a tenant or not? I asked so what happens if the CO is issued and a different occupancy moves it? I was told then the new occupant would be noncompliant. So apparently it is all about the verbiage, not about the drawings. I am still trying to absorb this one?