Building Codes and Inspections/Storage and Occupancy

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Question
I have a renovation project on a 12,000 sqft existing building (commercial).  It will be divided into two phases with separate plans and permits for each phase.  Framing has already been done on the entire building and has passed inspection.  And there is a temp power pole on site which I have a permit for.  Other than construction lights, there are no mechanical or electrical installations in the building currently.  I have two questions:
1 - Can I use the portion of the building NOT under renovation for storage of any of my business' property - mostly boxes of files, books, some furniture, etc.
2 - Would there be anyway I can set up a temporary office in the side NOT under renovation? The idea would be walling off one room, insulating it and running a window unit in it.  It would be occupied by one person.
Thanks

Answer
Greetings!  These questions need to be discussed with your local Building Official. Storage of combustibles in business buildings is controlled by the code by limiting amount or square footage of the stored items, enclosing the area with rated barriers, and/or by a fire suppression system. Both the storage area and the temporary office are something that can be done if done correctly, but if you have too many stored items, you may need to cut back to the essentials and put the rest in a storage facility temporarily. The use of another area as a temporary office is probably more of a landlord/tenant issue, but it can be done, provided code concerns are met. I suggest laying out your plan with the building official and the landlord (if you are not the owner), and come up with something that meets everyone's needs.  What you are asking to do is common, but I don't know the particulars of the building or the local codes there which may have amendments to a standard code that might affect you.

Good luck!

Building Codes and Inspections

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Keith Fuller

Expertise

I'm an ICC Certified Master Code Professional fielding general building code questions. My experience has been heavy in fire related issues.

Experience

I've been employed since 1985 as an inspector and plan reviewer, and am a municipal Assistant Building Official and Deputy fire Marshal. I've had fire service experience since 1972, having served as a three time Fire Chief and Fire Marshal in years past. The increasing workload, mandatory certifications, and continuing education requirements in recent years have caused me to concentrate my efforts on code related issues. I hold national fire service certifications as well.

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ICC Master Code Professional

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