Frequently Asked Commercial Code Questions

Do I need to hire an architect or engineer to prepare drawings for my work?

In general, yes. Since there are thousands of pages of code, the design professional can provide at minimum a good starting point for the code review process. While it is also required by State law to have the plans prepared by a registered design professional, some municipalities may waive this requirement for smaller projects; however, if the applicant shows a complete lack of code/construction knowledge, they may then deny the permit and require the professional drawings. 

Why do I need drawings and a permit, if I don't plan on making any changes or performing any renovations to my building or space?

Sometimes just a change in how the building or space is being used will trigger certain code upgrades that you are required to comply with. In this case one would hire a design professional to perform a code analysis drawing for the proposed use to be presented to the municipality. Some municipalities may again waive this requirement for the design professional; however, if one chooses this option, one may be missing out on some exemptions for meeting requirements found in the existing building code options.

Can I use NM type wiring (Romex) in a commercial building?

Often times yes. As long as it is in a building type that permits the use of combustible framing, is not run exposed, and is not any type of special occupancy that would prohibit its use, the NM cable is perfectly suitable for commercial use.

Do I need a fire alarm or sprinkler system?

These are two of the most frequent questions, but unfortunately there is no simple yes or no answer for the majority of cases. Have your design professional evaluate your building or space and how you specifically want to use it and they should be able to provide you with an idea of when these systems would be required.