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Residential Infill - Conversions and the Building Code

Converting a structure with one or two dwelling units to one with three or more units can trigger additional building code requirements.

Commercial Building Permit requirement

Upgrading from a house or duplex to three or more units could require a Commercial building permit, and your project must follow the commercial building code, which has different requirements than the residential code.

Commercial building code requirements include details such as:

  • Sprinkler systems
  • Increased fire rating of exterior walls based on distance from the property line
  • Window and door opening limitations based on the property line

NOTE:  Applicants can seek relief or alternatives to these requirements through a building code appeal process.

Seismic Upgrade Required

Change of occupancy from a house or duplex to 3 or more units will trigger a seismic upgrade under City Code Chapter 24.85 (i.e. change of occupancy from R-3 occupancy to R-1 or R-2).