6-Frequently Asked Questions
QUESTION 1: IS MY BUSINESS A CHANGE OF USE?
The North Carolina Building Code requires new business occupancies to obtain a Building Permit if it is a change of use from the previous tenant. This permit satisfies the Zoning Permit requirements for new or relocating businesses as well. See the occupancy classifications below to determine if a Building Permit is needed. Note: This list contains the most common occupancy classifications for businesses but is not all-inclusive. If your business is Educational, Factory/Industrial, High Hazard, Institutional, Residential, Storage, or Utility and Miscellaneous, contact Inspections at (336) 996-7166.
All five assembly occupancies are considered different uses, as well as Business and Mercantile uses. For example, a restaurant (A-2) moving into to a former concern hall (A-1) is a change of use. However, the same restaurant (A-2) moving into a former restaurant or night club (A-2) is not a change of use. An architectural office (B) moving into a former retail store (M) is a change of use. An architectural office (B) moving into a former engineering office (B) is not a change of use.
Assembly-1 Assembly uses, usually with fixed seating, intended for the production and viewing of the performing arts or motion pictures including, but not limited to:
- Motion picture theaters, symphony and concert halls, television and radio studios admitting an audience, theaters.
Assembly-2 Assembly uses intended for food and/or drink consumption including, but not limited to:
- Banquet halls, night clubs, restaurants, taverns and bars.
Assembly-3 Assembly uses intended for worship, recreation or amusement and other assembly uses not classified elsewhere in Group A including, but not limited to:
- Amusement arcades, art galleries, bowling alleys, community halls, courtrooms, dance halls (not including food or drink consumption), exhibition halls, funeral parlors, gymnasiums (without spectator seating), indoor swimming pools (without spectator seating), indoor tennis courts (without spectator seating), lecture halls, libraries, museums, places of religious worship, pool and billiard parlors, waiting areas in transportation terminals.
Assembly-4 Assembly uses intended for viewing of indoor sporting events and activities with spectator seating including, but not limited to:
- Arenas, skating rinks, swimming pools, tennis courts.
Assembly-5 Assembly uses intended for participation in or viewing outdoor activities including, but not limited to:
- Amusement park structures, bleachers, grandstands, stadiums.
Business Group B. Business Group B occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, for office, professional or service-type transactions, including storage of records and accounts. Business occupancies shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Airport traffic control towers, ambulatory health care facilities, animal hospitals, kennels and pounds, banks, barber and beauty shops, car wash, civic administration, clinic—outpatient, dry cleaning and laundries: pick-up and delivery stations and self-service, educational occupancies for students above the 12th grade, electronic data processing, laboratories: testing and research, motor vehicle showrooms, post offices, print shops, professional services (architects, attorneys, dentists, physicians, engineers, etc.), radio and television stations, telephone exchanges, training and skill development not within a school or academic program, education occupancies for high school students participating in cooperative innovative high school programs taught at colleges, community colleges or universities.
Mercantile Group M. Mercantile Group M occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure or a portion thereof, for the display and sale of merchandise and involves stocks of goods, wares or merchandise incidental to such purposes and accessible to the public. Mercantile occupancies shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Department stores, drug stores, markets, motor fuel-dispensing facilities, retail or wholesale stores, sales rooms.