Converting Single Family Dwelling into a Business

Site Plan

The first step when changing the occupancy classification of an existing structure from Single-family dwelling to a business (B) use is to contact the Chesterfield County Planning Department to determine if the type of business is acceptable for the property according to the county zoning ordinances and to obtain an approved site plan, if necessary.

Building Permit

A building permit is required to convert a dwelling into a business office even if no alterations are proposed.

Contacts for building code and plan preparation information: 

Contact for permit fee and application information:

Building Permit Requirements:


Submit the following to the Building Inspection Department:

  • Completed Asbestos Certification Form (PDF)
  • Completed Commercial Building Permit Application (PDF) with an accurate work description noted
  • Application fee (PDF)
  • An approved Site Plan (included with each set of plans) that indicates:
    • The building and any additional structures, e.g. ramp, stoops, etc., planned with dimensions given from lot lines to the structure in question
    • Any other existing buildings on the lot
    • Accessible parking and loading zone with proper signage; parking connected to accessible ramp by way of accessible route
  • Five (5) sets of building plans that indicate:
    • Foundation plan dimension indicating the size, spacing and direction of floor joists
    • Virginia Rehabilitation Code Edition (2012), Use Group (B), Construction Type (5B) and Occupant Load (area in square feet ÷100)
    • Per the Virginia Construction Code (USBC Part I) Section 103.6, alterations shall comply with the Virginia Rehabilitation Code (VRC) (USBC Part II). As required by VRC Section 301.1, revise plans to specify the compliance method as listed in Sections 301.1.1 through 301.1.3: Prescriptive, Work Area or Performance Method. If the Work area Compliance Method is chosen, classify the work per VRC Chapter 5 (e.g. Alterations, Change of Occupancy, Repairs, etc.). If there are alterations, specify the level of alteration as defined in VRC Chapter 5 and show the extents of the work area per VRC Section 501.2
    • Total area (in square feet) of the building
    • Floor plans showing the size and use of each room, location of hallways and all doors
    • Any renovations such as removing or adding walls or enlarging openings
    • Differentiate existing construction from new construction.
    • Location of all interior and exterior stairs
    • The intended type of business proposed for the building
    • At least one accessible building entrance. This usually means the installation of an accessible ramp
    • Ramp construction details
    • At least one accessible route (32"clear opening) to areas of primary function
    • Lever-type hardware on all doors
    • Service sink
    • High/low drinking fountain if the occupant load exceeds 15
    • Handrails and guardrails on ramps and stairs
    • Separate men's and women's bathrooms if the occupant load will exceed 15; unisex bathroom for occupant loads under 15
    • The type of ventilation to be provided - Natural or Mechanical
      • Natural ventilation: Minimum openable area to the outdoors of 4% of the floor area being ventilated
      • Mechanical ventilation: Minimum 5 CFM/person provided