March 7, 2022

Commercial Building Renovation Requirements For Business Owners

UPDATED, June 23, 2022

Just as a homeowner has reasons for remodeling a house, you as a business owner may have your own reasons for a commercial building renovation. You may be launching a new enterprise, expanding space to accommodate business growth, or modernizing your property to attract and retain tenants. Whatever your reasons may be, commercial remodels require careful and thorough planning. You’ll need to decide on the scope of work to be done and the associated cost and schedule.


Benefits Of Commercial Renovations For Business Owners

One of the first things you must do is to define the scope of work for your building renovation. What is the purpose of remodeling for you and your business? Identifying the benefits of commercial renovations helps you prioritize your objectives for your project. Benefits may include:


Save Money

Renovating an existing building is usually less expensive than building new construction from scratch. Your current location may be ideal with respect to operations, and moving to another location to accommodate growth can have other financial consequences in some cases. You also spare the costs and effort associated with changing a business address. 

Commercial building improvements may also introduce new features and fixtures that help lower costs associated with energy and water usage.


Improve Efficiency

Outdated layouts and architectural elements can make your space feel smaller than it is, especially if you need to expand. Remodeling also helps you to equip your facility with new technology and features, increasing and enhancing the overall use of space. 


Create A Better Environment

commercial building renovations pasquini engineering article - Commercial Building Renovation Requirements For Business Owners - blog

A renovation of the workplace can improve productivity and boost morale. It’s an opportunity to make key upgrades for safety and sustainability, reinforcing your commitment to employees, clients, and business partners. 


Update Your Brand

Imagine having a company in the healthcare or tech industries. Your current interiors may reflect older philosophies or industry trends. Upgrading your interiors helps convey that you’re on top of your business and committed to the needs of practitioners and clients.  

Outlining your goals for renovation helps you to prioritize your needs when exploring your options with a building design firm.


Commercial Renovation Requirements

Unlike some home renovations, commercial buildings are subject to state requirements, building design codes, and various permitting requirements. Whether your commercial project involves major reconstruction or mostly cosmetic upgrades, it’s important to work with professionals, such as a civil engineer and an experienced building contractor who knows the process and can help you successfully navigate the requirements for commercial renovations.

Finding a professional civil engineering firm that can provide architectural engineering services in the right manner is also important for developing a complete scope of work with a realistic cost and budget. What might appear straightforward to you may be more complex upon investigation, especially when it comes to local government compliance. 

Additionally, an experienced principal building designer can assess your current facility and your goals to create a renovation plan that meets the latest design criteria, state requirements, and local ordinances. Look to a professional for guidance on addressing the following issues:



Accessibility or the “ability to access” regards the design of an environment or space to be usable by people with disabilities. The American Disabilities Act of 1990 requires new public and private buildings to be accessible (4). It also requires businesses to make accessibility improvements when completing renovations. Your renovation project needs to consider the dimensions required to accommodate people who use wheelchairs and other devices to move about. 

From bathrooms to entrances and exits, your building design firm comes up with plans that may include handrails, ramps, accessible parking spaces, escalators, and elevators in order to make your space compliant with ADA requirements.

Additions, alterations, and repairs that require building permits must include changes for full accessibility. If this creates a problem, you’ll need to complete an application for  “Unreasonable Hardship Exception to Accessibility Requirements” in California.  A professional can help you determine whether this hardship exists and account for it in your plan.



commercial remodels pasquini engineering article - Commercial Building Renovation Requirements For Business Owners - blog

When it comes to commercial upgrades, there’s often more than what meets the eye. What might be a change in appearance or finishes may require additional work for proper installation and regulatory compliance. Your commercial renovation project may result in changes to the use of the building, requiring you to make other upgrades, such as a fire sprinkler system for the entire building.


California Energy Codes

The Golden State has energy standards or codes designed to minimize and control wasteful energy consumption in buildings, both old and new. The California Energy Commission updates these standards every three years (6). Commercial remodels must include additional labor, equipment, and materials needed to meet the most recent energy codes. Your project budget needs should account for this work as well.



Occupancy includes the intended use of a building as it relates to the shelter or support of people. A building can have multiple occupancies, such as a mixed-use facility that has residential units on the upper floors with retail and restaurants on the bottom floor. 

Depending on your project, changes to the occupancy may call for other changes, such as modifications to fire protection, HVAC systems, electrical wiring, plumbing, and more. Interior updates can also have implications for exterior spaces, such as additional parking and landscaping improvements. These additional requirements can impact your costs and renovation schedule significantly.


Commercial Building Renovations With Pasquini Engineering, Inc.

Considering all the requirements and tasks that are associated with conducting a  commercial building renovation, you can count on Pasquini Engineering, Inc. to help you along the way. Our civil engineer and associates have many years of experience in this field and have successfully completed numerous commercial renovations in California and beyond. To get a clearer picture of what your commercial renovation requires and the first steps you need to take, contact us today and we’ll get you started.


DISCLAIMER: Pasquini Engineering, Inc. is licensed to work in the following states: California, Oregon, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. All the information on Pasquini Engineering, Inc. is published for general information purposes only, and will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of our website. By using our website, you hereby consent to our disclaimer and agree to its terms. 




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