The issue is Occupant Load, not so much a change in
occupancy. There is a section in the Code where you
can figure the occupant load of the building. You
add up the square footage of all the different uses
(office, storage, etc.) and you come up with an
occupant load for the building.
In this case, there is a change of Occupancy, but
more important, a significant increase in occupant
The current occupancy is retail, and the new use is
for a church. The new sanctuary will hold several
In order to create the new larger room requirements
on the ground floor, we are in fact removing some
structural walls on the ground floor.
I do not know if this is a UBC thing, or a local
Code thing. I have heard of a similar requirement
here in the City of Santa Barbara, so maybe it is a
UBC Code thing (the project I am talking about is
not in the City or County of Santa Barbara, the
jurisdictions local to our office).