Johnson County Building Code

3408.1 Conformance. No change shall be made in the use or occupancy of any building that would place the building in a different division of the same group of occupancies or in a different group of occupancies, unless such building is made to comply with the requirements of this code for such division or group of occupancies. Subject to the approval of the building official, the use or occupancy of existing buildings shall be permitted to be changed and the building is allowed to be occupied for purposes in other groups without conforming to all the requirements of this code for those groups, provided the new or proposed use is less hazardous, based on life and fire risk, than the existing use.

3408.2 Certificate of occupancy. A certificate of occupancy shall be issued where it has been determined that the requirements for the new occupancy classification have been met.


The Building Code classifies how a building is used into different categories or “occupancies”. Whenever the use of any part of a building changes, from one occupancy classification to another, a Change of Occupancy Permit is required. For example, a change of occupancy is required to change a store (M occupancy) into a day care center (E occupancy) or to enlarge the seating in a restaurant from less than 50 (B occupancy) to more than 50 (A-2 occupancy). When the occupancy of a building is changed, the Building Code requires that the building meet all current code requirements for that new use.

How do I apply for a change of occupancy permit?

A Change of Occupancy Permit is a building permit. Two sets of building plans, a site plan and a completed building permit application are required to process your permit.

What information must be shown on the plans?

Building plans for a Change of Occupancy Permit must be neatly drawn and to scale. The plans must show existing conditions as well as any proposed changes. Typical plans would include:

1. Site plan showing the size of the building and its location relative to property lines and other buildings.

2. Floor plan for each level. Floor plans must show the proposed use of each room and the overall room dimensions. The size of exit doors and the direction of door swing should be shown. Show the rise, run, and location of all steps. Any permanent seating shall be shown/identified.

What happens after I turn in my plans?

Planning, Development & Sustainability will review the site for compliance with the Unified Development Ordinance and verify that the site is zoned for the intended use and has the required number parking spots. The building plans are reviewed for code requirements, including possible egress, fire separation, and handicap accessibility issues.

What happens if I can’t meet some of the requirements?

Johnson County has established a Board of Appeals to deal with those extraordinary situations where meeting the requirements would be virtually impossible. For instance, an appeal may approve an alternate fire and life safety proposal that meets the “intent” of the Building Code.

What happens once my permit is issued?

Inspections are required for a Change of Occupancy Permit as for any other building permit - even if no actual work is to be done. You must arrange for an inspection by calling the Johnson County Building Division, 24 hours in advance. Once the job has been inspected and approved by the building inspector, a new “Certificate of Occupancy” will be provided to you, for your records.