Index of Sections

Code Plain English

339B.1 General.

All individual spaces and JLWQ shall be provided with facilities pursuant to applicable code with not less than the minimum facilities as provided herein. See Table 339B-A.


339B.1 General.

While past experience has shown that most live/work buildings are developed into "move-in" condition, this code provides options for those who wish to prepare a building for subsequent finishing out–incrementally and under separate permit. No live/work unit can be occupied until all required finishes (kitchen, bath, heat, hot water, etc.) are completed and a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is issued, but following completion of shell construction, it is possible, for example, that an individual unit owner or tenant could take possession and finish out the unit him/herself prior to occupancy.

In the interest of full disclosure to buyers or tenants, a developer must record a "Notice of Limitation" explaining exactly what has and has not been completed and what must be completed under separate permit before units can be occupied.

HINT: The purchaser of a condominium who intends to finish it out (from the "shell completion" point) will likely also need to make special arrangements with the seller such as including in the purchase agreement a clause requiring that the seller co-sign any permit application. It is likely that ownership of the unit cannot change hands until the unit is fully finished out and a Certificate of Occupancy issued, due to typical lender requirements. Therefore the finishing out of the unit would have to occur during the period of escrow, i.e. prior to close of escrow, when the unit is still technically owned by the seller.

Shell construction, then, consists of doing all of the work to the existing building except finishing out the units, including: seismic upgrade, utility upgrades and distribution to units (and individual appliance stub-outs); and all work to bring the basic life safety systems (exiting, guardrails, stairs, properly rated construction, sprinklers, etc.) and other systems (roof, windows, insulation, etc.) into compliance.

339B.1.1 Where a building shell is proposed to be constructed or an existing building shell conversion with improvements and facilities within an individual space or JLWQ to be constructed later under separate permits, roughed-in facilities shall be provided pursuant to applicable code sufficient to serve the proposed facilities with not less than the minimum facilities pursuant to Table 339B-A. The shell shall be constructed pursuant to applicable code with minimum facilities as provided herein.  
339B.1.2 Finished Facilities. Where the individual space is to be completely finished, facilities shall be provided pursuant to applicable code with not less than the minimum facilities pursuant to Table 339B-A. All fixtures, equipment and appurtenances plus all plumbing, mechanical, and electrical requirements shall be installed for a complete and finished space.

339B.1.2 Finished Facilities. Under shell construction, the minimum facilities noted under 339B-A need to be completed up to a "stubbed-out" stage, which means they are ready for utilities or appliances (hot water heater, gas range, space heater or furnace, etc.) and fixtures (kitchen sink and cabinets, bathroom fixtures, etc.).


339B.1.3 Combustion Air Through Infiltration. If the individual space cannot provide sufficient combustion air or ventilation through infiltration as defined in and pursuant to the California Plumbing Code and/or California Mechanical Code, as applicable, then the minimum facilities in a room, individual space, or building of unusually tight construction shall provide roughed-in or completed facilities for combustion air and ventilation. 339B.1.3 Combustion Air Through Infiltration. As was mentioned above in the discussion of Table 339B-A, if a building is determined to be of Unusually Tight Construction, meaning there is insufficient air infiltration, then facilities-- usually ducting-- to provide supplementary outside air ("combustion air") need to be provided as part of the shell construction.
339B.2 Shell Construction. The building shell construction shall meet all requirements of applicable code and as provided herein. The building shell itself, public use areas, common use areas, and walls and floor/ceilings separating and common to the individual space or JLWQ shall be completely constructed as part of the building permit work for the shell. All plumbing work, mechanical work, and electrical work, including the provisions for minimum facilities pursuant to Table 339B-A, serving an individual space of F-7 or R-7 Occupancy JLWQ or F-8 or R-8 Occupancy shall be appropriately enclosed, terminated and labeled. 339B.2 Shell Construction. This section lays out more fully what is to be included in shell construction. Of course all work must be done to code and with permits. As noted above, this includes everything except the finishing out of the units themselves. See the text to the left for a straightforward description.
339B.3 Individual Space or JLWQ.
The individual space or JLWQ that will be improved at a later time will be required to obtain a separate permit and shall comply with all permit and inspection requirements of the applicable code in effect at the time of permit application.
339B.3 Individual Space or JLWQ.
Once Shell Construction is completed, the option exists for individual units to be finished out–each under a separate permit if so desired. Normally a tenant doing the work would need to get the landlord’s permission in writing prior to applying for a permit to finish out a unit; with such permission he can do the work himself under an "Owner-Builder" permit or engage licensed contractors to do it.
A separate permit can be taken out to finish an individual unit in a building which has been constructed as a shell. Note that any permit taken out for shell construction must comply with the current code requirements, which could be different than those that were in effect at the time of the shell construction.