Welcome to the Lieumann Firm - Your Resource for Development & Growth Welcome to the Lieumann Firm - Your Resource for Development & Growth


Core Team
Garnered Dog Bite
Notable Projects

Virginia Office
5705 Deer Pond Road,
Centreville, VA 20120

T: 703-589-6994|F: 703-434-3519

Welcome to the Lieumann Firm - Your Resource for Development & Growth

Garnered Dog Bites

Here's a quick introduction to this Dog Bites series:

Following are some short briefs of issues over the years that we've experienced in the commercial arena.

Timely at issue date, they're a quick look at potentially painful bites if you're not looking.

Be mindful of the stray dogs roaming around your project and you'll be in good shape.





Topic: Day Care Facilities

The dogs to look for in this kennel are many and varied. Code requirements for Day Care
Facilities are extensive. This Use Group is considered "I-4, Institutional Occupancy".
Zoning compliance must be approved before building code compliance. The extent of
conversions to the existing building will require on-site review to determine specific conditions.
Keep in mind that conversion of residential buildings to Day Care Facilities must meet commercial
building codes.
Some general areas to review regarding the building code effecting child care facilities include:

Zoning Code (Prince William Co.):
- B1 Zoning allows Day Care Facilities by right.
- Other Zones may require a Conditional Use Permit or not be allowed.
- If you're unsure, check with your local zoning official.

IBC 2006 (Model Building Code):
- The maximum area allocated per child in a day care facility is 35 net square feet.
- The number of required toilets and lavatory's is based on 1 set per 15 people. 50 people (kids+ adults)
require 4 toilets and 4 lavs.
- The building must be fully sprinklered. (Note: Sprinklering is required of the entire building, not just the
tenant space.)
- Food cooked on site will require kitchen layout, equipment list, and menu to be reviewed by the
Health Department;
- Alternatively, catered food must be provided from a licensed vendor.

22 VAC 15-30, Standards For Licensed Child Day Centers (Virginia Department of Social Services):
- When children are in outdoor play area, provide a minimum of 75 sf per child.
- Toddlers in outdoor play area require a minimum of 25 sf per child.
- An on-site playground or outdoor play area is not required but one must be accessible for the required
outdoor time.
- A separate space shall be designated for children ill or injured.
- The State requires licensing and site inspections (other than that of the County building department).

These points are not meant to be all inclusive, but identify the more common issues.
The older the space, the potential for more skeletons in the closet that need to be re-dressed.
Other jurisdictions may have additional requirements.




Topic: Handicapped Access

Prince William County and surrounding jurisdictions are pursuing handicapped accessibility
to existing commercial spaces by requiring improvements to tenant layouts submitted for
building permit. Whether up-graded incrementally or completely, building codes are minimum
requirements and does not restrict the tenant from providing more than the minimum. Short of
locating to a pre-existing tenant space under the 'specialty' programs or to newly
constructed facilities, existing commercial inventories are typically considered. With that:

Some Typical Handicapped-Accessibility Considerations
1) With a tenant move in, a maximum 20% of the 'cost for construction'
improvements are earmarked for handicapped upgrades. Typical targets for upgrades are door
widths, door knobs to be lever type, toilet room access, HC toilet grab bars, HC lavatory with HC
faucet handles, access to primary spaces, minimum corridor widths, wheelchair turn-around
space and other items.

2) If any new toilet rooms are added, the design must comply fully with current HC

3) Doors to major space functions must have minimum clear openings of 32", including

4) Any floor level changes (ie: steps) greater than 1/2" need to be addressed for HC
These points are not meant to be all inclusive, but identify the more common issues.
The older the space, the greater the potential for re-dressing skeletons in the closet.


Topic: Mezzanines

Mezzanines are a great way of increasing the potential value of existing leasable space...if understood
properly. Learning after being bit is best done if it is someone else's butt. This is where the dogs can

Question 1: What is a Mezzanine?
-A Mezzanine is an intermediate level between the floor and ceiling of any story.
-The primary distinction of a Mezzanine is that it is open (no walls) to the floor space below and limited
in size relative to the floor below.
-It does not count towards the building's regulated floor area or number of stories (i.e. no additional
parking spaces required).
-In existing spaces, they may be custom built or a pre-manufactured system.

Question 2: How large can the Mezzanine be?
-The Mezzanine can be as large as you want it to be--- as long as it meets the parameters of the
building code.
-The size of the Mezzanine is dictated by the open floor area below, building construction type, and if it
is sprinklered.
-Regulated egress distances, head-clearances, and related safety features must be maintained.
-These and other parameters can vary the Mezzanines' optimum size from 1/3 to 2/3 of the open
floor area below.

Question 3: Is the Mezzanine free space?
-The cost of erecting a Mezzanine precludes it from being considered "free space".
-In high ceiling spaces, the Mezzanine increases space efficiency, usable square footage, and
(potentially) the number of people.
-Increasing the number of people typically requires a look at all supporting functions for adequacy,
including HVAC/ lighting/ sprinklers/ toilet facilities/ etc.


Topic: Older facilities

Although the rush has slowed, Medical offices, Dentists, IT tenants, Barber/ Beauty Shops and other
similar offices are increasing in this area. This Use Group is considered "B, Business". Short of locating to
a pre-existing tenant space under the County's JOE program or newly constructed facility, existing office
inventories are typically considered. Seeing more of the road ahead may help you avoid some
unpleasantries. Here are some issues that may be encountered with existing spaces.

Energy Code:
Depending on existing lights & wiring, meeting the current energy code may require lights to be re-wired,
replaced and/ or tied to a motion sensor in an effort to reduce energy consumption. This is a requirement
for both medical and other business uses.

Electrical wiring:
For a medical office, the wiring must be double-ground; which means the receptacles and light switches
in rooms where patients access must be specially wired. This is a specific electric code requirement of a
medical office space and is not required of other professional business uses.

Electrical system capacity and service:
Electric service needs to be checked to confirm there is enough power for your space. If the electric panel
once serviced multiple spaces, the panel needs to be checked to confirm that the wiring is
not intermingled to avoid circuit breakers handling outlets or lights in areas outside the lease zone. If the
the electric panel is located in an adjacent tenant space, an agreement will need to be developed that lets
you/ your reps have access to the electric panel at any time to address an emergency. This would also be
applicable to any shared mechanical HVAC system that provides heating and air conditioning to your

Mechanical plenum return:
This plenum system uses the cavity above the suspended ceiling system to circulate air back to the
ventilation unit.Projects with plenum systems may be problematic due to earlier un-authorized
improvements that were installed without County inspection or approval. This can result in
increased project costs to remove and/ or replace unforeseen wiring OR rectifying unauthorized
construction at the insistence of County building inspectors.

These points are not meant to be all inclusive, but identify the more common issues.
The older the space, the potential for more skeletons in the closet that need to be re-dressed.


Topic: Outside the dog box.

Leasing to a ‘new’ tenant?

If you’re thinking ahead, the next trick is to get them into the space so that they’re
producing cash flow for their business; which usually helps pay the rent.
If you haven’t considered this, how then to assist?
Here’s a quick who-dunit trail to pass along.

1. Zoning Approval
The proposed business type must be allowed to operate in the facility by current zoning
regulations. If you don’t have a design professional to consult, the simplest approach is to
contact your local zoning department and quiz the planner. Doing this can save your assets
from a bad bite. Rough option: go through the re-zoning process.

2. Use and Occupancy Permit
A “U&O” is needed to occupy a commercial space. Some jurisdictions have a quick occupancy
program that requires a field inspection to review for minimal safety requirements. This is typically
regulated to same ‘Use Groups’; i.e. restaurant to restaurant, office to office, etc. There are a number
of annoying dogs in this alley to be aware of, for example: a medical office is a business use group,
but the building department will require that electrical service in areas of patient care be upgraded to
have double-grounding (a requirement of the National Electric Code).

3. Building Permit
These puppies are needed if the tenant is planning to do some physical improvements and/ or addition
to the space. Depending on the type of improvement proposed, the jurisdiction may require the tenant
to minimally earmark 20% of anticipated construction costs to handicapped accessibility upgrades.
Other jurisdictions may require full upgrade. Note: if the space has not been regularly upgraded during
the span of normal turn-overs, the skeletons in the closet could start to become a real bite. i.e. New
child-care facilities in an older residential buildings must comply with current commercial building codes!
“Grand-fathering” is a passé term that building officials are cautious about, like a rolled-up newspaper.

If you made it this far, here’s your reward: #4. Building inspections
If your tenant has pulled a Building Permit, this is the action end of the process. Field inspections
for improvements are needed to get final approval from the local jurisdiction. Only after receiving
Final inspection approvals and all fees paid is the Use & Occupancy permit issued;
Obtain the business license and you’re open for business…Ahhh-whooooooo!


Topic: Public Access to Retail Space Toilet Rooms

Fornew construction and some existing tenant retail spaces with new occupants, current commercial
building code requires that toilets be accessible to customers, patrons and visitors. This means that IF
THERE ARE NO centralized toilet rooms for the public (i.e. mall spaces) the individual tenant space/ retail
space must provide toilet access to customers, patrons and visitors.

This becomes problematic for some tenant uses which have their toilets located in the rear of the space.
If toilet access is denied by the tenant to the rear of the space, a toilet room will need to be added
towards the front of the space; or a shared toilet must be located in a "neutral area". Depending on the
new tenant use and space size, building code may require multiple toilets. Any "new" toilet room must
fully comply with Handicapped Accessibility requirements.

These points are not meant to be all inclusive, but identify the more common issues.

FYI, here are the technical excerpts from the International Building Code 2006 (Model Building Code).

Chapter 29, “Plumbing Systems”
Section 2902.4 “Required public toilet facilities”: Customers, patrons and visitors shall be
provided with public toilet facilities in structures and tenant spaces intended for public utilization.
The accessible route to public facilities shall not pass through kitchens, storage rooms, closets
or similar spaces. Employees shall be provided with toilet facilities in all occupancies. Employee
toilet facilities shall be either separate or combined employee and public toilet facilities.

Chapter 34 “Existing Structures”
Section 3403.1 “Existing Buildings or structures”: Additions or alterations to any building or structure
shall comply with the requirements of the code for new construction. Additions or alterations shall not
be made to an existing building or structure that will cause the existing building or structure to be in
violation of any provisions of this code. An existing building plus additions shall comply with the height
and area provisions of Chapter 5. Portions of the structure not altered and not affected by the alteration
are not required to comply with the code requirements for a new structure.


Topic: The Dirty of being your own commercial General Contractor

Where to begin? For the vast majority of owners, the first question: What’s your threshold of pain?

Keep in mind the typical business person would not venture into an arena that they’re not proficient in,
unless it was a hobby or a point of some relaxation. Tie that “hobby” into a real dollar figure and extend
it for weeks, if not months of build-out time; and the interaction with dozens of people including trade
contractors, building plan reviewers, inspectors, vendors, suppliers, delivery people, salesman, maybe
an attorney or two, etc. to orchestrate a finished product on time and under budget can be a real sterilizer
(place your own definition here).

The preface is that the contractor is properly licensed and working from an approved set of project
documents. So why risk a very bad and painful bite? First timers who venture into building their own
construction improvement projects do so for a host of reasons; most often it is to shave costs or to
“simplify” build-out. If they’re good at it, they’d be doing it full time; if they’re really good, they get referrals.
Brutal truth: We wish we Were the big dog.

Some points to ponder:
A good General Contractor is trained to juggle and coordinate the people, phases, and myriad of tasks
that it takes to start and complete the work; deal with code issues, county regulations, budget costs,
scheduling, and a host of variables specific only to that project. Does it work? If the GC is the Point on the
project, a lack of headaches is a sure sign something is working well. When you realize you have to
deliver the nails, watch out!

Bad, Bad doggie… or what to do to eliminate undesirable behavior:
1. Changes creates a ripple effect. i.e. you can change the water but not the bowel; it agitates the dog.
2. Balance changes with cost/ time scheduling/ and overall benefit. i.e. a Chihuahua’s sweater will not fit a
bull dog.
3. Discuss issues with the building inspector in an intelligent, civil way. i.e. teasing the dog gets you teeth


At one time or another, you've probably have been involved with assisting churches relocate to other
facilities. This Use Group is considered "A-3, Places of religious worship". Short of locating to a preexisting
A-3 church building or similar tenant space, older office/ retail/ warehouse spaces are
typically considered.

Learning after being bit is best done if it is someone else's butt. This is where the dogs can bite...

Dog bite #1: Building sprinklers are required if the fire area exceeds 12,000 square foot; or 300 people or
more; or if the area is located on other than the main exit floor.

Dog bite #2: HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems of office and retail spaces
are designed to handle smaller occupant loads than 'assembly use groups'. The more people occupying a
enclosed, limited space, the more the air needs to be treated to handle heat loads, fresh air ventilation,
cooling, etc. This may translate to the necessity of adding/ upsizing existing HVAC systems and
associated power/ other powering utility.

Dog bite #3: Toilet facilities for churches are based on the anticipated occupant load. If there are 16 or
more occupants, toilet rooms for each sex is required. Additional toilets are based on the number of
people actually using the space or the actual tenant area, dependent on the jurisdiction's interpretation of
the code.

Dog bite #4: Multiple remote emergency exits are required if there are more than 50 people; or the
common path of travel exceeds 75 feet.

These points are not meant to be all inclusive, but identify the more common issues.


  The Lieumann Firm/ architecture
  5705 Deer Pond Road,
  Centreville, VA 20120

  Voice: 703.589.6994
  Fax: 703.434.3519

  E-mail: blieu@Lieumann.com