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									                                                  CONVERTING HOUSES
                                                TO NONRESIDENTIAL USES

                                                      Planning Division - 1055 S. Grady Way
                                                      Renton, WA. 98057 * (425)-430-7200 *
                                                               FAX (425) 430-7300

This publication is offered as a general                     required when dwellings are converted to
guideline to the permit process involved in                  nonresidential uses and transportation
converting single family dwellings to                        impact fees may be due. Public Works
offices, retail stores, restaurants or other                 should be consulted to determine if
similar non-residential uses.                                changes to site drainage, driveways,
                                                             easements or utility services will be
Actual projects may involve special                          necessary for your project.
circumstances not covered here; please
discuss the particulars of your project with                 III.   HEALTH DEPARTMENT
City staff.                                                         REQUIREMENTS

I.      PLANNING REQUIREMENTS                                Please       contact     King     County
                                                             Environmental Health (206) 296-4920 for
Your first inquiries concerning conversions                  an explanation of pertinent health
of residential buildings to nonresidential                   regulations if you are contemplating
uses should be directed to the Customer                      serving or preparing food in a converted
Service Counter (425) 430-7200.                              dwelling. Building permits for dwelling
                                                             conversions involving food service to the
Planning staff will help you determine if                    public cannot be issued until the Health
the proposed use is allowed by Zoning                        Department has reviewed and approved
Regulations, the required amount of on-                      the project.
site parking and whether landscaping or
other site improvements need to be                           IV.    FIRE DEPARTMENT
incorporated into the project.       The                            REQUIREMENTS.
Planning Department also administers the
City’s sign regulations.                                     The Fire Department will review your
                                                             application for compliance with the
If you plan to conduct a business from                       Uniform Fire Code. Please contact Fire
your home and the residence remains the                      Prevention Bureau (425) 430-7000 to
primary use, you may be considered as a                      discuss Fire Code requirements that may
“home occupation”. Home occupations do                       apply to your project. At the very least you
not require a full-use conversion process;                   will be required to install portable fire
please contact Planning staff for additional                 extinguishers.


Public    Works     (425)    430-7266      is
responsible for reviewing water use, sewer
connections, lot drainage, access to the
site from streets, and for regulating utility
easements. Water meters are normally
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The Building Division (425) 430-7276 is                      Exterior walls may require modifications to
responsible for ensuring that building                       provide one-hour fire protection, depending
projects comply with the Uniform building,                   upon both how far the building is from
Plumbing and Mechanical Codes, the                           property lines and its intended post-
National Electrical and the State’s Non-                     conversion use. Some one-hour exterior
Residential Energy Code and Barrier-free                     walls require parapets and protected
Accessibility regulations. A building plans                  openings; in some circumstances openings
examiner is usually available to discuss                     in exterior walls must be filled in.
your project with you Monday through
Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and                    Food service establishments often require
4:00 p.m.                                                    special fire safety hoods at stoves and
                                                             other kitchen equipment.
Dwellings must usually be altered to one
degree or another to make them suitable                      Finally, basements and attics are
for commercial use, and permits are                          generally required to be separated from
required. Brochures explaining the permit                    other building areas with one-hour
process are available on the literature rack                 construction.
in Development Services; please feel free
to help yourself to these.                                   VI.    BUSINESS LICENSE
Providing barrier-free access and meeting
fire protection standards are the two                        You will also need a City of Renton Business
Building Code requirements responsible                       License. Please call (425) 430-6851 for
for the majority of necessary building                       further information or visit the City’s web site
alterations:                                                 at and click on “site
                                                             index” and then “Business Licenses”.


Barrier-free parking and barrier-free
access to the building must be provided
when converting a dwelling to another
use. Usually a ramp must be constructed
to provide access to the building. New or
remodeled restrooms must meet barrier-
free standards, as must entry doors and
service counters. Information explaining
barrier-free requirements is available at
the Development Services customer

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