Follow the steps outlined in this article to convert your commercial space to living space successfully.

Draw Floor Plans

The first step in this process is to draw floor plans for the existing building. These floor plans should include whether or not the commercial space already has bathrooms, showers, a water heater, a wet wall or floor drains, electric service, natural gas, or other amenities. Decide which ones you can live without and which ones you cannot live without before beginning construction. The floor plans should show where all of these amenities are located in the building.

Electrical Sketches

The second step is to create electrical sketches of the commercial space to convert it to a residential property. The drawings must include all electrical upgrades the building will need. The illustrations also need to detail where GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets will be placed in the building. The sketches should also document any new electrical outlets on the walls of the building or the floors of the building.

Other Sketches

The other sketches needed for transforming the commercial space to living space should be room to room. Sketch out a kitchen, the bathrooms, a living room, a family room, a dining room, a laundry room, and any other rooms you would like in your new residential building. This makes putting together a list of necessary materials for the construction aspect of the project easy.

Apply for Permits

After all the drawings, electrical, and room sketches are complete, you must apply for permits. The permits needed include fire, construction, electrical, and building permits. Their respective overseer must approve all four permits after an inspection is performed and all of the drawings are submitted to the town hall.

Purchase Materials and Frame the Rooms

Once the materials are purchased for the actual construction of the residential space, you can begin to frame the building wall by wall. Do not frame a room all at once. Make sure you only frame one wall at a time to guarantee that the construction work is done correctly. The support beams, or vertical studs, ensure that there is enough support for the floors, roofs, and ceilings in the residential property.

Electrical, Plumbing, and Flooring Installation

The next step in the makeover process is to install the electrical wiring, the plumbing, and the floors. You must do the floors first, so be sure to pick out the type of flooring you would like. You can choose from vinyl flooring, wood floors, or carpet-covered floors. Parts of this conversion can be done by yourself, such as the plumbing and the flooring installation, if you have the experience to do so. The electrical wiring should be done so that everything is installed correctly, the outlets work correctly, and no shorts occur.

So, if you decide to purchase a commercial building in hopes of renovating it, now you know how to convert commercial to living space — by performing the following steps:

  • Sketch floor plans.
  • Sketch electrical plans with new outlets drawn.
  • Sketch individual drawings for each desired room.
  • Apply for needed permits.
  • Purchase building materials or hire a contractor.
  • Frame the rooms.
  • Install electrical wiring, flooring, and plumbing.



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