PART III: BUILDING/FIRE PERMITS
Each commercial building must have a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) issued by the Building Official specifying the occupancy classification for that building or space. In the City of Miami Beach, each place of business must also have a Certificate of Use (CU) and an occupational license – now called Business Tax Receipt (BTR). The CUs and BTRs designate the kind of business permitted to operate in the building or space, which must be congruent with the classification of occupancy (CO).
A nightclub or bar lounge must have all three documents in order to operate in Miami Beach along with all other appropriate State and County documents. The nightclub owner is responsible for obtaining the certificates/license and renewing these documents accordingly. If a new nightclub is opening in a space where another nightclub was previously operating, then the owner must still make sure that the space is legally approved by the Building and Fire Departments for the nightclub. We have already experienced situations where the new owner assumed that he could open since there was an existing nightclub, and later discovered that the space never had a CO for assembly occupancy.
The nightclub owner must obtain building and fire permits for any renovation work in the building or space. Even if the work seems to be minor in value, it may require a building permit. For example, building a new bar or relocating the bar to another location would require a building permit. Any renovation work done may affect the furniture layout and occupant load calculations. The owner must hire licensed contractors to do any work in the building or space. By obtaining a building permit, the contractor will have to show that he has the correct license and insurance requirements. In addition, a building permit will require that City inspectors are called to conduct inspections throughout the project.