What the Heck is a USE GROUP for a Commercial Building?

If you’re starting a new commercial building project, you might have heard your contractor or others in the construction industry use the term construction USE GROUP. But what exactly does this term mean and why is this group important for your commercial construction project in Virginia?

What the heck is a USE GROUP?

The USE GROUP determines the safety requirements for all construction projects in the state of Virginia. There’s 10 general and 27 individual USE GROUPS in the state and each type is responsible for assessing and drawing the safety regulations for commercial projects. Without their approval, your project will not meet safety regulations to operate.

Depending on the intended use of a commercial space, you must get approval from a specific USE GROUP. Some of the most common include:

  • Assembly Groups: outlines safety requirements for spaces designed for civil or social functions, such as a town hall or community gym

  • Business Group: looks at safety regulations for traditional office buildings

  • Education Group: responsible for the safety of educational buildings which will house K-12 classes

  • Factory and Industrial Groups: outlines requirements for industrial spaces, including factories which assemble, package, and manufacture products

  • High Hazard Groups: ensures the safety code is followed for spaces which will store high hazed materials which pose a community health danger

  • Storage Group: looks at the safety requirements for storage spaces which don’t store hazardous materials

  • Mercantile Group: determines the safety code for retail shops inside shopping centers and malls

This list is not a complete list and knowing which USE GROUP to use can be tricky to navigate. That’s why it’s important to work with a good contractor in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake Virginia, or another city nearby who knows which USE GROUP is appropriate for your project.

Why it matters to you

As stated above, getting the right USE GROUP to approve your project is essential to your team’s and client’s and customers’ safety during and after construction. The USE Group will lay out all safety regulations so your contractor can ensure your project meets all building codes outlined by your state and county.

What is a use group?What is a use group?

Finding the Right Contractor

As you might imagine, getting USE GROUP approval and following their recommendations is much easier with the right contractor. When looking for a contractor to work with, watch out for these signs of a bad contractor. In general, you want a communicative contractor who excels at project management. But for commercial projects, you also want a contractor who’s familiar with your state and county. Partnering with a contractor local to the Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake areas ensures your contractor knows who to contact and how to work with your state-appointed USE GROUPS.

Pro-tip: for more guidance on how to find the right contractor, explore these guidelines from the state of Virginia.

Carlton Building Services in Hampton Roads Virginia

Carlton Building Services specializes in repairs, maintenance, renovations, remodelings and build-outs for a variety of clients in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake areas. We have years of experience handling projects in the retail, office, and healthcare space and would love to work with you on your next project!

To learn more about our services, check out past project highlights or contact Carlton Building Services to see how we can help with your next project.

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

J.P. Carlton is the founder of Carlton Building Services, a Hampton Roads-based construction company.