What we offer:


Tenant improvements, additions, and new construction drawings necessary for:

  • Retail,
  • Medical,
  • Industrial,
  • Office,
  • Educational, and
  • Religious Facilities


Architectural drawings necessary for:

  • Interior remodels,
  • Additions,
  • New construction,
  • Neighborhood designs, and
  • Multi-family housing

We also provide other Architectural services including:

  • Certificate of Use (COU) and Change of Use (CU) facilitation,
  • 3-D renderings,
  • Architectural Review Board (ARB) and city design approval including:
    • Historical Preservation Commission (HPC) and Building Code Adjustment Board (BCAB) facilitation,
    • Zoning variances and exceptions, and
    • Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) approvals

What is a C.O.U.?

First, let’s talk about what a C.O.U is and why the city wants your business to have one. C.O.U. is short for “certificate of use. Not to be confused with a “change of use” or a “certificate of occupancy.”

The purpose of a C.O.U. application is to help the city understand some fundamental things about your business. The city used to ask businesses to obtain a “business license” but have since replaced that requirement with the C.O.U. process.

The C.O.U. process is basically a cursory check the city must make sure that your business:

  • Is zoned properly for the occupancy type of the business
  • Complies with the latest edition of the Florida Fire Prevention Code
  • Complies with the latest edition and all parts of the Florida Building Code.

What does a C.O.U. require?

Before a C.O.U. application can be approved, an occupancy type for the business must be established. If the proposed occupancy matches the last certified occupancy classification group, the C.O.U. process is simple. Often, the proposed use of the building is not the same as the previous use or proper permits for that occupancy were never applied for. When this is the case, a converting use permit is required.

What is a converting use permit?

A converting use permit certifies the change of use for the space or building. Florida law requires a Florida licensed design professional to prepare the permit documents to certify that health and safety requirements, per Florida codes, have been met prior to approval of a C.O.U. application.

What drawings/documentation is needed for a converting use permit?

Most times, work is required to bring the building up to code, such as installation of new exit lighting, A/C ventilation upgrades, mop sink or drinking fountain installation. Drawings may include but are not limited to:

  • Architectural plans indicating building size, occupancy type, life safety systems, exit pathways, and any construction required for compliance.
  • Mechanical drawings are required to document existing ventilation systems and required upgrades if needed.
  • Electrical drawings documenting any unsafe systems requiring repairs or upgrades for exit light fixtures.
  • Plumbing drawings documenting any repairs, modifications, or upgrades that may be required.

What happens if I don’t file a C.O.U. application or apply for a converting use permit?

If found to be operating without an approved C.O.U., the city may issue a cease-and-desist order.

The city gives businesses 30 days after a violation is issued to apply for a C.O.U. If the business fails to comply a cease-and-desist order, which may be accompanied by an order to terminate electrical power to the building until all violations have been resolved.


Why hire JAA Architecture Inc?

Our Experience

JAA Architecture, Inc. has an unparalleled drive for excellence and commitment to client satisfaction. Our team consists of a dynamic and ambitious group of individuals. We pride ourselves on accuracy and thoroughness, as well as honesty and humility.

With 15 years experience working in Jacksonville, and documenting 200+ projects per year, we have the knowledge to assist your business in obtaining an approved C.O.U. and converting use permits, as well as all other architectural needs.

Get in Touch

Please call us at 904-379-5108 or:

Contact Us