No change shall be made in the use or occupancy of any building that would place the building in a different division of the same group of occupancies or in a different group of occupancies, unless such building is made to comply with the requirements of this code for the use or occupancy. Subject to the approval of the building official, the use or occupancy of existing buildings shall be permitted to be changed and the building is allowed to be occupied for purposes in other groups without conforming to all the requirements of this code for those groups, provided the new or proposed use is less hazardous, based on life and fire risk, than the existing use.
A certificate of occupancy shall be issued where it has been determined that the requirements for the new occupancy classification have been met.
When a change of occupancy results in a structure being reclassified to a higher risk category, the structure shall conform to the seismic requirements for a new structure of the higher risk category.
Exception: Specific seismic detailing requirements of Section 1613A for a new structure shall not be required to be met where the seismic performance is shown to be equivalent to that of a new structure. A demonstration of equivalence shall consider the regularity, overstrength, redundancy and ductility of the structure.