Certificate Of Occupancy
The final step in the permitting process for new construction is typically the Certificate Of Occupancy. The Certificate Of Occupancy (CO) is issued by the local or state government certifying that the building structure complies with current building codes and is suitable for occupancy.
The CO is typically issued after a final inspection of the property. The inspection focuses on applicable building code provisions and any local zoning provisions or ordinances. CO’s are sometimes issued as “Temporary” when there is significant enough progress to allow the space to be lived in, but enough items unresolved that further inspection is required. Often times this relief helps owners finalize construction loans and begin the process of moving into a new or newly renovated space.
Typical Certificate of Occupancy Inspection
Certificate Of Occupancy procedures vary from town to town but typically involve inspections of life safety, heating and ventilation, running water and sewer and safe working electric power. Some typical inspections that might take place include:
- Life Safety – Proper means of egress, correct stair geometry including railings, properly functioning smoke detectors and 911 address signage for emergency responders.
- Heating & Ventilation – Inspection of heating equipment and proper ventilation for bathrooms.
- Water & Sewer – Inspection of water and sewer services including functioning toilets and sinks along hot water of sufficient heat.
- Electric Power – Safe working electrical service including proper installation of ground fault circuits, arc fault circuits and properly sized circuit breakers.
It is not uncommon to have more than one inspection. Typically there will end up being a list of items that need correcting in order to receive the final Certificate Of Occupancy. Most inspectors will issue a Temporary Certificate Of Occupancy if the remaining issues are minor in nature. This allows home owners to move into the house while the remaining list of items is being corrected.
Certificates Of Occupancy are often times required by financial institutions before they release final construction loan payments or allow a home owner to close on a new house. Those kind of requirements actually benefit all parties, it pushes the builder to complete all remaining items so that the owner can get the money to pay them. The CO also provides reassurance to the owner that the new house complies with building codes and is fit for occupancy.
So if you’re building a new home be sure that you get your Certificate Of Occupancy.