1. Pass the Necessary Inspections
The first step to obtaining a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy is to pass the necessary inspections. Schedule an appointment with a Department of Buildings (DOB) inspector to verify the condition of at least the construction, electrical, plumbing and elevators. The inspector must confirm that these systems are safe and give you a signoff to submit to the DOB.
2. Submit Your Application
To finalize the application, you must obtain an approved Schedule of Occupancy in the DOB NOW System and submit a Certificate of Occupancy Request. You must also fill out a PW7 form and submit all the signoffs from the inspectors to the Department of Buildings.
3. Pay the Fee
There is a $100 TCO fee that must be paid along with the application unless the development is exempt from paying the fee.
4. Obtain a TCO and Finish Any Necessary Work
If the application is approved, your temporary occupancy certificate will be good for 90 days or another specified period that is based on the building codes or inspection unit approval. During that time, you must finalize any outstanding issues and apply for a permanent certificate of occupancy. Otherwise, you may be forced to halt normal operations until the building is once again deemed safe.
The Department of Buildings has the following requirements to obtain a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy:
- Temporary or Final Construction inspection signoff
- Temporary or Final Plumbing inspection signoff
- Temporary or Final Electrical inspection signoff
- Temporary Elevator signoff (if applicable)
- TCO Fee (if applicable)
- Applicant must schedule an update of the open inspections
- Approved Schedule of Occupancy
- A Certificate of Occupancy submitted in DOB NOW
Also, note that if the building is not occupied within 30 days, applicants must obtain a new TCO before it can resume normal business.
The exact amount of time it takes to get a TCO can vary, but typically the entire application process can take about six months from when the work on the building is completed. If everything goes smoothly, then it may be processed sooner. But if there is any doubt that the building's systems are not safe, the inspector will require you to fix the problem before they sign off. Plus, it's difficult to tell how long the DOB will take to process the application.
There are expediting services you can use to push the application through faster. But plan on at least a few months after finalizing construction before you get approval to occupy the building.