Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is required to legally use and occupy a building or structure (or portion thereof).

When a Certificate of Occupancy is issued, it certifies that the building/structure or portion thereof conforms with the Zoning Code and the applicable Building Codes enforced at the time the Certificate is issued.

Please call the File Room at 412-255-2175 to verify whether or not a property has a Certificate of Occupancy on file.

If a building/structure does not have a Certificate of Occupancy, it is considered an Uncertified Building under the Pennsylvania's Uniform Construction Code. In order for the City of Pittsburgh to issue a new Certificate of Occupancy, conformance must be shown per current codes.

If the building/structure is uncertified, or a new Certificate of Occupancy is required, an Occupancy Permit must first be obtained before the new Certificate can issued.

Occupancy Permit

An Occupancy Permit is required for:

  • New buildings/structures.
  • Additions to existing buildings/structures, this includes vertical additions, or other modifications to the building volume, such as dormers.
  • Existing buildings/structures undergoing a change in use, including partial changes in use.
  • Exterior signs, unless exempted by the Zoning Code.
  • Exterior accessory equipment/structures, such as fences, sheds, condensing units, and generators.
  • Other elements as required by the Zoning Code.

Please be aware that a Building Permit may also be required, please refer to Work Not Requiring a Building Permit(Above in the tabs). In instances where no construction is planned, physical changes maybe required in order to comply with applicable Building Codes. Additionally, accessibility upgrades could be required depending on the scope of changes.

Partial Occupancy Applications

Applications for partial occupancy of a structure prior to completion of all work under a construction permit requires submission to the City of Pittsburgh under a new Temporary Occupancy permit application. The procedures for this process can be found in the Partial Occupancy Bulletin.

How To Obtain An Occupancy Permit

The Occupancy Permit application process is two-fold. The first component is review and approval by the Zoning Department for the land use as regulated by the Zoning Code. The second component is review and approval by PLI for life safety as regulated by the current Building Codes.

Zoning Review

The property owner, or authorized agent, will need to first apply in person at the Zoning Counter located at 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. A separate check or money order will be required to pay the Zoning fee.

After the work is approved by the Zoning Department, the applicant will proceed to the File Room and then then PLI's Engineering Counter, both located on the 3rd floor of 200 Ross St.

PLI Review

For the PLI review, the following will be required:

  • Separate check/money order for the permit fee, due when the Occupancy Permit is issued.
  • Completed Building Permit Application Form.
  • Two sets of drawings and a building code analysis, prepared and sealed by a Pennsylvania licensed Architect/Engineer to verify compliance with current codes.

The submitted drawings will be logged into our Plan Review Queue. Sumissions are reviewed in the order in which they were received. After the Plans Examining Engineer has reviewed the application, they will contact the Architect/Engineer with any revisions or notify the applicant that the permit is ready for pick up.

After the permit has been approved, the final application step will be payment processing and permit issuance at the Cashier's Counter.


After the permit has been issued, the applicant must contact the Building Inspector indicated on the permit to schedule an Inspection. Inspectors are in the office from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are in the field for the remainder of the day. Until the Building Inspector signs off on the Occupancy Permit, a Certificate of Occupancy WILL NOT be issued.

Certificate of Occupancy Issuance

After the Building Inspector has signed off on the Occupancy Permit, the application goes through a final review within PLI before it is issued.

The Certificate of Occupancy will be mailed out to the Property Owner, unless the applicant elects to pick it up in person.