Residential Occupancy Permit

What is a Certificate of Occupancy?

A Certificate of Occupancy is required to legally use and occupy a building or structure (or portion thereof), except for existing single family dwellings. 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.

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.
  • Two family dwellings.
  • Exterior accessory equipment/structures, such as fences, decks, sheds, condensing units, and generators.
  • Other elements, such as parking pads, 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.

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

In order for the City of Pittsburgh to issue a new Certificate of Occupancy, conformance must be shown per current codes.

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

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

Apply in person at the Zoning Counter, located at 200 Ross St on the 3rd floor for an Occupancy Permit. A separate check or money order for the Zoning filing 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:

  • Completed Application Form.
  • Separate check/money order for the permit fee, due when the Occupancy Permit is issued.
  • If a Building Permit is also required, drawings prepared and sealed by a Pennsylvania licensed Architect/Engineer may be required.
  • For two-family dwellings, drawings prepared and sealed by a Pennsylvania licensed Architect/Engineer may be required.

Generally, Occupancy Permits not requiring a Building Permit are reviewed over the counter. If a Building Permit is also required, and drawings are submitted/required, these drawings will either be reviewed over the counter or logged into our Plan Review Queue.

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