Commercial Occupancy Only Permits

A commercial occupancy only permit is required for the following work on a commercial building or structure:

  • To certify a new use and/or occupancy for an exiting building or structure.
  • Approve temporary use and/or occupancy of an existing building or structure.

Please see Permit Home for definition of commercial structures.

Over the counter applications will require an Occupancy Only Application.

Work Types:

  • New Use: applies to a use and/or occupancy that has not previously been approved as evidenced by a Certificate of Occupancy.
  • Modification of Existing Certificate: applies to applications that are limited to modifications that do not change the use and/or occupancy of the structure, such as Lessee information.
  • Temporary Use: applies to uses that are temporary in nature (180 days or less).
    • Temporary Use applications are not a means of getting out of code requirements or required inspections.Temporary Use applications are reviewed and inspected to the same standards as a permanent use.


Partial Occupancy

Partial occupancy applications are temporary uses associated with use or occupy a portion of a new building under construction, or existing buildings undergoing renovations, prior to completion of all work under the associated construction permits. 

These applications are reviewed and inspected independently from the associated construction permits.  Occupancy will only be granted to portions of a building or structure where all associated work is complete and code compliance is demonstrated.


Permit Process

See these webpages for additional information regarding the permitting process:

  • Permit Process
  • Application Submission
    • All commercial occupancy applications require submission of drawings prepared and sealed by a PA licensed architect or engineer.
    • The drawings shall document:
      • What portions of the building or structure are being requested to be occupied.
      • How the building or structure complies with current code for the proposed use.
    • Partial Occupancy Applications shall further document:
      • The status of construction for all building systems and associated permits including what work is not yet complete.
      • How the building or structure and occupancy comply with current code requirements in the unfinished state.
  • Application Review
    • PLI is legally obligate to only approve applications that demonstrate compliance with current code requirements for the proposed use.
    • Applications that fail to demonstrate code compliance for the proposed use will not be approved – this includes Temporary Use applications for Partial Occupancy.
  • Permit Issuance
  • Permit Inspections
    • Please note, like all other PLI permits, Occupancy Only permits require inspections.
  • Permit Completion
    • Please note that occupancy is not legal until a Certificate of Occupancy has been signed and issued by PLI’s Building Code Official.
    • No other forms of communication, verbal or written, will be deemed as granting permission to occupy.

Please see Other Agency Coordination for processes related to other agencies that may relate to your permit scope.  For commercial occupancy only permits:

  • Zoning Development Review
    • A ZDR application submission is required for New Use and Modification of Existing Certificate work types.
    • A Zoning review will be performed on applications with Temporary Use work types.
  • PA Department of Health (DOH)
    • DOH approval is required for all structures regulated by the PA Health Care Facilities Act prior to PLI granting occupancy.
  • Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI)
    • All public right of way improvements associated with Partial Occupancy applications shall be complete in order for occupancy to be granted.