OCCUPANCY ONLY PERMIT

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 the definition of commercial structures and work types. Please see work not requiring a permit for work that can be performed without a PLI permit. Please visit our Contacts page for the Construction Inspector's contact information.

Permanent Use Work Scopes:

Permanent use work scopes are applicable to uses with a duration that exceeds 180 days. The applicant shall identify one of the following work scopes: 

  • New Use: proposed change in the use and/or occupancy of a building and/or tenant space. Includes buildings and/or tenant spaces without a valid certificate of occupancy.
  • Modify Existing CO - Change of Lessee: proposed modification to an existing certificate of occupancy to change the lessee. The applicant shall provide a copy of the referenced certificate of occupancy and describe the intended use of the building and/or tenant space.
  • Modify Existing CO - Correction: proposed modification to an existing certificate of occupancy to correct inaccurate and/or incorrect information. The applicant shall provide a copy of the referenced certificate of occupancy and describe the intended use of the building and/or tenant space.
  • Private Property Exterior Seating: proposed seating located on private property (not within the public right of way) accessory to a building or tenant space with a valid certificate of occupancy.
  • Permanent – Right of Way Seating: proposed seating in the right of way accessory to a building or tenant space with a valid certificate of occupancy.

Temporary Use Work Scopes:

Temporary use work scopes are applicable to uses with a duration that is 180 days or less. The applicant shall identify one of the following work scopes: 

  • Partial/Phased Occupancy: proposed occupancy of a building and/or tenant space prior to completion of construction. 
  • Temporary Interior Event: proposed occupancy of a building and/or tenant space for a temporary event. 
  • Temporary Private Property Structure: proposed installation of an occupiable structure located on private property (not within the public right of way).
  • Temporary Private Property Exterior Seating: proposed seating located on private property (not within the public right of way) accessory to a building or tenant space with a valid certificate of occupancy.
  • Temporary Right of Way Seating: proposed seating in the right of way accessory to a building or tenant space with a valid certificate of occupancy.
  • Temporary Right of Way Structure: proposed installation of an occupiable structure located on private property (not within the public right of way).

Permit Process

See these web pages for additional information regarding the permitting process:

  • Permit Process
  • Application Submission
    • New Use and Partial/Phased Occupancy work scopes require submission of drawings prepared and sealed by a PA-licensed architect or engineer.
    • Temporary and/or permanent seating work scopes require documentation of the dimensions of proposed tables and a site plan identifying table locations.
    • Temporary structures shall include the manufacturer's installation instructions and/or a report from a PA-licensed architect or engineer documenting attachment and/or ballasting requirements.
  • Application Review
    • PLI is legally obligated 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 Code Regulations:
    • A Zoning Development Review application (ZDR) is required for:
      • Permanent use work scopes: New Use, Modify Existing CO - Change of Lessee, Modify Existing CO - Correction, and Private Property Exterior Seating.
      • May be required after DCP review of the following temporary use work scopes: Partial/Phased Occupancy, Temporary Interior Event, Temporary Private Property Structure, and Temporary Private Property Exterior Seating.
    • Development of a property in a regulated floodplain requires a PLI Floodplain permit.
  • 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.
    • DOMI approval is required for permanent and/or temporary seating and/or structures within the public right of way.