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Important Facts about Certificate of Occupancy

Many buildings are used for commercial as well as residential purposes. The owners use some of the buildings while tenants who rent or lease them, occupy others. The bottom line is, the people who use these spaces, expect the building owners and the local authorities to protect them and their property against any unforeseen hazards. The upside is, the owner or the residents of the building can request an inspection of the building to ascertain its structural soundness. After inspection, the owner of the building is issued with a certificate of occupancy to certify that the building is in good condition and can be occupied. This article will outline some important facts about the certificate of occupancy.

Many owners apply for the certificate of occupancy owing to diverse reasons. The most common reason for applying for such a certificate is after the completion of construction. Before any person resides a newly completed structure, the law requires the owner to first ascertain that the building is fit for occupation. There are local authority departments that are in charge of inspecting and certifying the condition of a building. The inspectors ascertain that the general contractors and engineers adhered to the approved plans and specifications of the structure as well as the local building code. It ascertains the contractor carried out due diligence to ensure the structure is sound for everyday habitation.

It is worth noting that before initiating any construction, the owner has to get the local department of building authorization. This is a legal requirement that aims to ensure the local authority is in the know of any upcoming building. Once the local authority has inspected the architectural drawings, building plans and is furnished with the list of contractors, it issues a go ahead through a document known as the building permit. The department of the building carries out regular inspections throughout the construction of the structure. At completion, the owner then applies for the certificate of occupancy. The local authority will come on site to ensure that no major construction activities are pending. The local authority inspectors usually examine electrical, plumbing, elevator, and architectural inspections to mention but a few.

Many homes and commercial building owners usually carry out significant renovations or extensions on existing structures. While such constructions are going on, the law also requires the owners to ascertain if such structures are suitable for inhabitation. This is because the said renovation or major repair activities can affect the stability of the structure. During such constructions, the building owners are issued with a temporal certificate of occupancy – TCO. This TCO cert is renewed after every ninety days after fresh inspection. Once the major home improvements or building renovation constructions are completed, then the owners should apply for a fresh certificate of occupancy.

Whenever a new investor buys a new commercial or residential building, they always carry out an inspection of the building. The inspections are done to ascertain that structure, plumbing, wiring, electrical works, and sewer works are still in sound condition. The condition of the house influences the sales value of the property. Similarly, it informs the investor whether or not the building is fit for occupation. In this instance, after fresh inspection, the homeowner is issued a fresh certificate of occupancy.

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