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Open for Business with a FINAL Certificate of Occupancy

Would it surprise you to know that many of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, have not been issued a final certificate of occupancy? To obtain a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy, an Alteration 1 or New Building application must be filed, approved, permitted, and signed off. Arguably one of the biggest hurdles to obtaining a Final Certificate of Occupancy has always been existing open alteration applications and permits, that may be about to change.

For a building with a lengthy alteration history, there may be a significant number of applications that have not been inspected and signed off. When construction has been completed, the prudent measure is always to have the work completed and the application closed out and signed off, unfortunately that does not always happen. Building owners and property manager may inherit open applications that can no longer be inspected because the work was later altered from the filed plans or has otherwise become impossible to inspect due to additional construction. This creates a situation where it may become difficult if not impossible to sign off older applications and therefore the process of obtaining the Final Certificate of Occupancy lingers indefinitely.

With the Issuance of Buildings Bulletin 2018-09 design applicants can now request a Final Certificate of Occupancy under the Open Application Initiative even if all applications have not been signed off. This may be beneficial for both new buildings and existing. For a New Building the applicant can request a final certificate of occupancy even if tenant fit outs are ongoing under the new initiative. Applicants should be aware that the Buildings Bulletin does stress that each application will be reviewed on a case by case basis. The Open Application Initiative is not intended to be a panacea for all Certificate of Occupancy ills, but many buildings may soon be benefiting from the program and the relief it may provide.