Obtaining a 'Certificate of Occupancy'

A Certificate of Occupancy, or “C.O.”, is essentially a license to occupy a building, or a specified space within a building, under a specific set of assumptions and/or conditions set forth in the building code. It identifies the space as one of eleven pre-defined “occupancy classifications”, together with their sub-classifications, and as one of five construction types. It may also include other conditions of occupancy, such as maximum occupant loads, expiration dates, and so forth. It must be posted where accessible and visible to the public, and remains the property of the City of the Lubbock. It is revocable for cause, which renders the building illegal to occupy. A buildings’ first C.O. is issued to the original building contractor upon completion of the building and subsequent approval of all required regulatory inspections. It runs with the building and remains valid, regardless of change in ownership or tenancy, as long as the building is maintained in compliance with the codes under which it was constructed, its occupancy classification does not change, and substantial remodeling, additions, or alterations do not occur.

As stated above, you may not need to obtain a new C.O. upon taking over an existing building or tenant space, as long as a change in occupancy classification or a remodel project does not trigger the need for a new one. This is true even if the building ownership or tenant information changes from that shown on the certificate; however, you may obtain a new one with updated information, if you desire, by obtaining an investigative permit, paying appropriate fees, and having appropriate inspections.

If you propose a change in occupancy classification, or do not know whether you will be doing so by virtue of your occupancy of the building or space, you should consult with a Plan Examiner. This can be arranged by calling (806) 775-2087.

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