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4 Facts About Certificate Of Occupancy Laws In Florida


For Florida contractors, the pending completion of a construction project is a welcome event and the end of a significant journey. Though you may have been receiving periodic payments for certain milestones, you are on track to get final payment and put another successful project in the books. However, there is one last requirement under Florida laws on building construction standards: The Certificate of Occupancy (CO). This document is required for new residential and commercial buildings, as well as some property conversions. The CO stands as proof that the structure is habitable and safe for occupation.

Obtaining the CO is straightforward for some projects, but there can be challenges with others. Not having one can impact your final payment, which is why you should consult with a Florida contractor representation lawyer about disputes. You can also read on for some basic facts about Certificates of Occupancy in Florida. 

  1. What the CO Means: The document is the government’s way of saying that the construction project has been completed to the point that the space can be used for its intended purpose. It is issued by officials at the county level based upon the location of the property. The CO serves as proof that the structure complies with all building code requirements and specifications that were submitted through the permit process. 
  1. Required Inspections: Before the zoning authority issues the CO, officials will conduct numerous inspections based upon the building code and specifics of the project. Though they vary, there are a few inspections you should be prepared for:
  • The general building inspection is conducted by a professional who will review electrical, plumbing, and basic structural elements.
  • A fire marshal will inspect the space to ensure that all elements of a fire safety system are present, including smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and other features required by law.
  • Health code inspections are also important for all structures, with very detailed requirements for restaurants, bars, hotels, and other hospitality businesses. 
  1. How to Obtain a CO: You must file a Request for Certificate of Occupancy with Palm Beach County officials, who are on a deadline to respond. They must issue the CO within 10 days for most properties or 2 days for residential buildings. If authorities do not forward the CO, they must inform you of specific deficiencies. 
  1. Having the CO Could Affect Payment to Contractors: Many contracts are conditional upon receiving the proper CO, and lenders will want the certificate as well as a Certificate of Substantial Completion. When there are delays in getting the CO, there will likely be delays in payment – affecting the general contractor, subcontractor, and lower tier suppliers.

Contact Our Palm Beach County Contractor Representation Attorney for Details

These facts about Certificates of Occupancy are helpful, but it is important to get support from an experienced construction lawyer when there are threats to your financial interests. For more information on COs, please contact the Jupiter, FL offices of Linkhorst Law Firm, P.A. You can call 561-626-8880 or visit us online to set up a consultation.



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