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Certificates of Occupancy


There is no charge for a certificate of occupancy (C.O.) associated with a building permit for new construction.

It is illegal to occupy or use a structure that requires a C.O., before a CO has been issued.


Certificates of Occupancy are required by the USBC, which states:


SECTION 119.0.


119.1. General. A certificate of occupancy indicating

completion of the work for which a permit was issued, in

accordance with this code and any pertinent laws and

ordinances, shall be obtained prior to any occupancy of a

structure except as provided for in this section. Final

inspection approval or approvals may serve as the

certificate of occupancy for any addition or alteration to

a structure for which a certificate of occupancy has

already been issued.

119.2. Temporary occupancy. Upon the request of the

permit holder, a temporary certificate of occupancy may

be issued before the completion of the entire work

covered by the permit provided that such portion or

portions may be occupied safely prior to full completion

of the structure without endangering life or public


[Note inserted:  Northampton County charges a service fee for 30 day temporary certificates of occupancy.  Fees are double each time a 30 day temporary certificate of occupancy is renewed.  Unpaid fees may be added to the real estate tax bill.]


119.3. Existing structures continued use. Upon written

request from the owner or his agent, or as otherwise

determined necessary by the building official, following

an inspection and provided there are no violations of Part

III (13 VAC 5-62-420 et seq.) of this chapter and the

Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (13 VAC 5-51)

and the structure's use has not changed, such structure

shall not be prevented from continued use and the

building official shall issue a certificate of occupancy as

provided for in the USBC.

[Note inserted:  Northampton County charges a service fee for certificates of occupancy for existing structures that are not associated with a building permit.]


119.4. Contents of certificate. Upon completion and

approval of the final inspection or when a structure is

entitled thereto, the building official shall issue the

certificate of occupancy within five working days after

receiving a request for its issuance.

The certificate of occupancy shall specify the following:

1. The edition of the USBC under which the

permit is issued.

2. The group classification and occupancy in

accordance with the provisions of Chapter 3.

3. The type of construction as defined in Chapter


4. If an automatic sprinkler system is provided and

whether or not such system was required.

5. Any special stipulations and conditions of the

building permit.


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