A certificate of occupancy is authorization issued in writing, by a local government agency, to occupy any building or part thereof. Generally, the installation of affixed furniture such as cupboards and shelving is considered a part of the construction process. However, moving of loose furniture, stock or goods, inventory, accessory equipment, or personal belongings into the premises is considered occupancy.
Occupancy approval can be issued at two stages:
1) During construction (interim occupancy); or
2) Upon completion of construction (final occupancy).
The procedure and requirements for the certificate of occupancy vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and on the type of structure. In the City of Saskatoon a certificate of occupancy is generally requested for new commercial buildings including hotels and apartment buildings.
When is an Occupancy Permit Required?
In the City of Saskatoon buildings defined as high risk are required to obtain an interim occupancy permit. In addition, an occupancy permit may be required at the discretion of the local authority, the Saskatoon Fire Department or building owner in cases where occupancy is needed prior to all building and plumbing permits being closed.
When is an Occupancy Permit Not Required?
Buildings not defined as high risk are not required to obtain an occupancy permit.
New one and two unit dwellings may access the occupancy permit programs however, closed plumbing permits and closed building permits do indicate that a one or two unit dwelling is ready for occupancy in the City of Saskatoon. (In order to determine if your permits are closed, you can access the Property Information Online Tool for residential properties).
The City of Saskatoon currently offers:
- A mandatory interim occupancy permit program for buildings applied after January 1, 2019 and defined as high risk where the scope of work includes the following:
- New buildings or additions with fire alarm system; and
- Existing buildings where the scope of the alteration includes a major redevelopment including a new or replaced fire alarm system.
A voluntary interim occupancy permit program for all other commercial buildings.
A voluntary final occupancy permit program for all commercial buildings.
Interim Occupancy Permit
An interim occupancy permit may be issued at the City’s discretion for the use of a part of a building (floor, wing or defined area) or for the entire building pending its completion. An interim occupancy permit will typically list conditions and/or outstanding defects or work yet to be completed. Where an interim occupancy permit is being sought for partial use of a building (floor, wing or defined area), it is important to note that certain construction and life safety systems must be complete for the entire structure (proposed occupied and non-occupied areas), where applicable.
How to apply: Interim Occupancy Permit Application
Final Occupancy Permit
A final occupancy permit may be issued for any building, provided that all plumbing permits and building permits for said building are closed, and all mechanical and electrical installations associated with said building have, to the best of the City of Saskatoon’s knowledge, been completed in all respects. An occupancy permit may be issued for a ‘base’ commercial building even in cases where all spaces to be occupied have yet to be developed. This occupancy permit signifies that the core building life safety systems have been established. However, these units are required to obtain approved building permits to develop the spaces prior to occupancy.
How to apply: Final Occupancy Application
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a High Risk Building?
For the purposes of interim occupancy, high risk buildings means a building equipped with a fire alarm system. This includes a building required by the National Building Code (NBC) to be equipped with a fire alarm system or a building that is voluntarily providing a fire alarm system. This does not include ground orientated dwelling units, including alternative family care homes (AFCH), with a fire alarm system.
Who can apply for an occupancy permit?
An application for an Occupancy Permit can be made by the building owner, or authorized agent. This can be the property manager, the intended occupant/tenant, the general contractor, or a designer (architect, engineer, or interior designer).
Which bylaw does this come from?
Building Bylaw No. 9455
How do I apply?
Applicants can submit either the completed Interim Occupancy Permit Application or Final Occupancy Application Interim Occupancy Application, along with the required documentation and fee to building standards (to an email? in person - should specify).
What happens if you occupy Without an Occupancy Permit?
Occupancy prior to construction completion (closure of all plumbing and building permits) or certificate of occupancy issuance will be subject to enforcement from immediate remedy of deficiencies to immediate non-occupancy of the building.
Occupancy Permit Fees
In addition to the above non-refundable application, Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) Occupancy Inspection and Fee of $90 per hour may be required for Interim Occupancy approval and billed directly to the applicant for time associated with the fire inspection, research and report writing.