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Department of Buildings

In observance of the Emancipation Day holiday, DOB will be closed on Tuesday, April 16, 2024; no construction will be allowed on this day without an after-hours permit. You may report illegal construction by submitting an Illegal Construction Inspection Request Form during normal business hours or by calling 311.

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Certifi FAQs

What is Certifi?

Certifi serves as DOB's comprehensive platform for you to apply for, track, and receive your approved Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). Our new platform allows users to see at a glance how different DOB reviews require certain documents, clarifies and simplifies the application process by allowing users to move through a step-by-step path based on their project’s needs, and increases transparency and efficiency of the review process for applicants and DOB reviewers.


How can I use Certifi?

You may log in to Certifi using your single sign on Access DC account on Certifi’s home page. Once you have logged in, you may begin new applications for a C of O. Once users have in-progress applications on Certifi, they can view application status, contact DOB for questions, and make payment online. For more specific information, DOB has created substantive user guides.


What is a certificate of occupancy (C of O) and when is it required?
The purpose of a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is to ensure that the use of a building, structure or land in the District of Columbia conforms to the Zoning Regulations (DCMR Title 11) and the DC Construction Code (DCMR Title 12A), and the Green Building Act. Per DCMR title 12A Section 110.3 no person can use a building, structure or land in the District of Columbia for any purpose other than a single family dwelling, until a valid C of O has been issued.


What are the types of C of O applications?
There are six (6) types of C of O applications: ownership change, use change, occupant load change, revision, temporary occupancy, and new construction/establishment of a new occupancy (also for major renovations). For new buildings, there are three (3) C of O subsets: conditional, completion of core and shell, and permanent. Certifi will guide you through each of these application types.


What is the review time frame for a C of O application?

For change of ownership applications where the only change is the owner/operator, and there is no change to the approved use, load, or occupied square footage, and where an inspection is not required, the service level agreement (SLA) time frame for DOB review is one (1) business day.  For all other types of applications, e.g., use or load change, temporary or conditional, new construction and core and shell, the SLA is seven (7) business days from the date that the application is accepted for review.  Please note that if a particular division or agency has questions or requests additional information, the SLA clock will stop until the customer has responded.  An SLA clock is a feature in Certifi that will show the status of the overall review for each C of O application.


Where can I learn more about the Certificate of Occupancy process?


Can I reschedule my inspection in Certifi?

Yes. In your C of O application, under the "Inspections" tab, you may reschedule your inspection.


Can I reschedule an inspection if the prior inspection failed?

Yes; in your C of O application under the "Inspections" tab, you will find the inspection's results; if the inspection failed, you may reschedule an inspection.


What inspections reports need to be submitted before I can submit my application?

All permits related to your project will need to be inspected and completed with an approved final inspection, including building permits, revision permits, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical permits. During your application, Certifi will verify that your permits have the final inspections.


Must I submit my special inspections report(s)?

For the C of O application to be approved and issued, the special inspection must be completed, with the Final Report of Special Inspections submitted by the Special Inspection Agency and approved by DOB via our Tertius platform. You do not need to submit the reports with your C of O application.


What if the address for my C of O application is different from the building permit's?

If the addresses are different, upload the building permits and supporting documentation under the "Miscellaneous" section for document upload prior to submitting your application.


Are user guides being developed for more in-depth information?

Yes, we are finetuning our user guides and they will be posted to the Certifi website when complete.