Building Division
Main: (714) 536-5241
Fax: (714) 374-1647
Walk-in Hours:
Monday–Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
(Closed 12:00 N to 1:00 pm daily)

New Businesses and Certificate of Occupancy


Q: What is a Certificate of Occupancy?

A: A Certificate of Occupancy (or CofO), is a certificate issued by the Building Division, which allows occupancy or use of a building or structure or portion thereof.

Q:  Who needs a Certificate of Occupancy?

A:  All businesses operating within Huntington Beach city limits, regardless if you are planning to occupy an existing building or build new construction.

Q:  Why do I need a Certificate of Occupancy?

A:   It protects YOU the business owner. A certificate of occupancy ensures that your business type and use is compliant to occupy a specific location.

Q:  Use Our Pre Certificate of Occupancy Inspection Program (Building Code Compliance Report) to avoid unexpected costs.

A:  Applying for a Building Code Compliance Report is a proactive approach to identify and correct any possible deficiencies before a new owner or tenant is involved.  Cost for this service coincides with the Certificate of Occupancy fees (based on the type of occupancy) as shown in the Fee Schedule. This process eliminates unexpected costs for code corrections.

      We will research the approved plans and permit history for a specific address, perform   an inspection and give the applicant a detailed report on the inspection findings.  By using this process it can be determined if significant alterations have occurred without permits. Examples of common problems are:

  1. Non permitted mezzanines in manufacturing or warehouses
  2. Non permitted tenant improvement work within buildings (addition of additional office space)
  3. Expired building and/or associated permits where the work was installed
  4. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing work that requires permits and listings.
  5. Exiting out of buildings per occupancy classification.
  6. Adjacent buildings or units use and/or occupancy type.
  7. Non-permitted electrical changes to the service or sub-panels and distribution.
  8. Changes in Occupancy Classifications

The Building Code Compliance Report is specifically designed to verify if any significant changes to the building have occurred that would have a negative impact on the prospective owner or lease. The Code Compliance Report does not in any way allow, permit, design, or imply approval for the future use of a building. Prior to purchasing or leasing a building, the applicant should verify with their licensed professional and all of the city departments (Community Development, Public Works, and Fire) whether the new intended use will be compatible with the building.

Q: Steps to Acquire a Certificate of Occupancy?

Any Business



Occupying an Existing Building

Occupying New Construction or needs New Tenant Improvement

Step 1

3rd Floor,
Planning Counter

Submit an application for a Certificate of Occupancy.  Obtain Zoning Clearance.

Submit the following: 

  • Application for a Certificate of Occupancy.  Plans may be required, in order to verify square footages, layout, parking, etc. Once all land use requirements are verified and met, the Planning Department will sign the Certificate of Occupancy application.

Step 2


3rd Floor,
Building Counter

Application review, processing, and payment of fees. Schedule an inspection (if necessary). If no inspection required, certificate is printed immediately.

Be prepared to provide the square footage totals that you are occupying by type (i.e. 500 sf warehouse, 300 sf office, etc.)

*If an inspection is required, date will be scheduled, and certificate of occupancy will be mailed upon approval of all inspections.

Step 3

1st Floor,
 Business License

An applicant must apply for a current City of Huntington Beach Business License. 

*NOTE: Separate payment is required for Business License application. For more information on requirements, contact Business License at (714) 536-5267.

Q:  What is the Cost of a Certificate of Occupancy?

A: The fee for a new Certificate of Occupancy is $79.84. There is no additional cost for a Certificate of Occupancy which is part of currently permitted construction at the same location, however, if a temporary Certificate of Occupancy should be needed prior to full completion of construction, approval must be obtained from the Inspection Manager and a fee must be paid prior to the issuance of temporary Certificate of Occupancy.  


Did you know?

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