Project Closeout Process in Austin: Part 1 CO vs. TCO

January 26, 2015 by Bailey Harrington

Congratulations!  You have made it through the rigorous City of Austin permitting process, conquered the challenges of construction, and now are ready to close out your project and begin utilizing your investment.  The closeout process, however, is not an immediate action and this series of blog posts will help layout the major points involved in getting a Certificate of Occupancy for a project.

Part 1: CO vs TCO

There are two forms of occupancy in the city Austin when a project closes out: a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO).  It is important for an owner and the team to know what kind of occupancy they will be applying for in order to plan the closeout accordingly.

A TCO  is generally separated into a Stocking TCO and an Occupancy TCO.  The former allows for the stocking of temporary items (such as furniture and movable appliances); the latter allows for the use of the facility in its designed intention.  Either form of TCO requires a monthly fee determined by the COA fees and the type of facility.

A CO is a complete acceptance of a project by the City of Austin, does not require a fee, and officially closes the project out for the city.  We will go into further detail in the paperwork required for both processes in Parts 3 and 4 of this series

A project can also be phased allowing for CO’s pertaining to each phase. This costs roughly $700 per phase and can be very useful on larger sized projects to include single family projects in  order to turn over houses on an individual basis, large multi-family projects with several building turns, and large commercial and/or industrial projects containing separate office buildings.

Lamar Union is a perfect example of a phased multi-family project.  The building on the left is open in use with a CO while the other buildings are still under construction in separate phases.
Lamar Union is a perfect example of a phased multi-family project. The building on the left is open in use with a CO while the other buildings are still under construction in separate phases.

On smaller projects and single building projects it makes more sense to pay for a TCO fee as it is difficult and cost prohibitive to pay to phase the project out.  In order to accomplish this the project must have all water and wastewater items complete and the accessible route must be installed.  Additionally, the project must meet minimum life-health-safety requirements in order to open.

Check back for more posts on the closeout process.

Written by Bailey Harrington

Bailey Harrington

Bailey Harrington is our Hospitality Services Market Director and is a BIG RED DOG shareholder. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas with more than five years of engineering leadership experience as a project manager leading engineering projects in the United States and Afghanistan.