Home Construction

How to Obtain an Occupancy Permit in the Philippines

Chiam Canda

April 20, 2024

2min read

Key Highlights

  • An occupancy permit, also known as a certificate of occupancy, is required before using a structure in the Philippines
  • It confirms that the building complies with the national building code and regulations
  • The process for obtaining an occupancy permit involves inspections, clearances, and the submission of necessary documents
  • The permit is necessary to ensure the safety and suitability of the building for occupation


Moving into a new property is exciting, but getting an occupancy permit in the Philippines is crucial. This legal requirement certifies that the building complies with regulations and is safe for residential or commercial use. Understanding the process is essential for property owners and tenants, ensuring safety, compliance, and peace of mind. This guide explains the necessary documents, application steps, and common challenges in obtaining an occupancy permit.

Understanding Occupancy Permits

An occupancy permit, also called a certificate of occupancy, is a legal document that allows building use. In the Philippines, it's governed by the National Building Code. This confirms compliance with safety standards and inspections, ensuring suitability for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes.

screenshot of building management office davao

The Office of the Building Official issues the permit in the respective city or municipality. It's crucial for meeting safety requirements and regulations, and without it, occupying a building is illegal.

The certificate applies to new construction as well as renovated or changed buildings. Obtaining one involves submitting documents, property inspections, and fee payments. Understanding its importance ensures compliance with building codes and regulations.

Building Permit vs Occupancy Permits

While an occupancy permit and a building permit are required for construction projects, the two have distinct differences. A building permit is obtained before construction begins, allowing the property owner to start the building process. It ensures the proposed construction complies with the building code, zoning laws, and other regulations. On the other hand, an occupancy permit is obtained after the construction is complete and certifies that the building is safe and suitable for occupancy.

Preparing for Your Application

Gathering all the necessary documents and ensuring that your property complies with the building regulations is crucial before applying for an occupancy permit. The following steps provide a general overview of what you need to do before submitting your application.

Essential Documents and Requirements

Here is a checklist of the usual requirements for an occupancy permit application:

Approved Plans

Provide the approved plans and specifications for the building, signed and sealed by an architect or engineer.

As-Built Plans and Specifications

Submit the as-built plans and specifications, which should reflect any changes made during construction. The architect or engineer should also sign and seal these plans.

Photocopies of Permits

Include photocopies of the building, electrical, sanitary/plumbing, and mechanical permits.

Duly Accomplished Certificate of Completion

Fill out the certificate of completion form and have it signed and sealed by the architect, engineer, contractor, and owner involved in the construction project.

Construction Logbook

Prepare a construction logbook to record progress and activities during construction. The architect and civil engineer should sign and seal the logbook.

Assessing Your Property's Compliance

Ensuring that your property complies with the building regulations is crucial in the occupancy permit application process. Compliance assessment involves various inspections and evaluations to verify that the building meets safety standards. The following are some key aspects that are assessed during the compliance assessment:

Fire Safety Inspection

Fire safety is a critical component of building compliance. Fire safety inspections assess the presence and functionality of fire prevention and suppression systems, emergency exits, and other fire safety measures.

Structural Integrity 

A civil engineer evaluates a building's structural integrity to ensure its stability and resistance to various forces, such as earthquakes and strong winds. This assessment includes examining the building's foundation, framing, and load-bearing elements.

Safety Inspection Certificate

After the compliance assessment is completed, a safety inspection certificate is issued. This certificate confirms that the building has passed the necessary inspections and complies with the building code and regulations. It is an essential requirement for the issuance of an occupancy permit.

Conducting a thorough assessment of your property's compliance can help you address any potential issues or deficiencies before submitting your occupancy permit application.

Steps to Applying for an Occupancy Permit

This beginner's guide provides an overview of the steps in applying for an occupancy permit and offers tips for a smoother experience.

infographics on occupancy permit

Step 1: Submitting Your Application

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents and ensured compliance with the building regulations, you can apply for an occupancy permit. The application process typically starts at your city or municipality's Office of the Building Official. Follow these steps to submit your application successfully:

  • Complete the application form: Fill out the application form provided by the Office of the Building Official. Include accurate and up-to-date information about the property and the construction project.
  • Prepare the necessary documents: Gather all the required documents, including the approved plans, as-built plans, photocopies of permits, certificate of completion, and construction logbook.
  • Visit the Office of the Building Official: Bring the completed application form and all the necessary documents to the Office of the Building Official. Submit them to the designated personnel responsible for processing occupancy permit applications.
  • Pay the application fees: You must pay the required fees for processing your application. The amount may vary depending on the local building regulations and the nature of your construction project.
  • Obtain the approved permit: Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will receive the occupancy permit. This permit allows you to occupy and use the building for its intended purpose legally.

To ensure a smooth and successful application, it is important to follow the specific instructions provided by the Office of the Building Official during the application process.

Step 2: Property Inspection and Assessment

After submitting your application, the next step in the occupancy permit process is the property inspection and assessment. This step involves the evaluation of the building's compliance with the building code and regulations. Here is an overview of what to expect during the property inspection:

  • Building Inspection: A building inspection is conducted to assess the overall condition and compliance of the building. It thoroughly examines the structural integrity, electrical systems, plumbing, and other essential aspects. Professionals, such as civil and electrical engineers, typically conduct the inspection.
  • Compliance Assessment: During the inspection, the building is evaluated against the requirements set by the national building code and local building regulations. This assessment ensures that the building meets the necessary safety standards and is suitable for occupancy.

The property inspection and assessment process may involve multiple visits and inspections to ensure a comprehensive evaluation. The inspectors will provide feedback and recommendations based on their findings. It is important to address any issues or deficiencies identified during the inspection to ensure compliance and the successful issuance of the occupancy permit.

Step 3: Paying the Required Fees

Once your property has passed the necessary inspections and assessments, paying the required fees is the next step in the occupancy permit process. These fees cover the cost of processing and issuing the occupancy permit. Here is a general overview of the fee payment process:

  • Receive the fee assessment: The Office of the Building Official will provide you with the assessment of the required fees. This assessment will include details of the fees and the payment instructions.
  • Pay the fees: Visit the designated payment center or follow the provided payment instructions to settle the required fees. Make sure to keep a copy of the payment receipt for your records.
  • Declaration of compliance: In some cases, you may be required to submit a compliance statement with the building code and regulations. This declaration confirms that you have complied with all the necessary requirements and standards.

Once you have paid the required fees and submitted the declaration of compliance, your application will proceed to the final processing stage for the issuance of the occupancy permit. It is essential to pay the fees promptly and accurately to avoid delays in the processing of your application.

Step 4: Receiving Your Occupancy Permit

You will finally receive your occupancy permit after completing all the necessary steps and requirements. This permit, also known as a certificate of occupancy, allows you to occupy and use the building for its intended purpose legally. Here is an overview of what to expect during the final stage of the process:

  • Issuance of the occupancy permit: Once your application has been reviewed and processed, the building official will issue the occupancy permit. This permit proves that your building has met all the requirements and is suitable for occupancy.
  • Occupancy certificate: You will also receive an occupancy certificate upon receiving the occupancy permit. This certificate is an official document stating that the building has undergone the necessary inspections and assessments and has been deemed safe and suitable for occupation.

It is essential to keep your occupancy permit and occupancy certificate in a safe and accessible place. These documents may be required for various purposes, such as insurance claims or future renovations. Congratulations! You can now officially occupy and enjoy your newly constructed or renovated property.

Maintaining Compliance Post-Issuance

a happy family of four

Obtaining an occupancy permit is not the end of your responsibilities as a property owner. Maintaining compliance with the building regulations is crucial even after the license has been issued. This ensures the safety and suitability of the building for continued occupancy. Here are some critical considerations for maintaining compliance post-issuance:

Regular Inspections and Updates

Regular inspections and maintenance are essential for ensuring ongoing compliance with the building regulations. Schedule periodic inspections to identify and address any issues or deficiencies that may arise over time. This includes maintaining fire safety systems, electrical systems, plumbing, and structural integrity. Keep records of all inspections and repairs as required by the Office of the Building Official.

Additionally, stay updated with any changes in the building code or regulations. This will help you proactively address any new requirements or standards. By prioritizing regular inspections and maintenance, you can ensure the safety and longevity of your building while remaining compliant with the building regulations.

Renewal Process for Occupancy Permits

Occupancy permits have an expiration date, and it is essential to renew them promptly to maintain legal compliance. The renewal process typically involves submitting updated documentation and paying the required fees. Here are some key steps for renewing an occupancy permit:

  • Check the expiration date: Monitor the expiration date of your occupancy permit to ensure that you start the renewal process before it expires. Failure to renew on time may result in penalties or legal consequences.
  • Update the necessary documents: Gather updated documentation, such as the as-built plans, permits, and certificates of completion, to reflect any changes or improvements made to the building since the initial occupancy permit was issued.
  • Submit the renewal application: Visit the Office of the Building Official and submit the renewal application form and updated documents. Pay the required renewal fees as instructed.
  • Obtain the renewed occupancy permit: Once your renewal application has been processed, you will receive the renewed occupancy permit. This permit extends the validity of your occupancy permit, allowing you to continue occupying and using the building within the specified regulations.

Staying on top of the renewal process is essential to avoid disruptions in your building's legal use.


Understanding the nuances between building and occupancy permits is crucial if you're navigating the world of occupancy permits. At Pencil Studio, we ensure compliance, gather necessary documents, and diligently follow the application steps to set you on the right path to receiving your occupancy permit hassle-free. 

Remember, maintaining compliance post-issuance is just as important; regular inspections and timely renewals will keep you in good standing. If you have any questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to get in touch—we're here to guide you every step of the way. Happy permitting!

About the author

Chiam Canda

Project Manager, I make sure that projects are completed on time and on budget.

Let’s build your dream home now, shall we?

We guarantee you that we won’t rest until your dream home has come to life.