‘I only want to know what I need for TCO’: Elevator Division Signoffs

By Austin Regan, R.A.


It’s been a month since the last installment of this series. Every month brings changes at the Department of Buildings (DOB), but the following has not changed. Per last month’s article, you still need signoffs from these four DOB divisions when securing a Final Certificate of Occupancy (CO):

  • Construction Division
  • Plumbing Division
  • Elevator Division
  • Electrical Division

For Temporary Certificates of Occupancy (TCOs), temporary signoffs must be obtained from the first three divisions, at a minimum. Electrical Division signoff is still only required for Final CO. Last month, we talked about requirements for a Construction Division signoff. This month we will cover probably the simplest of temporary signoffs to understand: Elevator Division.

Elevator Division Signoff

For a normal residential or commercial building with one or two sets of elevator banks, the Elevator Division will usually grant a 90-day Temporary Elevator Signoff if one passenger elevator has received its final signoff. (That elevator must service all floors of the building.) In buildings with exceptionally large floor plates and multiple banks of elevators, more than one elevator per bank may be required.

Inspection Tips

As you can see from the length of the previous paragraph, temporary CO elevator signoffs don’t really have any variables. If you obtained your final certificate for one passenger elevator, you can request a temporary signoff. If not, don’t bother. The trickier aspect of the elevator portion of the TCO process is timing the completion of elevator installation with your timeline for initial TCO. Because of the long lead time for ordering and installing elevators, contracts and specifications must be finalized early to ensure availability of the equipment at the target installation time. Obviously, construction also needs to reach a certain level of completeness before you can even ponder installing elevators.

Assuming that the elevator installation was timed correctly, another important variable is obtaining the actual Elevator Division inspection for final certificate. Elevator applications must be filed through the DOB NOW system. Elevator inspection requests must also be filed through DOB NOW, and some elevator companies are experiencing great difficulties in getting DOB to respond to their inspection requests. Consequently, we’re seeing inspection date delays.

Most new buildings will have to apply for multiple temporary COs before they can even consider submitting for a Final CO. So keep in mind that Elevator Division CO signoffs are specifically issued only for 90 days. It takes at least 10 business days from time of submission request for DOB to issue an initial elevator temporary signoff. Renewals of the Elevator Division CO request take the same amount of time. The maximum length of a TCO is 90 days. Taking a proactive approach and submitting the request early can backfire, as many of the commissioners in the outer boroughs will tie a TCO expiration to the expiration date of the elevator signoff.

In theory, temporary Elevator Division CO signoffs should never hold up your TCO, as long as proper planning allows completion of installation and final inspections in a timely matter. In an elevator building, you can never ask for anything more than a first-floor TCO without the elevator signoff. That’s why it’s so important to strategize the timing of the Elevator Division temporary CO signoff to achieve the maximum 90-day duration of the TCO.

Next month, we’ll look at Plumbing Division requirements.