Key Project Terms: Place of Assembly Certificate of Operation (PACO) (Alterations)

The following is a list of useful terms to use when researching additional Place of Assembly Certificate of Operation information on each of the topics discussed:


The design and construction of buildings for accessibility and use by persons with physical disabilities in compliance with BC Chapter 11 and ICC/ANSI A117.1.

Adult Establishment

A commercial establishment which is or includes an adult book store, adult eating or drinking establishment, adult theater, or other adult commercial establishment, or any combination thereof and regularly features films, motion pictures, or photographic material which is sexually explicit. Other establishments may provide live entertainment where patrons are exposed to “specified anatomical areas” of the staff. Such places of assembly are not open to the general public because they restrict minors.


A clearly defined unenclosed exit access component that provides a path of egress travel.

  • Aisle Accessway. That portion of an exit access that leads to an aisle.
  • Cross Aisle. An unenclosed exit access component in a place of assembly, usually parallel to rows of seats, connecting aisles or connecting an aisle and an exit.


An alteration is the addition, change of use, or occupancy of a building or structure in existence, and always results in a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy. Work may involve an enlargement, reduction in size of the building, or a major change to the building’s egress, zoning use group, and/or building code occupancy use.


Tiered seating supported on a dedicated structural system and two or more rows high that is not a building element (see Grandstand).

Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA)

Has the power to modify the Zoning Resolution after review and public hearing. Approved BSA resolution with BSA stamped plans is required in order to proceed with DOB application review (ZR 72-00).

Building Systems Work

The installation of building systems; such systems include plumbing, boiler, sprinkler, standpipe, fire alarm, HVAC, and fire suppression systems.


Any room, place or space in which any musical entertainment, singing, dancing or other similar amusement is permitted in connection with an eating and drinking establishment.

Certificate of Occupancy

A new or amended Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is issued for a building on completion of a project involving a change in occupancy or use, or when there are other changes that impact the existing Certificate of Occupancy. For example, where an existing building is vertically enlarged by a complete story, or if the use of a building is changed from commercial to residential, a new or amended CO is required. Reference AC 28-118.3 for more information.

The following may also be issued:

  • a Partial Certificate of Occupancy, for a completed and signed off portion of a building, depending on the construction progress and safety (reference AC 28-116.20)
  • Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, for a limited duration of time, because the project is not closed due to outstanding items, such as final inspections and final surveys, per AC 28-118.16.

Code and Zoning Determinations

Determination requests are issued to the Borough Commissioner's office to resolve an objection raised by a plan examiner or a possible future objection for an application not yet filed (pre-determination). To request a determination, file a Zoning Resolution Determination Form (ZRD1 Form) (ZRD1 Instructions) or a Construction Code Determination Form (CCD1 Form) (CCD1 Instructions). Forms must be signed and sealed by a professional. Determination requests are limited to one per form and must cite all related Code or zoning sections.


Per the Zoning Resolution, a conversion is a change of use. A use is any purpose for which a building, structure, or open tract of land is designed, arranged maintained or occupied.

Elevation in Flood Zones

Elevating a building to ensure that lowest occupied floor is above the flood levels, per FIRMS, and as described in BC Appendix G and ZR Article VI, Chapter 4.

Licensed Place of Assembly

This term was replaced by ‘Place of Assembly Certificate of Operation’ in the NYC 2008 Building Code. Existing places of assembly constructed under the 1938 Code used this term to identify when the lawful use, occupancy or operation of such place was contingent upon the issuance of a license by the NYC Fire Department, the Police Department or the Department of Licenses.

Lot Line Windows

Windows of a building exterior wall that are located on the side or rear property zoning or tax lot lines. Such lot line windows require special code compliance review, dependent on the building type and building construction class, to determine the allowable window sizes, quantity, and fire protection needed.

Major Building

An existing or proposed building that is 10 or more stories, or 125 feet (38 100 mm) or more in height, or an existing or proposed building with a building footprint of 100,000 square feet (30 480 m2) or more regardless of height, or an existing or proposed building so designated by the commissioner due to unique hazards associated with the construction or demolition of the structure

Mixed Building

Per the Zoning Resolution, a mixed building is a building used partly for residential use and partly for community facility, and/or commercial use.

Mixed Use/Mixed Occupancy

Per the Building Code, a building with a mixed use contains two or more occupancy classifications. Such occupancy classifications may or may not match the zoning use groups.

New Building

A new building project is a permanent enclosed construction over a plot of land, having a roof and windows, used for any of a wide variety of activities, such as living and entertaining if residential in nature.


The purpose or activity for which a building or space is used or is designed, arranged or intended to be used.

Occupancy Classification

The use as defined in the Building Code Chapter 3, and is the purpose or activity for which a building or space is used, designed, arranged or intended to be used.

Occupant Load

The number of persons for which the means of egress of a building or portion thereof is designed.


A condition where the number of occupants exceeds what is specified on the certificate of occupancy or what is allowed in BC 1004.1. Also, the FDNY may determine that a threat exists to the safety of the occupants of any premises or part thereof by reason of the number of persons on the premises and/or the presence of persons sitting and/or standing in locations that obstruct or impede access to means of egress, including aisles, passages, corridors, stairways or exits.

Place of Assembly Certificate of Operation (PACO)

Following the approval of plans/alternate plans in accordance with BC 1028.1.3, and successful completion of DOB inspection, an initial Place of Assembly Certificate of Operation (PACO) is issued, effective for one year. Thereafter, an annual inspection by FDNY for a PACO renewal is required (FC 105.6).


A raised area within a building used for worship, the presentation of music, plays or other entertainment; the head table for special guests; the raised area for lecturers and speakers; boxing and wrestling rings; theater- in-the-round stages; and similar purposes wherein there are no overhead hanging curtains, drops, scenery or stage effects other than lighting and sound. A temporary platform is one installed for not more than 30 days.

Registered Land Surveyor

A person licensed and registered to practice the profession of land surveying under the education law of the State of New York.

Rooftop Terrace

Outdoor spaces (rooftop dining) where the occupancy must pass though interior spaces such as (stairs and corridors) are considered PA spaces when the occupancy reaches 75 persons. Special consideration should be given to the egress components, including number of exits, travel distances, egress widths, accessibility and lighting. The occupant load of rooftop terraces is considered to be 10 square feet per person of the area to be occupied.

Safe Area

An interior or exterior space that serves as a means of egress by providing a transitional area from, and that also serves as a normal means of entry to, an assembly space.

  • Collecting Safe Area. A safe area that receives occupants from the assembly space it serves, as well as from other safe areas.

Seating Section

An area of seating bounded on all sides by aisles, cross aisles, walls or partitions.

  • Folding and Telescopic Seating: Tiered seating having an overall shape and size that is capable of being reduced for purposes of moving or storing and is not a building element.
  • Smoke-Protected Assembly Seating. Seating served by means of egress that is not subject to smoke accumulation within or under a structure.
  • Multilevel assembly seating. Seating that is arranged in distinct levels where each level is comprised of either multiple rows, or a single row of box seats accessed from a separate level.

Special Amusement Building

A special amusement building is any temporary or permanent building or portion thereof that is occupied for amusement, entertainment or educational purposes and that contains a device or system that conveys passengers or provides a walkway along, around or over a course in any direction so arranged that the means of egress path is not readily apparent due to visual or audio distractions or is intentionally confounded or is not readily available because of the nature of the attraction or mode of conveyance through the building or structure.


A space within a building utilized for entertainment or presentations, which includes overhead hanging curtains, drops, scenery or stage effects other than lighting and sound.

Tax Lot

A tax lot is a tract of property on the New York City tax map, for which property taxes are assessed. Multiple buildings can be present on a single zoning lot or on a single tax lot.

Temporary Structures

This includes but is not limited to, tents, grandstands, platforms, reviewing stands, outdoor bandstands, stages and similar miscellaneous structures and equipment and the temporary use of such structures. Permits are limited to time of service or use for up to 90 days maximum.


The purpose for which a building, structure, or space is occupied or utilized, unless otherwise indicated by the text.

Use (used) shall be construed as if followed by the words “or is intended, arranged, or designed to be used.”

Use Group

This is the use as defined in the Zoning Resolution, section ZR 12-10, and is any purpose for which a building or other structure, or an open tract of land, may be designed, arranged, intended, maintained or occupied; furthermore the use is any activity, occupation, business or operation carried on, or intended to be carried on.

Zoning/Zoning Resolution (ZR)

The aim of zoning is to promote an orderly pattern of development and to separate incompatible land uses, such as industrial uses and homes, to ensure a pleasant environment. The Zoning Resolution is a legal instrument to regulate and establish limits on the use of land and building size, shape, height, and setback.

Zoning Lot

A zoning lot is a tract of land for which specific zoning regulations apply. A ‘zoning lot’ does not have to coincide with a tax lot and can consist of one tax lot or multiple tax lots. Multiple buildings can be present on a single zoning lot.

A zoning lot can be subdivided into two or more zoning lots, as long as the resulting zoning lots and buildings in them comply with all of the applicable regulations.

Key Points & Project Terms Categories

  1. Alterations

  2. Building Systems Installation & Modifications

  3. Construction Equipment

  4. Demolition COMING SOON!

  5. New Buildings COMING SOON!

  6. Renovations

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