How to Get a Building Permit in Philadelphia, PA

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In Philadelphia, you will need a building permit not only for putting up new structures, but also for renovations whether you are adding or destroying an existing building or part of it. There are two separate ways of obtaining a permit, depending on how complicated your undertaking is. There are also fees, inspections, and codes that you must be aware of. Here is how to get started whether you want to put up a brand-new building or change a system in one already standing.

  • Obtain a Web Permit for work like repairs. With this kind of permit, you do not need to submit plans, and they can be found online. Web Permits are mostly for specialized work on existing structures such as duct work, interior demolition and replacing doors and windows. You will need to submit your address, an estimated cost of work, your credit card number, an email address, and telephone number. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer and a printer for the permit document. To do this, check out the link "Web Permits" listed in Resources.

  • Apply for EZ Permit if you are working on an existing one-family dwelling. Also with this kind of permit, you do not need to submit plans, but there are parameters that your work must fall under. There are currently EZ Permits for pools, spas and decks. You will also need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer and a printer for the permit document. To do this, check out the weblink "EZ Permits" listed in Resources.

  • Check to see if your building plans meet the city's standards if your project is more complicated. You will need to confirm structural, fire protection, and mechanical standards. To make sure that you meet all these standards, check out the link "Requirement for Construction Documents" in Resources.

  • Find out what you have to pay in fees. Depending if you are putting up a new structure or doing restoration work, fees vary. Check out the "Listing of Fees" in Resources.

  • Once you have filed out the required forms and arranged payment for the fees, either submit via the web for EZ Permits and Web Permits, or mail your building plans to: Department of Licenses & Inspections, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Public Services Concourse, Philadelphia, PA 19102-1687. They will review your plan and then contact you if it is approved.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once you receive your permit, work must begin within 6 months of the issued date.
  • You absolutely cannot begin work until you have the permit.

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