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Licenses and Inspections: Building Permits

Building permits are required before beginning projects to enlarge, repair, change, add to or demolish a structure, and to install equipment or systems in a structure. This includes:

  • New construction
  • Alterations and Additions to existing structures.
  • Changes in the occupancy classification.
  • Installation or modification of fire suppression or mechanical systems

Section A-301.2.1 of the Philadelphia Administrative Code lists activities exempt from building permit requirements.

 Additional Contractor Requirements

Building Permit Application

Please review the "Top Ten Building Permit Application Deficiencies" list before submitting your building permit application.

Processing Time


  • One and Two Family Dwellings - 15 Business Days
  • All Other Properties - 20 Business Days

Some permits are issued the same day. For a complete list, see the Building Permit Submission Standards below.


Filing Fees

When plans are submitted as part of a Building Permit application, a filing fee must be submitted with the application. This non-refundable filing fee will be credited toward the final permit fee.

  • One and Two Family Dwellings - $25.00
  • All Other Properties - $100.00

Accelerated Plan Review
The acceleration of an application reduces the review time from 15 business days for 1 and 2 family dwellings or 20 business days for all other application types to 5 business days. The fee for this service is added to the standard permit fee and is due upon application submission. This fee is not credited toward the final permit fee.

Accelerated Plan Review Fee - $540.00

The Office of Licenses and Inspections does not accept credit card payments for permits. Please make all checks and money orders payable to “City of Philadelphia.”


Building Permit Fees

Please review the "Summary of Building Permit fees" list before submitting your building permit application.

A complete list of permit fees is in Chapter 9, “Fees,” of the Administrative Code. Except the Accelerated Plan Review Fee, the filing fees listed above are credited toward the final permit fee.

In addition to these fees, the following charges apply to all permits:

  • Uniform Construction Code (UCC) Surcharges - A state fee is required to be added to each Building Permit fee. The total fee assessed for the permit is collected by the City and transmitted to the State Treasury as required by Pennsylvania Act 157 of 2006.

    State fee - $4
    City fee - $3
  • Record Retention Fee – a record retention fee will be added to all building plans and related reports in order to meet the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code requirement for perpetual plan retention. 

    Record retention imaging fee - $4 per page larger than 8.5" X 14".

The Office of Licenses and Inspections does not accept credit card payments for permits. Please make all checks and money orders payable to “City of Philadelphia.”


Building Permit Submission Standards

Some permits may be obtained without the submission of plans. Submit a completed permit application in-person to the Licenses and Inspections office in the Public Service Concourse at the Municipal Services Building or at your local District Office.

Learn more about Fast Permits.

All other work requires submission of plans and applications must be submitted in-person to the Licenses and Inspections office in the Public Service Concourse at the Municipal Services Building (1401 JFK Blvd). Specific requirements vary with each application type.

Specific Building Permit Application Requirements

Specific requirements vary with application type. The most common application types are as follows:


Contractor Requirements
All work must be performed by a licensed Philadelphia Contractor with the following exceptions:

  1. Work may be performed by an owner residing on the premises of an existing one or two family dwelling.
  2. Work may be performed on an existing one or two family dwelling by a registered PA Home Improvement Contractor (link to Pa HIC) maintaining a Philadelphia Commercial Activity License.

Appeals

Before you can file an appeal, you will need a formal code decision from the Department of Licenses and Inspections. This decision comes in the form of a Notice of Refusal document. For complete details about how to file an appeal, see Permit Appeals.

Visit the Appeals Calendar for a full listing of Appeal Hearings.

Contact

Department of Licenses and Inspections
1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Concourse Level
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Phone: 311 or 215-686-8686 (outside of the City of Philadelphia)
Email