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Foundation Only Building Permit

Requirements for a Foundation Only Building Permit

A separate Foundation Permit is not required. However the builder may elect to obtain a separate permit.

See Building Permits for complete building permit information, including processing time and fees.

Building Permit Application


The following information must be submitted with all permit applications. Permit applications will not be accepted without these documents.

  • Tax Clearance Form from the Revenue Department for the Contractor – These forms may be obtained on line at www.phila.gov/Revenue. Please select “Tax Clearance” on the left side of the web page and select “Permits/Licenses” from the drop-down box and enter your name and SSN or EIN. Once printed, the form is valid for thirty (30) days.
  • A current, valid Certificate of Insurance for the Contractor – The Certificate of Insurance must indicate current coverage for comprehensive general liability, workers compensation and automobile liability. The comprehensive general liability (including products and completed operations) must evidence a minimum limit of liability of $500,000 per occurrence. The Certificate of Insurance must describe the type of operations/work the contractor has coverage for, which must be consistent with the Contractor’s permit application. The certificate must also include a contact name and phone number of the contractor’s insurance broker or agent. The City of Philadelphia must be named Certificate Holder and Additional Insured under the contractor’s comprehensive general liability insurance policy.

Note: It is not acceptable for the additional insured requirement to be conditional upon there being a written contract.

  • Prerequisite Approvals: Before obtaining a building permit, your project may need to receive approvals from various city departments if your project meets the listed condition.
    • Zoning/Use Registration Permit for any change in use of the property or any changes in the gross floor area or height of the building. Use Registration Permit Application Contact Licenses and Inspections Zoning Unit (Concourse – 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd., 215.686.2567)
    • As per PA Act 537 and Clean Streams Act:
      • New construction, including Foundations Only Permits.
      • Additions on parcels greater than 15,000 sq. ft. and those of 5,000 sq. ft. or more in Use and Occupancy designations: R-2, R-3, A, B, M and E Use Groups.
      • Clearing and grubbing on parcels greater than 15,000 sq. ft.

      Contact the Philadelphia Water Department (2nd Floor – 1101 Market St., 215.685.6353) Find out more information from this PWD Erosion & Sedimentation Information Sheet.

  • Three copies of Soils Investigation Report prepared and sealed by a professional engineer licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Soils investigation report is not required for additions of less than 2,000 square feet.
    • Structural Design Criteria Form identifying design loads for structural alterations. Structural Design Criteria Form
    • Special Inspections Form identifying third party inspections required as per Chapter 17 of the Philadelphia Building Code and a list of inspectors. See the Special Inspections Program page for more details.

Three sets of foundation plans

  • Plans must be signed/sealed by a PA registered design professional when cost of work exceeds $25,000. Structural plans must be signed/sealed by a professional engineer licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Plans must be of professional quality and drawn to scale (e.g. 1/4″ = 1′-0″).
  • The minimum sheet size is 18” x 24”.

Payment Information

RETURNED CHECKS: If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds, (1) you authorize The City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect a fee of $20; and (2) The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.