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PERMITTING FAQ'S

Permitting

What is the process to acquire a permit?

  • The process for permits varies dependent upon the type of permit requested. All building and change in use permits start in the Zoning office located across the hall from PLI on the 3rd floor of 200 Ross Street. Please visit their website to learn more about the zoning process.
  • Once Zoning approves the application, the applicant brings all paperwork to the permit counter. Dependent on the scope of work, the permit may require drawings. Please see our Construction FAQ for more information.
  • Other permit types, such as HVAC, electrical, occupant load placards, fire alarm, and sprinkler systems, are submitted directly to PLI.
  • Once the application is submitted, it will go through our plans review process if drawings are required. This process usually takes between 3-6 weeks.
  • Once the permit is approved, the Plans Examiner will contact the permit applicant. At this point, the permit technician will determine the fee and payment is required.

How do I reach the Application Technicians?

The best way to reach an Application Technician is through our group email address: pliapptech@pittsburghpa.gov. This email address routes to all of the Application Technicians so that the first free tech can answer your inquiry.

Our technicians are always working the counter and may not be able to take your call. Please leave a message and they will return the call. Please call our mainline at 412-255-2175 and someone will direct your call to the appropriate contact.

What type of work requires a permit?

Refer to description of various permit types on: PLI Website. See also the description of work not requiring a permit on the PLI Website.

Some work may still require permits or approvals from other departments (such as DPW, City Planning, ACHD)

Common work requiring a permit:

  • Fencing, Pools, Siding, Roofing, Window replacement- YES
  • Painting, Masonry re-pointing: NO- unless in a Historic District
  • Interior Demolition? -YES– a building permit is required.
  • Low Voltage Electrical work? – commercial YES, residential NO
  • Landscaping- NO, -unless structural in nature (such as retaining walls over 4’ high), or major land operations work. See Land Operations information.

What is the cost of a permit?

The cost of a permit depends on the scope of work and type of application. Please refer to the fee schedule.

The final permit fee is assessed after the application has been approved, and the permit technician will provide the final fee. Payments are not accepted until the application is approved and ready to issue. Payments may be a check or money order.

Are drawings required for a permit?

Residential - non-structural renovation work- NO.

Residential - substantial alterations, structural changes, new additions, decks - YES.

Commercial - YES

*Note that drawings may be deemed necessary to determine code compliance based on the scope of work on any permit, and may be requested at application review or during inspection.

Do I need stamped drawings? (sealed by a PA-Licensed architect or engineer)

Residential renovation work – NO

Residential – Substantial structural work, multi-story additions – YES

Commercial – YES

How many sets of drawings are required to be submitted?

Two (2) sets of drawings are to be submitted. One set of final approved drawings will be returned with the permit for reference on the job site. This set must be kept on site until construction is complete and the inspector finalizes the permit.

How long does it take to get a permit?

Residential- most renovation permits are reviewed and issued same day / over the counter.

Residential – new structures / substantial work requiring plan review – Approximately 15 business days.

Commercial – plans are reviewed in approximately 30 business days.

Is there an expedited plan review option?

NO. Applications are reviewed in the order received.

I’ve been asked to submit revisions. How long until my permit is approved?

Once the requested revisions are submitted, the application is placed into a queue and reviewed in the order received. Although the permit is not placed at the end of the line for all permits, there will be approximately a two week review period.

What is the status of a permit already submitted?

Please use our mainline at 412-255-2175 to contact an employee to check on the status of a permit.

See also PLI website for Applications Pending Review.

Are preliminary review / code consultations available?

NO. Final Applications for permits are reviewed for code compliance. PLI does not make design recommendations. It is recommended that Building Code and Design Professionals, PA- licensed architects and engineers, be consulted to review preliminary plans and provide design recommendations.

What are the current building codes for the City of Pittsburgh?

The City of Pittsburgh has adopted the Uniform Construction Code, with local amendments under City Code Title Ten. Refer to the PLI website.

Do I need a contractor?

YES. A registered contractor is required for all work permits within the City of Pittsburgh.

*EXCEPTION: for Residential building permits only, an owner may act as the contractor for work on their primary residence.

Residential Building Permits Only: Contractors required to be registered with the PA Attorney General as a Home Improvement Contractor are verified in lieu of registration with the City of Pittsburgh.

Can I mail in an application?

Yes. Please make sure all required materials are mailed with the application. If we do not receive all documentation, there will be a delay in the permitting process.