Residential Building Permit

Residential Building Permits

Residential Building Permits are required for all work performed on single or two-family dwellings. Work performed on all other buildings require Commercial Building Permits, this includes multifamily buildings with three or more units and mixed-use buildings with residential units and commercial spaces. Please refer to list of work not requiring a building permit, if work to be performed is not included on this list, a building permit is required. Please note that a building permit is required for interior demolition of single or two-family dwellings.

Work Performed Under Residential Building Permit

A property owner who also uses the property as a primary residence may self perform the work for a Residential Building Permit, except for new houses. A City of Pittsburgh registered General Contractor is required for the following:

  • Construction of a new house.
  • Renovations and/or additions to rental or investment property.
  • Renovations and/or additions to rental or investment property.

All other work shall be performed a by PA licensed contractor.

How to Obtain a Residential Building Permit

The Building Permit application process is two-fold. The first component is review and approval by the Zoning Department for the land use as regulated by the Zoning Code.

The second component is review and approval by PLI for life safety as regulated by the current Building Codes. Fees for both departments are paid at the point of issuance, at PLI.

Zoning Review

The property owner, or authorized agent, will need to first apply in person at the Zoning Counter located at 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. After the work is approved by the Zoning Department, the applicant will proceed to the File Room and then then PLI's Engineering Counter, both located on the 3rd floor of 200 Ross St.

PLI Review

For the PLI review, the following will be required:

  • All new houses, two story additions, two story decks, retaining walls over 4'-0" or structural modifications will require stamped drawings prepared and sealed by a Pennsylvania licensed Architect/Engineer.
  • Completed Residential Building Permit Form.
  • A check/money order to pay the permit fee, due when permit is issued.

Residential building permit applications not requiring stamped drawings are reviewed over the counter. All others are logged in and reviewed in the order in which they were reviewed. After

the Plans Examining Engineer has reviewed the drawing, they will contact the Architect/Engineer with any revisions or notify the applicant that the permit is ready for pick up.


After the permit has been issued, the applicant or General Contractor must contact the Building Inspector, whom is indicated on the permit, to schedule inspections. Inspectors are in the office from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are in the field for the remainder of the day.

The following building inspections will be required:

  • Framing
  • Final

The following additional inspections may be required, depending on the scope of work:

  • Flood plain
  • Footing and foundation
  • Fire-resistance-rated construction
  • Masonry