PLI RESIDENTIAL PERMITS

Residential Building Permits

A residential building permit is required for the following work on a residential building or structure:

  • Renovate and repair an existing single-family or two-family dwelling.
  • Construct an addition to an existing single-family or two-family dwelling.
  • Construct a new structure including a new single-family or two-family dwelling or accessory structure.

Please see Permit Home for the definition of residential structures and work types.  Please see work not requiring a permit for work that can be performed without a PLI permit. Please visit our Contacts page for the Construction Inspector's contact information. 

Accessory Structure

An accessory structure is a smaller normally unoccupied structure that is associated with a structure that serves as the primary use of the property.  Accessory structures include, but are not limited to fences, pools, decks, sheds, garages, etc.

New Construction Work Scopes:

The new construction work type applies to the construction of a new house. The applicant shall identify one or more of the following work scopes: 

  • New Building Complete: construction of a new building under a single permit. 
  • Phased Building – Footings & Foundation: phased construction that includes footings and foundation.   
  • Phased Building – Remainder of House: phased construction that includes all components except the foundation.    
  • Site Work (Grading): site work related to the construction of the building. A land operations permit is required for site work beyond the general boundaries of the building footprint.   
  • Accessory – Deck: construction of a deck more than 30 inches above grade accessory to a new building. 
  • Accessory – Detached Garage: construction of a detached garage accessory to a new building. 
  • Accessory – Fence (Over 6 Ft): construction of a fence over 6 feet tall accessory to a new building. 
  • Accessory – Other: construction of a structure of a type not otherwise identified accessory to a new building.  
  • Accessory – Pool: construction of a pool accessory to a new building. 
  • Accessory – Porch: construction of a porch accessory to a new building. 
  • Accessory – Retaining Wall: construction of a retaining wall that is over 4 feet tall and/or supports a surcharge accessory to a new building. 
  • Modular Construction: construction that includes the use of modular units or components. Selected in addition to one or more of the other work scopes. 

Addition / Alteration Work Scopes:

The addition/alteration work type applies to the alteration of an existing house or the construction or alteration of a structure accessory to an existing house. The applicant shall identify one or more of the following work scopes:

  • Addition With Foundation: construction of an addition that includes a footing/foundation.  
  • Addition Without Foundation: construction of an addition that does not include a footing/foundation such as a vertical addition.  
  • Alterations - Exterior: alterations to the exterior of a building. 
  • Alterations - Interior: alterations of the interior of a building.  
  • Change In Use: alterations include change in use and/or certification of a use. 
  • Emergency Work/Stabilization: work necessary to stabilize a building after damage and/or partial collapse. A permit limited to this work scope has an SLA of 7 business days. 
  • Modular Construction: construction that includes the use of modular units or components. Selected in addition to one or more of the other work scopes  
  • Site Work (Grading): site work related to the construction of the building. A land operations permit is required for site work beyond the general boundaries of the building footprint.   
  • Accessory – Deck: construction or alteration of a deck accessory to an existing house. 
  • Accessory – Demolition: demolition of an existing accessory structure. 
  • Accessory – Detached Garage: construction or alteration of a detached garage accessory to an existing house. 
  • Accessory – Fence: construction or alteration of a fence over 6 feet tall accessory to an existing house associated with other addition/alteration work scopes. 
  • Accessory – Other: construction or alteration of a structure of a type not otherwise identified accessory to an existing house.  
  • Accessory – Pool: construction or alteration of a pool accessory to an existing house. 
  • Accessory – Porch: construction of a porch accessory to an existing house. 
  • Accessory – Retaining Wall: construction or alteration of a retaining wall that is over 4 feet tall and/or supports a surcharge accessory to an existing house. 

Minor Alteration Work Scopes:

The minor alteration work type applies to the non-structural alteration of an existing house or accessory structure. The applicant shall identify one or more of the following work scopes: 

  • Accessory – Fence: construction or alteration of a fence over 6 feet tall accessory to an existing building. 
  • Basement Renovation: non-structural alteration to the basement of a house.
  • Bathroom Renovation: non-structural alteration to a bathroom(s).
  • Bedroom Renovation: non-structural alteration to a bedroom(s).
  • Kitchen Renovation: non-structural alteration to a kitchen.
  • Other Interior Renovation: non-structural alteration of a type not otherwise identified.
  • Removal/Installation of Walls: non-structural alteration that includes removal and/or installation of interior walls.
  • Repairing porch/deck: repairing limited elements of a porch or deck in kind (same size, spacing, materials, etc.). No alterations in the materials, size, or spacing of members or rebuilding of the porch or deck are permitted.  
  • Roofing: repairing or replacing roofing. No framing modifications are permitted. 
  • Siding/Single Layer Veneer:  repairing or replacing siding or a single layer of masonry or stone veneer. No framing modifications, including furring, or modifications of multi-wythe masonry and/or self-supporting masonry/stone are permitted.  
  • Replacing Window/Door: replacement of a window or door in kind (same type, size, and location). 

Permit Process:

See these web pages for additional information regarding the permitting process:

  • Permit Process
  • Application Submission
    • All Work Types other than Minor Alterations require submission of drawings to OneStopPGH.
    • Please note that drawings prepared and sealed by a PA-licensed architect may not be required for the following:
      • Single-story accessory structures without an occupied roof.
        • Applies if the submitted drawings provide sufficient detail to demonstrate compliance with prescriptive building code requirements.
      • Decks that are designed per the Residential Deck Form and comply with associated restrictions.
      • Pools that are designed per the Residential Pool Form and comply with associated restrictions.
      • Single-story additions without an occupied roof.
        • Applies if the submitted drawings provide sufficient detail to demonstrate compliance with prescriptive building code requirements.
        • The addition does not rely on the existing building for structural support.
    • Development of a property in a regulated floodplain requires a PLI Floodplain permit.
  • Application Review
  • Permit Issuance
  • Permit Inspections
  • Permit Completion

Please see Other Agency Coordination for processes related to other agencies that may relate to your permit scope.  For residential building permits:

  • Zoning Development Review application (ZDR) submission is required for the following:
    • New Construction Work Scopes: all.
    • Addition / Alteration Work Scopes: 
      • Always: Addition With Foundation, Addition Without Foundation, Change In Use, Site Work (Grading), all accessory work scopes. 
      • Location Dependent: Alterations – Exterior. Applicable if the property is located in a historic district or the building is an individually designated historic structure. 
    • Minor Work Type with this work scope:
      • Always: Accessory – Fence 
      • Location Dependent: Repairing porch/deck, Roofing, Siding/Single Layer Veneer, and Replacing Window/Door. Applicable if the property is located in a historic district or the building isis an individually designated historic structure. 
  • Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI)
    • Required for if work includes vehicle access onto the subject site or encroachments into the public right of way such as balconies or decks.
  • Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD)
    • Required for new plumbing systems and may be required for modifications to existing plumbing systems. This would include the installation of suppression systems as required for townhouses.
  • PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED)
    • Required for any pre-fabricated modules or components used as part of the permitted scope for a residential structure.
  • Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire (PBF)
    • Required for housing developments to review: fire apparatus access roads and fire flows.
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