Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections Modernizes Business Operations

PITTSBURGH, PA (April 2, 2018) The City of Pittsburgh Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections is submitting updates to its operating procedures to Pittsburgh City Council tomorrow, including new abilities for online permitting. The package of three ordinance amendments and one trust fund amendment is the first comprehensive update since the original ordinances were written in the early 1980s. 

With these updates, the Department will be able to put into action many best practices that have been overlooked for decades. They include: 

  • Online applications 

  • A predictable and equitable fee structure 

  • A dedicated review lane for projects under a strict timeline 

  • Requiring contractors to be specialized in fire protection systems in order to work on fire suppression jobs 

  • Maintaining a transparent standard of license pre-qualifications. 

In conjunction with the City-wide permitting and licensing software project, Burghware, the legislation is part of ongoing modernization efforts within PLI. Upon approval of the legislative updates and completion of the first phase of Burghware, customers will be able to submit license applications online starting this fall without ever having to come to the counter at 200 Ross Street. The second and third phases to be completed in 2019 will allow for online permits applications and plan submissions.  

Legislation Highlights include: 

   Title I - Administrative: Modernizing language to allow for electronic signatures and electronic submission of documents. 

Title VII – Business Licensing: Removal of any codified license fees that reference a specific cost to instead reference a Fee Schedule posted by the Department; Clarify language to ensure standardized treatment of business, amusement, and trade licenses; and Addition of a new trade license, a Fire Suppression Contractor, requiring said licensee to be connected with any permit issued by PLI for fire suppression systems. 

Title X – Building Code: New section added to specifically address fees collected; Simplify fee assessments by creating one system of calculation that is more equitable across permit types; creation of a filing fee, accelerated plan review fee, and multiple plan review and inspection fees; and codifying current practices related to refunds, third party agency services, unpermitted work penalty, and an overtime fee. 

PLI Record Storage, Technology, and Operations Trust Fund: Modernizing language to allow for the funds to be used for electronic database management of records 




Keyva Clark
Communication Analyst
Mayor's Office