PermitFlow has raised a $31 million Series A to advance construction permitting.
Learn more
Arrows
Close
HomeRight ArrowBlogRight Arrow

Austin Building Permit Guide

Britain Jacobson

Britain Jacobson

Last updated:

Jun 25, 2024

Published:

June 25, 2024

Reading time:

5

minutes

From repairing electrical systems to constructing new homes to demolishing existing ones, a lot of construction and development projects require a building permit. Unfortunately, every city has its own permitting process and requirements. 

If you’re planning a project in Austin, it’s in your best interest to familiarize yourself with the city’s unique permitting process. This Austin building permit guide walks you through everything you’ll need to know to prepare, submit, and obtain a permit in Texas’s capital.

What requires a permit in Austin, Texas?

You’ll need a building permit in Austin for most construction and development-related projects. 

Examples include:

  • Constructing a new building
  • Renovating, altering, or adding to an existing building
  • Demolishing an existing building
  • Installing fences over a certain height
  • Installing a swimming pool
  • Electrical, mechanical, or plumbing installations, repairs, and replacements

The purpose of a building permit is to ensure that structures throughout Austin and Travis County meet local health and safety standards. Getting approved for a permit means that your site plans adhere to local building codes.

Pro tip: Confirm whether your project requires a permit using the city’s online “Do I Need a Permit” wizard. The wizard asks a series of questions — like what jurisdiction the work is in and the type of project — to advise whether you need to apply for a certain permit.

What doesn’t require a permit in Austin?

Not everything requires a permit. Of course, it’s always best to check with the city for a clear answer on whether your project requires one.

Examples of work that doesn’t require a permit include:

  • Building a one-story, detached structure less than 200 square feet
  • Building a fence less than 8 feet high
  • Prefabricated swimming pools less than 2 feet deep
  • Installing window awnings that extend less than 54 inches from the wall
  • Replacing asphalt shingles
  • Foundation, roof decking, and floor decking repairs less than 128 square feet
  • Replacing doors (must be the same size and operation)
  • Replacing or installing an overhead garage door
  • Portable heating and cooling units
  • Emergency drain and pipe leak repairs

Who oversees permits in Austin, TX?

The City of Austin Development Services Department and other city departments issue development-related permits, such as building permits, land use permits, special event permits, temporary use permits, and business-related permits.

The Development Services Department oversees the Austin Build + Connect (AB+C), a portal that allows users to apply for certain permits, schedule inspections, pay fees, upload project documentation, and more. 

  • City of Austin permits phone number: For general inquiries, call 3-1-1. For appointments at the Permitting and Development Center (PDC), call 512-978-4504.
  • Permitting and Development Center address: 6310 Wilhelmina Delco Drive, Austin, Texas 78752
Note: Austin Code consolidated with the Development Services Department in March 2023.

Austin building permit search

You can search for Austin building permits through the Austin Build + Connect portal using its Public Search function. You don’t have to register or create an account to use the Austin Build + Connect permit search. 

Austin building permit fees

Building permit fees in Austin vary based on the type of permit you’re applying for and the scope of the work being performed.

Austin breaks fees into a few different categories:

  • Application processing fee
  • Plan review fees
  • Plan review resubmittal fee
  • Plan revision fees

Plan review fees are typically the largest expense, often costing $1,000 or more. You can expect to pay less than $100 for an application processing fee. Minor revision fees will cost you less than $100 while major revisions are charged at a few hundred dollars.

Here’s a sample cost breakdown for a residential new construction project:

  • Application processing fee: $91.73
  • Plan review fee: $1,525.68
  • Minor plan revision fee: $79.56
  • Total cost: $1,696.97
Pro tip: Explore all of Austin’s up-to-date fee schedules online

Here’s how you can pay your permit fees:

  • Online through the AB+C portal, using a credit card or a linked checking account
  • Over the phone by calling 512-974-7045.
  • In person at the Permitting and Development Center between 7:30 am and 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday
  • By mail — mail checks to: City of Austin - PDC, DSD - Cashier, 6310 Wilhelmina Delco Dr., Austin, TX  78752

Types of building permits in Austin

Some of the types of permits you may need for your project include:

  • Commercial building and trade permits: Required when constructing a new commercial building or altering/demolishing an existing one. Also includes specialty commercial permits for things like building boat docks and performing electrical, mechanical, or plumbing work.
  • Residential building and trade permits: Required when constructing a new residential building or altering/demolishing an existing one. Also includes specialty residential permits for things like mobile homes, driveways, fences, pools, and performing electrical, mechanical, or plumbing work.
  • Sign permits: Required when putting up outdoor signage.
  • Tree permits: Required when cutting down or impacting a regulated tree.
  • Transportation and public works permits: For driveways, excavation, sidewalks, and walkways.
  • Site plan permits: Required when establishing site development work on a non-single family residential property.
  • Water permits: Required for work involving on-site sewage facilities (septic tanks) and water/wastewater services, like installing water meters.

Austin building permit application process

You can apply for a building permit in Austin online or in person. The process is similar to those of other Texas cities like Dallas and Houston.

The City of Austin has streamlined the permit application process by offering unique application wizards online. These wizards walk you through the submission process, posing questions and requesting documentation uploads.

Pro tip: If you have development or permitting questions, schedule an appointment — either virtual or in-person — with Development Services at the Permitting and Development Center.

3 steps to get a building permit in Austin TX

Step 1: Prepare and submit paperwork

Before submitting your permit application, you’ll need to download and complete the appropriate application PDFs, available on the austintexas.gov website.

If you’re applying online, locate the appropriate application wizard (they’re separated based on the type of permit you’re applying for). Answer the questions as they’re posed and upload documentation when prompted.

You may need to verify the project’s address, jurisdiction, or street name before submitting your application. 

You might also need to submit additional plans like:

  • An Austin Energy Building Service Plan Application (BSPA)
  • A Water & Wastewater Service Plan Verification (WWWSPV)
  • A signed conditional approval letter from Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB)
  • A signed certification letter from NHCD (Housing Department)

Step 2: Complete any necessary revisions

Upon reviewing your permit application, the Development Services Department might request revisions. You’ll be charged a fee depending on the extent of the revisions (minor or major). 

You can modify a submitted application through the City’s website.  

Step 3: Undergo required inspections

Once your permit has been approved and issued, you’ll be required to undergo a series of inspections during the development process. The permit holder and owner-general contractor are responsible for making sure the site undergoes the right inspections in the right sequence. 

Inspections your project could be subject to include:

  • Building
  • Environmental
  • Site development
  • Subdivision
  • Sound enforcement
  • Utility cuts

Get your permit faster with PermitFlow

You can navigate the permit application process effortlessly and get your permit in your hands faster by partnering with PermitFlow.

Whether you're building in Travis, Harris, or Dallas County, PermitFlow’s permitting software streamlines the permit application process, ensuring accuracy at every step to mitigate your chances of needing revisions. We’ll help you understand the nuances of Austin’s permitting process and make sure you’re complying with the City’s building codes.

From PermitFlow’s easy-to-use dashboard, you can submit, track, and pull permits without navigating the City’s website. Trust PermitFlow to handle the tedious permitting work for you so you get your permit approved as quickly as possible.

From repairing electrical systems to constructing new homes to demolishing existing ones, a lot of construction and development projects require a building permit. Unfortunately, every city has its own permitting process and requirements. 

If you’re planning a project in Austin, it’s in your best interest to familiarize yourself with the city’s unique permitting process. This Austin building permit guide walks you through everything you’ll need to know to prepare, submit, and obtain a permit in Texas’s capital.

What requires a permit in Austin, Texas?

You’ll need a building permit in Austin for most construction and development-related projects. 

Examples include:

  • Constructing a new building
  • Renovating, altering, or adding to an existing building
  • Demolishing an existing building
  • Installing fences over a certain height
  • Installing a swimming pool
  • Electrical, mechanical, or plumbing installations, repairs, and replacements

The purpose of a building permit is to ensure that structures throughout Austin and Travis County meet local health and safety standards. Getting approved for a permit means that your site plans adhere to local building codes.

Pro tip: Confirm whether your project requires a permit using the city’s online “Do I Need a Permit” wizard. The wizard asks a series of questions — like what jurisdiction the work is in and the type of project — to advise whether you need to apply for a certain permit.

What doesn’t require a permit in Austin?

Not everything requires a permit. Of course, it’s always best to check with the city for a clear answer on whether your project requires one.

Examples of work that doesn’t require a permit include:

  • Building a one-story, detached structure less than 200 square feet
  • Building a fence less than 8 feet high
  • Prefabricated swimming pools less than 2 feet deep
  • Installing window awnings that extend less than 54 inches from the wall
  • Replacing asphalt shingles
  • Foundation, roof decking, and floor decking repairs less than 128 square feet
  • Replacing doors (must be the same size and operation)
  • Replacing or installing an overhead garage door
  • Portable heating and cooling units
  • Emergency drain and pipe leak repairs

Who oversees permits in Austin, TX?

The City of Austin Development Services Department and other city departments issue development-related permits, such as building permits, land use permits, special event permits, temporary use permits, and business-related permits.

The Development Services Department oversees the Austin Build + Connect (AB+C), a portal that allows users to apply for certain permits, schedule inspections, pay fees, upload project documentation, and more. 

  • City of Austin permits phone number: For general inquiries, call 3-1-1. For appointments at the Permitting and Development Center (PDC), call 512-978-4504.
  • Permitting and Development Center address: 6310 Wilhelmina Delco Drive, Austin, Texas 78752
Note: Austin Code consolidated with the Development Services Department in March 2023.

Austin building permit search

You can search for Austin building permits through the Austin Build + Connect portal using its Public Search function. You don’t have to register or create an account to use the Austin Build + Connect permit search. 

Austin building permit fees

Building permit fees in Austin vary based on the type of permit you’re applying for and the scope of the work being performed.

Austin breaks fees into a few different categories:

  • Application processing fee
  • Plan review fees
  • Plan review resubmittal fee
  • Plan revision fees

Plan review fees are typically the largest expense, often costing $1,000 or more. You can expect to pay less than $100 for an application processing fee. Minor revision fees will cost you less than $100 while major revisions are charged at a few hundred dollars.

Here’s a sample cost breakdown for a residential new construction project:

  • Application processing fee: $91.73
  • Plan review fee: $1,525.68
  • Minor plan revision fee: $79.56
  • Total cost: $1,696.97
Pro tip: Explore all of Austin’s up-to-date fee schedules online

Here’s how you can pay your permit fees:

  • Online through the AB+C portal, using a credit card or a linked checking account
  • Over the phone by calling 512-974-7045.
  • In person at the Permitting and Development Center between 7:30 am and 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday
  • By mail — mail checks to: City of Austin - PDC, DSD - Cashier, 6310 Wilhelmina Delco Dr., Austin, TX  78752

Types of building permits in Austin

Some of the types of permits you may need for your project include:

  • Commercial building and trade permits: Required when constructing a new commercial building or altering/demolishing an existing one. Also includes specialty commercial permits for things like building boat docks and performing electrical, mechanical, or plumbing work.
  • Residential building and trade permits: Required when constructing a new residential building or altering/demolishing an existing one. Also includes specialty residential permits for things like mobile homes, driveways, fences, pools, and performing electrical, mechanical, or plumbing work.
  • Sign permits: Required when putting up outdoor signage.
  • Tree permits: Required when cutting down or impacting a regulated tree.
  • Transportation and public works permits: For driveways, excavation, sidewalks, and walkways.
  • Site plan permits: Required when establishing site development work on a non-single family residential property.
  • Water permits: Required for work involving on-site sewage facilities (septic tanks) and water/wastewater services, like installing water meters.

Austin building permit application process

You can apply for a building permit in Austin online or in person. The process is similar to those of other Texas cities like Dallas and Houston.

The City of Austin has streamlined the permit application process by offering unique application wizards online. These wizards walk you through the submission process, posing questions and requesting documentation uploads.

Pro tip: If you have development or permitting questions, schedule an appointment — either virtual or in-person — with Development Services at the Permitting and Development Center.

3 steps to get a building permit in Austin TX

Step 1: Prepare and submit paperwork

Before submitting your permit application, you’ll need to download and complete the appropriate application PDFs, available on the austintexas.gov website.

If you’re applying online, locate the appropriate application wizard (they’re separated based on the type of permit you’re applying for). Answer the questions as they’re posed and upload documentation when prompted.

You may need to verify the project’s address, jurisdiction, or street name before submitting your application. 

You might also need to submit additional plans like:

  • An Austin Energy Building Service Plan Application (BSPA)
  • A Water & Wastewater Service Plan Verification (WWWSPV)
  • A signed conditional approval letter from Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB)
  • A signed certification letter from NHCD (Housing Department)

Step 2: Complete any necessary revisions

Upon reviewing your permit application, the Development Services Department might request revisions. You’ll be charged a fee depending on the extent of the revisions (minor or major). 

You can modify a submitted application through the City’s website.  

Step 3: Undergo required inspections

Once your permit has been approved and issued, you’ll be required to undergo a series of inspections during the development process. The permit holder and owner-general contractor are responsible for making sure the site undergoes the right inspections in the right sequence. 

Inspections your project could be subject to include:

  • Building
  • Environmental
  • Site development
  • Subdivision
  • Sound enforcement
  • Utility cuts

Get your permit faster with PermitFlow

You can navigate the permit application process effortlessly and get your permit in your hands faster by partnering with PermitFlow.

Whether you're building in Travis, Harris, or Dallas County, PermitFlow’s permitting software streamlines the permit application process, ensuring accuracy at every step to mitigate your chances of needing revisions. We’ll help you understand the nuances of Austin’s permitting process and make sure you’re complying with the City’s building codes.

From PermitFlow’s easy-to-use dashboard, you can submit, track, and pull permits without navigating the City’s website. Trust PermitFlow to handle the tedious permitting work for you so you get your permit approved as quickly as possible.

contractor working on a frame
Prepare

Prepare and submit permits in days, not weeks

Talk to an Expert
Arrow