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Dallas Building Permit Guide

Britain Jacobson

Britain Jacobson

Last updated:

Jun 14, 2024

Published:

June 14, 2024

Reading time:

5

minutes

Whether you’re planning a minor renovation, a major addition, or new construction, understanding the requirements and processes involved in obtaining the necessary permits is crucial to ensuring your project meets local building codes and safety standards. 

This comprehensive guide will walk you through what requires a building permit in Dallas, what doesn’t, the costs involved, and how to streamline your application process to avoid delays and potential pitfalls.

What requires a building permit in Dallas?

You’ll need a Dallas building permit for most projects that involve building, adding to, altering, or demolishing a structure, as well as projects that involve repairing, replacing, installing, or removing service equipment like HVAC, electrical, and mechanical systems. 

Building permits ensure structures are safe to inhabit and meet health and safety standards to protect occupants and the community. Before starting any construction-related activity, check with the City of Dallas Building Inspection Department to determine if your project requires a permit.

What doesn’t require a permit in Dallas?

  • Stopping leaks in pipes, drains or plumbing
  • Fences under 4 feet in a front yard and under 6 feet elsewhere
  • Storm windows, rain gutters, and insulation
  • Retaining walls less than 4 feet 
  • Nonstructural, interior remodeling in 1- and 2-family homes that doesn’t increase floor area or change external doors or windows
  • Re-roofing valued at $500 or less
  • Accessory structures less than 200 square feet, without utilities
  • Detached patio covers less than 200 square feet
  • Certain decks and driveways 
  • Prefabricated pools less than 5,000 gallons
  • Detached carports less than 200 square feet or less 
  • Adding trim or siding
  • Attaching most window awnings

What’s the biggest you can build in Texas without a permit?

Very generally speaking, the biggest you can build in Texas without a permit is 200 square feet. The majority of cities and counties in the state don’t require a permit for structures under 200 square feet.

Who oversees permits in Dallas?

The City of Dallas Building Inspection Department oversees construction permits in Dallas.

You can reach the Plan Review & Field Service Inspections team with the following contact info:

  • Address: some text
    • Oak Cliff Municipal Center
    • 320 E. Jefferson Blvd.
    • Dallas, Texas 75203
  • City of Dallas permits phone number: 214-948-4480

Can a homeowner pull a building permit in Texas?

Yes, a homeowner can pull a building permit in Texas for work being done on their own property. Homeowners must demonstrate that they will comply with all applicable building codes and regulations. 

Keep in mind that if the project involves electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work, you’ll need to hire a licensed professional to perform those specific tasks. These policies apply to all Texas cities, from Dallas to Austin to Houston.

City of Dallas permit search

The City of Dallas offers two online Permit Activity Dashboards — one for commercial and one for residential permits. These dashboards provide up-to-date data on construction permits and permit statuses throughout Dallas. 

Check out the Permit Activity Dashboards to see:

  • How many permit applications have been submitted this year
  • How many permits have been issued this year
  • Median number of days to receive a permit
  • The number of permits in the queue in real-time

Checking these dashboards before preparing and submitting your application can give you a sense of how long it might take to have your plans reviewed and your permit issued.

Dallas building permit cost

The cost of a building permit in Dallas varies depending on the scope and valuation of the project, but at a minimum, a permit usually costs a few hundred dollars. Fees are generally based on the total square footage and the type of construction being undertaken. 

Here are average Dallas building permit costs for some common types of projects:

  • New single-family home construction: $1,500
  • Addition to an existing single-family home: $1,000
  • Addition and remodeling for an existing commercial building: $9,000
  • New multifamily complex construction: $56,000

To accurately estimate your Dallas building permit costs, read the City's fee guide and use its fee calculator, both available online.

The City accepts the following payment methods:

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Credit card
  • Cashier's check
  • Money order

Types of building permits in Dallas

Construction permits in Dallas are simply divided into three categories: residential, commercial, and trade permits.

Residential permits

Residential permits are for single-family homes, duplexes, and other residential structures, like ADUs. They include new construction, additions, remodels, and specific repairs or installations such as HVAC systems, electrical work, and plumbing.

Commercial permits

Commercial permits cover non-residential buildings and structures, including office buildings, retail spaces, industrial facilities, and multifamily housing projects. They address new construction, tenant improvements, major renovations, and specialized installations.

Trade permits

Trade permits are for work related to electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and irrigation systems. These are often required for both residential and commercial projects and must be obtained by licensed professionals. 

Trade permits ensure that specialized installations are safe and comply with local codes. Electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and irrigation specialists must apply for these permits before beginning any related work.

City of Dallas permit application

Applying for a construction permit in Dallas can be broken down into three main steps: preparing and submitting the application, undergoing plan review, and completing a building or site inspection.

3 steps to get a building permit in Dallas, TX

1. Application preparation and submission

In Dallas, you can apply for a permit online or in person at the Oak Cliff Municipal Center. 

Regardless of which route you choose, you’ll have to first gather all necessary documents, including detailed plans and specs of your project. The City of Dallas requires applicants to submit two sets of plans for review. For some projects, Texas state law requires plans sealed by an engineer or architect.

For best results, use permit software like PermitFlow to expedite your application process and maximize your chances of being approved on the first go.

Note: Alert: As of May 1, 2024, all commercial applications must be submitted online. 

Zoning consultations

The City of Dallas offers zoning consultations in person and virtually. These consultations are intended to give you foundational knowledge for your site and help you understand the basics of zoning district regulations, land-use provisions, and the permitting process.

A basic consultation (20 minutes) is free, while an enhanced consultation is $100 for up to 1 hour. You can schedule your consultation online or visit the Oak Cliff Municipal Center to meet in person.

2. Plan review

After submitting your application, your project will undergo a plan review. This process ensures your plans comply with local building codes and zoning laws. 

The review may involve several city departments, depending on the nature of your project. Be prepared to make any necessary revisions to your plans if requested by the reviewers.

Wait time varies, but current typical times to first round of review are:

  • Residential permits: 1-3 business days
  • Commercial remodels: 12 business days
  • New commercial construction: 20+ business days
Pro tip: Dallas offers an expedited plan review process through its Q-Team. If you’re in a rush, consider paying for the expedited review.

3. Building inspection

The Dallas Building Inspection Department Inspection Services is responsible for ensuring new construction adheres to city codes and regulations. All projects in progress must undergo an inspection.

City of Dallas building inspections are required to maximize safety. As such, new construction projects are usually inspected several times during various phases of construction. 

Whoever applied for the permit is the one responsible for scheduling a building inspection. You can schedule your inspection online or by calling the City’s automated inspection line at 214-670-5313.

Pro tip: Check the City’s inspections page online to determine if your project requires an inspection.

Simplify the permitting process with PermitFlow

Want to get your Dallas building permit quickly and reduce hiccups along the way? Partner with PermitFlow.

PermitFlow’s permitting software automates the process of preparing and submitting a permit application to save you time. We’ll help you understand the nuances of Dallas’s permitting process and ensure compliance with the City’s codes and regulations.

From the intuitive PermitFlow dashboard, you can submit, track, and pull permits effortlessly — there’s no need to navigate the City’s clunky website. Trust the PermitFlow team to handle the legwork for you and get your permit approved as quickly as possible.

Whether you’re planning a minor renovation, a major addition, or new construction, understanding the requirements and processes involved in obtaining the necessary permits is crucial to ensuring your project meets local building codes and safety standards. 

This comprehensive guide will walk you through what requires a building permit in Dallas, what doesn’t, the costs involved, and how to streamline your application process to avoid delays and potential pitfalls.

What requires a building permit in Dallas?

You’ll need a Dallas building permit for most projects that involve building, adding to, altering, or demolishing a structure, as well as projects that involve repairing, replacing, installing, or removing service equipment like HVAC, electrical, and mechanical systems. 

Building permits ensure structures are safe to inhabit and meet health and safety standards to protect occupants and the community. Before starting any construction-related activity, check with the City of Dallas Building Inspection Department to determine if your project requires a permit.

What doesn’t require a permit in Dallas?

  • Stopping leaks in pipes, drains or plumbing
  • Fences under 4 feet in a front yard and under 6 feet elsewhere
  • Storm windows, rain gutters, and insulation
  • Retaining walls less than 4 feet 
  • Nonstructural, interior remodeling in 1- and 2-family homes that doesn’t increase floor area or change external doors or windows
  • Re-roofing valued at $500 or less
  • Accessory structures less than 200 square feet, without utilities
  • Detached patio covers less than 200 square feet
  • Certain decks and driveways 
  • Prefabricated pools less than 5,000 gallons
  • Detached carports less than 200 square feet or less 
  • Adding trim or siding
  • Attaching most window awnings

What’s the biggest you can build in Texas without a permit?

Very generally speaking, the biggest you can build in Texas without a permit is 200 square feet. The majority of cities and counties in the state don’t require a permit for structures under 200 square feet.

Who oversees permits in Dallas?

The City of Dallas Building Inspection Department oversees construction permits in Dallas.

You can reach the Plan Review & Field Service Inspections team with the following contact info:

  • Address: some text
    • Oak Cliff Municipal Center
    • 320 E. Jefferson Blvd.
    • Dallas, Texas 75203
  • City of Dallas permits phone number: 214-948-4480

Can a homeowner pull a building permit in Texas?

Yes, a homeowner can pull a building permit in Texas for work being done on their own property. Homeowners must demonstrate that they will comply with all applicable building codes and regulations. 

Keep in mind that if the project involves electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work, you’ll need to hire a licensed professional to perform those specific tasks. These policies apply to all Texas cities, from Dallas to Austin to Houston.

City of Dallas permit search

The City of Dallas offers two online Permit Activity Dashboards — one for commercial and one for residential permits. These dashboards provide up-to-date data on construction permits and permit statuses throughout Dallas. 

Check out the Permit Activity Dashboards to see:

  • How many permit applications have been submitted this year
  • How many permits have been issued this year
  • Median number of days to receive a permit
  • The number of permits in the queue in real-time

Checking these dashboards before preparing and submitting your application can give you a sense of how long it might take to have your plans reviewed and your permit issued.

Dallas building permit cost

The cost of a building permit in Dallas varies depending on the scope and valuation of the project, but at a minimum, a permit usually costs a few hundred dollars. Fees are generally based on the total square footage and the type of construction being undertaken. 

Here are average Dallas building permit costs for some common types of projects:

  • New single-family home construction: $1,500
  • Addition to an existing single-family home: $1,000
  • Addition and remodeling for an existing commercial building: $9,000
  • New multifamily complex construction: $56,000

To accurately estimate your Dallas building permit costs, read the City's fee guide and use its fee calculator, both available online.

The City accepts the following payment methods:

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Credit card
  • Cashier's check
  • Money order

Types of building permits in Dallas

Construction permits in Dallas are simply divided into three categories: residential, commercial, and trade permits.

Residential permits

Residential permits are for single-family homes, duplexes, and other residential structures, like ADUs. They include new construction, additions, remodels, and specific repairs or installations such as HVAC systems, electrical work, and plumbing.

Commercial permits

Commercial permits cover non-residential buildings and structures, including office buildings, retail spaces, industrial facilities, and multifamily housing projects. They address new construction, tenant improvements, major renovations, and specialized installations.

Trade permits

Trade permits are for work related to electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and irrigation systems. These are often required for both residential and commercial projects and must be obtained by licensed professionals. 

Trade permits ensure that specialized installations are safe and comply with local codes. Electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and irrigation specialists must apply for these permits before beginning any related work.

City of Dallas permit application

Applying for a construction permit in Dallas can be broken down into three main steps: preparing and submitting the application, undergoing plan review, and completing a building or site inspection.

3 steps to get a building permit in Dallas, TX

1. Application preparation and submission

In Dallas, you can apply for a permit online or in person at the Oak Cliff Municipal Center. 

Regardless of which route you choose, you’ll have to first gather all necessary documents, including detailed plans and specs of your project. The City of Dallas requires applicants to submit two sets of plans for review. For some projects, Texas state law requires plans sealed by an engineer or architect.

For best results, use permit software like PermitFlow to expedite your application process and maximize your chances of being approved on the first go.

Note: Alert: As of May 1, 2024, all commercial applications must be submitted online. 

Zoning consultations

The City of Dallas offers zoning consultations in person and virtually. These consultations are intended to give you foundational knowledge for your site and help you understand the basics of zoning district regulations, land-use provisions, and the permitting process.

A basic consultation (20 minutes) is free, while an enhanced consultation is $100 for up to 1 hour. You can schedule your consultation online or visit the Oak Cliff Municipal Center to meet in person.

2. Plan review

After submitting your application, your project will undergo a plan review. This process ensures your plans comply with local building codes and zoning laws. 

The review may involve several city departments, depending on the nature of your project. Be prepared to make any necessary revisions to your plans if requested by the reviewers.

Wait time varies, but current typical times to first round of review are:

  • Residential permits: 1-3 business days
  • Commercial remodels: 12 business days
  • New commercial construction: 20+ business days
Pro tip: Dallas offers an expedited plan review process through its Q-Team. If you’re in a rush, consider paying for the expedited review.

3. Building inspection

The Dallas Building Inspection Department Inspection Services is responsible for ensuring new construction adheres to city codes and regulations. All projects in progress must undergo an inspection.

City of Dallas building inspections are required to maximize safety. As such, new construction projects are usually inspected several times during various phases of construction. 

Whoever applied for the permit is the one responsible for scheduling a building inspection. You can schedule your inspection online or by calling the City’s automated inspection line at 214-670-5313.

Pro tip: Check the City’s inspections page online to determine if your project requires an inspection.

Simplify the permitting process with PermitFlow

Want to get your Dallas building permit quickly and reduce hiccups along the way? Partner with PermitFlow.

PermitFlow’s permitting software automates the process of preparing and submitting a permit application to save you time. We’ll help you understand the nuances of Dallas’s permitting process and ensure compliance with the City’s codes and regulations.

From the intuitive PermitFlow dashboard, you can submit, track, and pull permits effortlessly — there’s no need to navigate the City’s clunky website. Trust the PermitFlow team to handle the legwork for you and get your permit approved as quickly as possible.

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