Modified Operations:
We Are Ready To Serve You.

Based on the Order by the City of Austin and Travis County to “Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe”, all in-person customer services remain suspended. Most of our services are still available by phone, video conference, email and our online portal, Austin Build + Connect (AB+C). For information on our modified services, please visit our DSD-COVID-19 page.

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The Residential Plan Review Division reviews new construction, additions, interior remodeling and demolition of single-family, duplex or two-family houses and/or accessory buildings on one lot. Residential construction projects are reviewed for compliance with Chapter 25-2  of the Land Development Code, the 2015 International Residential Code, and Chapter 25-12, Technical Codes (local amendments).


Services provided by Residential Plan Review 

Preliminary Plan Review

A Preliminary Plan Review allows the owner or owner's agent(s) to meet with plan reviewers to discuss preliminary design or code issues.

These meetings are designed to identify items that need to be addressed or modified before construction plans are submitted to the City for permit review.

All PPRs are coordinated by the Expedited Building Plan Review Program. Prices for a PPR vary depending on the disciplines involved and the number of disciplines requested. The fees are charged by each discipline’s hourly rate. Refer to the Expedited Review Website for a complete list of fees by review discipline.

Preliminary Plan Review Request Form (PDF)

Express Permits

Express permits are offered for minor scopes of work for residential properties. Processing time for applications submitted via email is approximately 5 days. For same-day service, please see our customer walk-in hours. 

  • Replacing windows (size for size)
  • Replacing exterior doors (size for size)
  • Adding/removing siding
  • Adding/removing brick
  • Adding/removing insulation
  • Repairing a roof to the extent of replacing decking boards
  • Repairing foundation without increasing impervious cover
  • Bathroom remodel (tub/shower conversions) & kitchen remodel
    • Only tub/shower/sink surround drywall can be removed
    • Walls cannot be relocated or removed
    • Plumbing fixtures cannot be relocated or added
  • Interior non-structural exploratory
    • Remove drywall/insulation only for purposes of structural observation or evaluation
    • Smoke detectors and co alarms must be to code
  • Drywall repair only
    • Repair in excess of 64 sq.ft.
    • Smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide alarms must meet code requirements

Residential Express Permit Application (PDF)

Small Projects

The following application types qualify as a Small Project:
 

Small Projects will be billed at the Small Projects Plan Review rate as per the adopted fee schedule:
Residential Building Plan Review & Permit Fees (PDF)

If the scope of the project exceeds that of a small project(s), the plan review (PR) will need to be withdrawn and the project resubmitted using the New Construction and Addition permit application:

Residential New Construction and Addition (PDF)

The review fees for the small project will not be refunded per the fee schedule or applied to the new permit application.

New Construction / Addition / Remodel

Projects that exceed the limitations of an express permit or small project will be reviewed per the Residential Review Times. The chart below reflects new review times which became effective on May 16, 2017. These review times will be reviewed on an annual basis beginning in Fiscal Year 2018 and may be adjusted based on the availability of additional resources, the mandate of additional code requirements without additional resources, or a reduction of development within the City of Austin.

The review times are published in Section 15.7 of the Building Criteria Manual, and include the review times reflected below:

RESIDENTIAL PLAN REVIEW TYPE REVIEW TIMES
(Business Days)
New Construction & Additions 15
Interior Remodels 5
Update Submittals and Revisions Matches Original Application Review Time
Express Typically Same Day
Demolition 5
Relocation 5
S.M.A.R.T. Housing 5
New Construction, Volume Builder Master Set*
Effective October 1, 2017
10
New Construction, Volume Builder Participant with approved Master Set* 5

* Volume Builder application review times revert to New Construction review times when an additional review group, such as Tree or Fire review is required. Master Sets are for Zoning and Technical review only as other reviews are performed during Subdivision, Site Plan, or formal review.

 

Homeowner’s Permit

A person can obtain a Homeowner’s (homestead) permit in person at the DSD Service Center (formerly known as the Permit Center), if they meet the Eligibility Requirements:

Homeowner's Permit (PDF)

 A Homestead Affidavit is required:

Homestead Affidavit (PDF)

Service Center contact information and hours of operation.

Volume Builder Program

A volume builder is a builder constructing at least 5 single or two-family dwelling units on lots within the same subdivision, within the same townhouse complex, or on a multi-family zoned lot with single or two-family dwellings.

The subdivision must have a minimum of 10 lots with the exception of amended plats already in the program. Administrative waivers will be considered on a case by case basis if a builder does not meet the requirements. Learn more about the Volume Builder Program.

Demolition / Relocation Requirements

Relocation and demolition applications are forwarded to the Historic Preservation Office for review of historic applicability if the structure is 45 years old or older

Processes and Requirements 

Work Exempt from Permit

A permit is not required for certain types of work. Please reference the Work Exempt section for each adopted code listed.  Work exempt from permit must still comply with applicable Building Codes, City Codes and all other applicable ordinances. 

Certificate of Compliance Program

Self-Certification for Certified Building Designers and Texas-licensed Architects is offered for certain qualifying projects. 
Learn more about the Certificate of Compliance Program

The Permitting Process
  1. Preliminary Meeting. If an owner and/or the owner’s agents wish to meet with staff to discuss preliminary design and/or construction issues, request a Preliminary Plan Review Meeting (PPR) at any time prior to submitting a permit application to Residential Plan Review. These meetings, conducted by the Expedited Building Plan Review team, are designated to assist the owner and/or design team identify items that need to be addressed or modified before construction plans are submitted to the City for permit review. The PPR does not guarantee approval of plans. The Preliminary Plan Review meeting is required for any general pre-application consultation that needs more than 20 minutes. 
    Preliminary Plan Review Request Form (PDF)
     
  2. Prepare. Download the appropriate application and review checklists to determine what documentation you will need to gather for your permit application. View Residential Building Review applications and checklists.
     
  3. Expired Permits. All expired permits (building permits and trade permits (BP, MP, EP, PP) must be resolved. Click here to view permit history (complete "Search by Property" fields and date range.)
     
  4. Apply. There are currently two options available to submit a project online:

    Direct Email - Email the completed Residential Plan Review Application and drawings/supporting documents* to residentialreview@austintexas.gov. Once your project is accepted for review, you will receive an invoice and link to upload all the required documents and drawings outlined within the Commercial Plan Review Application.  The invoice can be paid on the AB+C portal. Once the invoice is paid, your project will be distributed for review and your review time will start. *If the file size exceeds the limits for email, then please use the AB+C Portal option below.

    AB+C Portal - Please create an account at AB+C.  Then login to the AB+C portal.  Select “Apply for Permit/Case”. Select “Plan Review - Residential” and follow the steps within the portal to define your project and upload your drawings. Intake staff will review your application for completeness and will contact you if more information is required. Once the application is complete, an invoice will be created. The invoice can be paid on the AB+C portal.  Once the invoice is paid, your project will be distributed for review and your review time will start. 
     

  5. Plan Review. Review staff reviews plans in the order they are received and based on the mandated review times. Once a review is complete, you will receive approval notification or a Master Comment Report via email which must be addressed by the owner or owner’s agent prior to permit application approval.
     
  6. Corrections. Make corrections to the required documentation as outlined in the Master Comment Report. If you have questions about comments, reach out to the assigned review for clarification and they will respond to your email or call within 24 hours. If you need more than 20 minutes or need to meet with more than 1 review discipline, please schedule a Plan Review Consultation by contacting your reviewer directly.  Once all corrections have been made, email residentialreview@austintexas.gov and inform the coordinating reviewer that an update is ready to be submitted.  The coordinating reviewer will review your request and create an invoice. Once your update is accepted for review, you will receive an invoice (if applicable) and link to upload the updated documents and drawings. Please note that when submitting an update, the full plan set must be submitted, not just the updated sheets. The invoice can be paid on the AB+C Portal. You may have to repeat this step if deficiencies remain. 
     
  7. Permit Issuance. Once the final reviewer approves your application, the plans go back to our coordinating reviewer who finalize the process. This step can take a one to two days. Once the required permits have been created you will receive an email indicating that the permit(s) are pending activation. To activate permits, please email permitsubmittal@austintexas.gov.  
     
  8. Inspections. Once your permits have been activated, you may schedule a preconstruction meeting then start construction and the inspection process.
    Building Inspections
     
  9. Revisions. We understand changes can arise in the field for various reasons. Or you may have deferred submittals for certain items as allowed by code. Submit revisions to the approved permit application using the same steps as above using the Plan Review Revision Form:
    Plan Review Revision Form (PDF)
Drawing Requirements

Drawing requirements are dependent on the work and scope of your project and can be found under the section below titled Forms and Applications.

Review Times

The chart below reflects new review times which became effective on May 16, 2017.

These review times will be reviewed on an annual basis beginning in Fiscal Year 2018 and may be adjusted based on the availability of additional resources, the mandate of additional code requirements without additional resources, or a reduction of development within the City of Austin.

The review times are published in Section 15.7 of the Building Criteria Manual, and include the review times reflected below:

RESIDENTIAL PLAN REVIEW TYPE REVIEW TIMES
(Business Days)
New Construction & Additions 15
Interior Remodels 5
Update Submittals and Revisions Matches Original Application Review Time
Express Typically Same Day
Demolition 5
Relocation 5
S.M.A.R.T. Housing 5
New Construction, Volume Builder Master Set*
Effective October 1, 2017
10
New Construction, Volume Builder Participant with approved Master Set* 5

* Volume Builder application review times revert to New Construction review times when an additional review group, such as Tree or Fire review is required. Master Sets are for Zoning and Technical review only as other reviews are performed during Subdivision, Site Plan, or formal review.

Project Status

The status of your application can be checked online through the Austin Build +Connect (AB+C) Portal

Fees

The cost of a project depends on the scope of work.  Please note that the permits fees are separate from the permit application fees.

Residential Building Plan Review & Permit Fees (PDF)

Revisions

Revisions are required for changes to construction permits; for adding or removing a trade permit; and for changes to the approved design, after the application for permit has been approved and permits have been created and before the structure has passed final inspection.  

To submit a revision email the completed Plan Review Revision Form and revision scope of work narrative to residentialreview@austintexas.gov. Intake staff will review your application and create an invoice. Once your revision is accepted for review, you will receive an invoice and link to upload the updated documents and drawings. Please note that when submitting a revision, the full plan set must be submitted, not just the revised sheets. The invoice can be paid on the AB+C Portal. You may have to repeat this step if deficiencies remain.

Plan Review Revision Form (PDF)

Standalone Trade Permits

Most Standalone Trade Permits can be requested directly through the AB+C portal.  If you have any questions or issues, please contact the Service Center at permitsubmittal@austintexas.gov.

Additional Reviews that may be required 

Visitability

Construction of a new dwelling unit with habitable space on the first floor must comply with the Visitability Ordinance

Visitability Plan Sample  (PDF)

Zoning and Overlays

Check the zoning to determine if the property is within a zoning district that allows for that use.

Zoning and Overlays

Tree Ordinance compliance

View submittal requirements and application instructions

Tree Ordinance compliance

Subdivision Plat / Legal Lot Status

If the project is on a tract of land that is not platted in a subdivision filed on record with the City of Austin, the applicant will be directed to the Development Assistance Center to determine if the project qualifies for a platting exception.

Floodplain proximity

Projects within 100’ of the 100-year floodplain will require additional floodplain review.

Floodplain proximity

Erosion Hazard Zone

An Erosion Hazard Zone review is required whenever the property is within 100’ from the centerline of a creek/stream bed. 

Erosion Hazard Zone

Grading and Drainage 

A Grading and Drainage review is needed when a storm inlet is within 10’ of a driveway curb cut.

Grading and Drainage 

Austin Water Utility Taps 

An Austin Water Utility Tap is needed whenever a new tap is being added to the property.

Austin Water Utility Taps 

On-site Sewage Facility (OSSF) 

An OSSF review is needed whenever a property has a septic system and conditioned space is being added to the property, adding bedrooms, increasing the footprint of development of the property (adding a pool, patio, garage, etc). 

On-site Sewage Facility (OSSF) 

Fire Prevention 

A Fire review is needed whenever the area of a structure exceeds 3,600 SF total under roof, the property is located within 200’ of a hazardous pipeline or when a property owner wants to added a sprinkler system regardless of code requirements.

Fire Prevention 

Historic Applicability

Any structures 45 years old or older will be forwarded for review by the Historic Preservation Office. Properties that are zoned historic or are in a historic district will also be forwarded for review by the Historic Preservation Office.

Historic Applicability


New Procedures or Requirements 

  • Private Restrictive Covenants, City Zoning Laws, and City Permit Applications
     
  • Consultation Fee
    Though this is not a new fee, clarity on its administration is needed. The consultation fee will be used when staff spends extra time with an applicant to assist them in getting their permit application approved. The addition of this fee will be communicated to the applicant prior to it being added to the project and is only applicable to projects that are in the review process.

Forms and Applications 

Guide to Residential Plan Review Applications

Residential Zoning Application Guidelines (PDF)

This guide gives step by step instructions on how to fill out the New Construction & Addition Permit Application.  The information can also be used to fill out all other Residential Permit Applications.  Please review this document when filling out the permit application.   

Applications for Residential Plan Review

 

Supplementary Forms for Residential Plan Review

​​​​

Aids for Residential Plan Review
Residential Inspection Checklists (For Reference Purposes)

FAQs 

What application do I need to use?

Applications are project specific and can be found in the section above titled Forms and Applications.

How do I fill out the application?

The Residential Zoning Application Guidelines (PDF) contains information on where items can be found online in order to fill out the application.

Can I apply online?

Residential Permit Applications can only be submitted electronically at this time via ResidentialReview@austintexas.gov

Do I need a permit? 

A complete list of residential construction work exempt from permit can be found at the following link:

http://austintexas.gov/page/work-exempt-building-permits

Work exempt from permit must still comply with all applicable laws and City code requirements. 

Code references:

What is the scope of an express permit?

Residential Express Permit process may be utilized for some residential projects regulated by the International Residential Code, but may be limited to the following criteria:

  • Window Replacement (size for size)
  • Exterior door replacement (size for size)
  • Adding/Removing Siding
  • Adding/Removing Brick/veneer
  • Roof repair (to the extent of replacing decking)
  • Foundation repair (without increasing impervious cover)
  • Bathroom remodel (tub/shower conversions)
  • Kitchen remodel
  • Ramps
  • Drywall
  • Projects deemed to be similar in nature as determined by the Building Official

Reference code section:  Building Criteria Manual (BCM) 6.2.0 – Express Permits for compliance with the Property Maintenance Code

More information and application can be found in the Express Permits website:  https://austintexas.gov/page/express-permits

What drawings do I need for a permit application? 

Drawing requirements are dependent on the work and scope of your project and can be found in the permit application. The application and checklist for your project can be found above in the section titled Forms and Applications.

For any project exceeding 20 feet in height or more than one story within the Subchapter F boundaries, all permit exhibits must be sealed and signed by a Texas-Registered Architect or Certified Building Designer (National Council of Building Designers or Texas Institute of Building Design)

Visitability exhibits must be sealed and signed by a Texas Registered Architect or Certified Building Designer.

Drawings must be sealed and signed by a Texas Registered Engineer or a Texas Registered Architect for Framing Plans, Wind Bracing Plans and associated details when:

  • Structures are more than one-story
  • Framing and Wind Bracing design does not fully meet the prescriptive requirements of the currently adopted International Residential Code
  • Framing and Wind Bracing is designed to meet the currently adopted International Building Code
  • Decks are 4 feet tall or more measured vertically from the top of the decking to the grade at any point within 36” horizontally

Submittal requirements for new construction and Visitability Ordinance requirements (PDF)

What does “to scale” mean and why is it required?

A scaled drawing is one that shows the object with accurate size reduction or enlargement by a certain amount and can be measured with a common architectural or engineering scale.

A common scale for floor plans is 1/8" = 1’-0” (one eighth inch is equal to one foot).  At the following link, you can find more scales that are acceptable to use.[BS1] 

If you are hand drawing your plans, use graph paper to make it easier to draw to scale. Graph paper comes in various sizes, including a size where each square measures 1/4" (one quarter inch), making it easy for each square to represent 1’-0” (one foot).  Make sure that the graph paper you are using is not based on the metric system.

 Our review staff uses both architectural and engineering scales for measuring plans to check that they meet code requirements. These scales are similar to rulers and can be purchased at office supply, hobby shops, and at some reprographic companies.  If staff cannot verify a measurement, this will lead to delays in the plan review process.

You can find websites and videos online to help you use and read an architectural or engineering scale.

Which plans need to be stamped by an architect or certified building designer (CBD)?

An architect or CBD is required for the architectural drawings if the building is greater than 20’ in height or at least 2 stories for properties that are located in the Subchapter F area of town as noted in the Land Development Code.  Please reference the New Construction and Addition permit application in the section above titled Forms and Applications.

How do I find an architect, engineer, Certified Building Designer?

Refer to the respective professional board to search for Texas registered design professionals and to verify license status.

Texas Board of Architectural Examiners: https://www.tbae.texas.gov/

Texas Board of Professional Engineers: https://engineers.texas.gov/

National Council of Building Designer Certification: https://ncbdc.com/

How can I check the status of my permit application?

The status of your application can be checked online through the Austin Build +Connect (AB+C) Portal

Do I need a demolition application/permit?

A demolition permit is required for the removal of all or part of a structure if a permit was needed to construct it initially.  A demolition permit is not required for the removal of interior walls.   Refer to the Demolition and Relocation website for more information.

What is the difference between major and minor revision?

Changes of an administrative nature that do not require the submission of graphic exhibits are considered minor revisions and incur in a minor revision fee.  Changes that require revised plans to be submitted and/or modify calculations are considered major revisions and incur a major revision fee.

How can I search for a property on Property Profile?

https://www.austintexas.gov/GIS/PropertyProfile/

1.      Start by clicking the Address Search in the upper left hand corner.

2.      Then enter address in lower left hand corner  and click Submit (which is currently hidden) 

3.      Next, click the Change visible map layers. From the drop down menu, select Residential Review.

4.      Move cursor to property, right click and select Find data on the map.

How do I resolve Expired Permits?

Permits expire on the 181st day after the date the permit is issued if the project has not received an inspection, or after the date of the last inspection that shows progress towards completion. 

Ways to resolve an expired permit:

  If another application is submitted for a new scope of work, the scope of work of the expired permit can be rolled over to the new application.  This needs to be clearly indicated in the project description of the new application.  The application used shall be the correct application form for all work permitted including the expired permit scope of work and exhibits shall show all work to be inspected under the new permit.

Submit an Acknowledgment of Expired Permits (PDF).  This is allowed when a new application for permit is submitted for work that is not related to the expired permit.

 Request a permit reactivation.  Per 25-12-269 of the Land Development Code, the Building Official may reactivate a permit for a project that has received no inspections for a period of more than 180 days.  The following is required to process a request for a permit reactivation:

1.      A Request for Permit Extension, Withdrawal, or Reactivation (PDF) shall be submitted to the Service Center and applicable fee paid no later than 180 days after the expiration date.  No incomplete forms will be processed.

2.      The application shall include evidence demonstrating that substantial work required to complete the project was commenced in the 180-day period prior to the expiration date.  Evidence in the form approved by the Building Official may include receipts or invoices for work performed, photos of work, or other evidence acceptable to the Building Official.

3.      A permit reactivated will expire on the 181 day after the date of the reactivation if the project has received no inspections

4.      No more than one reactivation may be approved for a one-and-two family residential structure unless the project complies with all codes and ordinances in effect on the date that the application for reactivation is submitted.  A review may be necessary to determine compliance with code.

A new permit application can be submitted for projects that do not qualify for a reactivation.

Refer to the City of Austin Expired Permits website for more detailed information and contact information.

Am I eligible to get my PR/BP reactivated? 

PRs cannot be reactivated. 

 Building Permits (BP) and/or trade permits can be reactivated if the permit has not already received a reactivation.  If the BP has received a prior reactivation and the framing inspection has passed, another reactivation is possible by filling out the Request for a Permit Extension, Withdrawal, or Reactivation form and submitting it to the Service Center.

If the BP has received a prior reactivation and the framing inspection has not passed, a paid Preliminary Plan Review (PPR) will need to be conducted to ensure that the project meets current code.  If it meets current code, the project can be reactivated.  If it does not, the project will need to be re-permitted as if it hadn’t been built yet.

How can I see the permit history on a property?  

The City of Austin started keeping track of permits on residential properties in the late 1930’s.  Electronic files started in 1980.  The public search function of the Austin Build Connect website will pull all electronic permit history on a property back to 1980.  For permit history prior to 1980, you will need to visit the Research section of the Development Assistance Center to see if there are any “IP” files associated with the property. 

  1. Go to the AB+C website
  2. Click on AB+C Public Search and then scroll to the bottom of the page.
  3. Enter the property address
  4. Change the year of the Start Date to 1980 in order to capture all building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits
How do I resolve unpermitted work?

If the structure was required to file an application for permit at the time it was built, the structure is considered unpermitted work.  In many instances it is possible to get a retroactive permit.  Unpermitted work is not grandfathered to older regulations:  it shall comply with current code and City ordinances.  You can come in during walk-in consultations to get more information regarding what is required to permit the unpermitted work.  You shall bring a plot plan and photos of construction to assist our reviewer in guiding your path to compliance.  Unpermitted work is considered new work for the purpose of review.  There is not a streamlined process to permit unpermitted work.  An application for permit and construction documents are required for most application types.  However, depending on the scope of work and the age of the structure, you may be eligible to have a Texas Registered Architect or Engineer perform a Structural Verification Report in lieu of Structural Drawings.  Certain structures are exempt from structural drawings

No proposed work will be approved on a property until all work done without permit has been permitted and approved.

I just purchased this house, why is it my responsibility to address the unpermitted work? 

The technical building code requires any owner or owner’s authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be performed, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit.  Unpermitted work is part of the property and thereby becomes the responsibility of the property owner.  

The unpermitted work on the home has been there for years, can’t this be “grandfathered”? 

There is no allowance in the code to grandfather work done without a permit.

What is an Amnesty Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and when is one needed?

An Amnesty Certificate of Occupancy is issued when a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is needed and the City of Austin does not have one on record. The City may not have a CO on record because the structure was built prior to the City tracking permit issuance or the property was developed prior to annexation.  It might be needed by a mortgage or insurance company.  

How do I obtain an Amnesty Certificate of Occupancy? 

Amnesty Certificate of Occupancy (PDF)

How can I contact my reviewer? 

Once the permit application fees have been paid, review staff are assigned to the project.  Once assigned, you may contact your reviewer via email or telephone.  Reviewer contact information can be found as follows:

If you have already received a Master Comment Report, your reviewer's contact information will be printed on the report.

Using the Public Search on the Austin Build + Connect website and the property address or the PR number which is given to the applicant at time of submittal, the reviewers name and contact phone number will be listed in the Permit Details under "Process and Notes".

 An appointment with the discipline reviewer is highly encouraged prior to resubmitting in order to make sure that what is being resubmitted addresses all review comments and more importantly does not generate any new comments.  Meetings with reviewers during our walk-in consultation hours is not allowed.  

How do I call inspections or get in touch with my inspector?

The City of Austin Building Inspections website has a Building Inspector phone list.  Additionally, you can search the name and contact information of the inspector assigned to your permit by searching online in the Austin Build + Connect (AB+C) permit search portal.  Permits can be searched by case number or address. You do need to be a permit holder to make an appointment with an inspector

  What do inspectors check for at each inspection?

Residential Inspection Checklists are available for:

  How do I resolve a code violation?

It is very important to ensure proactive communication with the city staff assigned to your code violation case and to act timely.  Make sure to understand what is required to clear the code violation.  If the code violation requires a residential building permit, you can come in during walk-in consultations and meet with one of our reviewers to get more information regarding using the correct type of application and submittal requirements.  Click on our Residential Review website to get our most current walk in consultation hours and location.

Homeowners that are not employing the services of a professional to assist with the permit process are welcome to contact the Development Process Team at DevelopmentProcessTeam@austintexas.gov or call 512-974-1040.  This team can

  • Provide information about the development process
  • Offer a single point of contact for the duration of the project
  • Connect customers with the right resources at every step.
What is my zoning (and by extension, what can I do with my property)? 

The zoning for a property can be found online using the Property Profile website.  This website is the same one used by Residential Review staff when they conduct permit application reviews.

Find your zoning via the Property Profile online tool 

1. After the Property Profile page loads, follow these steps: Click on the “Address Search” Icon at the top of the page

2.           Enter the address in the Address Search Field

3.           Click "Submit"

4.           The page will populate with information about the property. In the first section there is a Zoning Profile link.  Clicking on the text will take you to the Zoning Profile Report that will tell you your zoning district and zoning overlays (such as a Neighborhood Plan), and Zoning Ordinances.

After the zoning is determined, you will need to go to the City of Austin’s Land Development Code (LDC) section 25-2-492 [BS1] to find out the total allowed building coverage, impervious cover, setbacks, floor to area ratio (FAR) is applicable and number of dwelling unit.

Determine what you can do with your property

1.      Once you have determined what you want to build: a new home, addition, interior remodel, deck, shed, etc., Residential Review staff can guide you to applicable regulations.

2.      Depending on your project needs, you may want to hire a licensed professional such as an engineer, architect, or certified building designer (CBD) to provide assistance with the project or completing the permitting process.  In some instances one or more of these professionals will be needed depending on the type of project.  See the Building Criteria Manual Section 4 – Residential Construction.

3.      Some customers also choose to hire permit expediters to help them apply for permits. You can search for permit expediters on the internet.

What is Subchapter F, AKA the McMansion ordinance?

Subchapter F is a detailed section of the City’s zoning code that outlines the massing of residential construction in order to provide scale and context with existing neighborhoods.  The standards were developed in 2006 and can be found at the following link:

http://www.austintexas.gov/department/residential-design-compatability-standards

Are there size and location requirements for an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)? 

ADUs are limited in size and location per the following section of the LDC:
§ 25-2-774 - TWO-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL USE.

 When is visitability required? Are there times when visitability is waived?

Visitability applies to the construction of new dwelling unit with habitable space on the first floor.  Visitability has requirements for the interior of the home and requirements for one exterior accessible visitable route connecting the garage, public street, public sidewalk or driveway to the visitable entrance.  The requirement for the provision of an exterior visitable route can be waived if the site has a slope of 10% or greater prior to development (Slope Waiver), or if the provision of an accessible exterior visitable route is not feasible without a switchback ramp (Switchback Waiver). 

Reference code section:  R320: Visitability, Local Amendments to the 2015 International Residential Code.
Visitability Plan Example

What are setbacks? 

Setbacks are the area of a property that are to remain free and open to the sky above.  Limited items can be built in the setback and are outlined in the LDC section 25-2-513.[BS1]  

However, other residential zoning classifications have different setbacks.  Please refer to LDC section 25-2-492 for setbacks per zoning classification.

https://library.municode.com/tx/austin/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT25LADE_CH25-2ZO_SUBCHAPTER_CUSDERE_ART2PRUSDERE_DIV1RETA_S25-2-492SIDERE

What can encroach into a setback? 

Limited items can project or be built in a setback.  The City of Austin’s Land Development Code section 25-2-513 outlines these allowances.  Please note that mechanical units and pool equipment are allowed in a required yard setback.

https://library.municode.com/tx/austin/codes/land_development_code?nodeId=TIT25LADE_CH25-2ZO_SUBCHAPTER_CUSDERE_ART2PRUSDERE_DIV2REALDI_S25-2-513OPREYA

What is Floor Area Ratio (FAR)?  

FAR is the ratio of floor area to lot size.  It determines how much building area can be built on certain properties.

Can I do an interior remodel with a garage conversion? 

The answer is yes.  However, you will be required to fil out a Residential Interior Remodel Application and a Garage Conversion and Carport/Porch Enclosure application.  The same set of drawings will be used for both applications; no need to duplicate the required submittal copies.  We will create one folder for the review of both applications.  They will both be considered small projects and each will incur in a small project reduced plan review fee.  Only one Plan Review (PR) folder will be created in our database and only one set of permits will be created for both applications.  The review time will match the review time of the application type with the longest review time.  Current information for review fees and review times can be found on our website.

How many sides of a carport can I close with walls? 

Carports shall be open on not less than two sides.  Carports not open on two or more sides shall be considered to be a garage and shall comply with code requirements for garages.  Reference code section: 2015 IRC R309.2 Carports.

Is raising the roof of my house still considered an interior remodel?

Raising the roof of a house is considered an addition.  When raising the roof of a house, a Residential New Construction and Addition application shall be submitted.  If the house is located in a condominium regime site plan, a Residential New Condominium Permit Application shall be submitted and a Site Plan exemption may be required.  Check with the Development Assistance Center (DAC) if your home is located in a condominium regime site plan to find out if your work will require a site plan exemption.

Do I need a permit to build a deck less than 200 Sq. Ft in an area not attached to the dwelling and less than 30” in height above ground?

A deck with this description is not required to file an application for a building permit, as long as it is not located in a flood hazard area.  Reference code section:  R105.2 Work exempt from permit, Local Amendments to the 2015 International Residential Code.  Be aware that work exempt from permit must still comply with the Residential Code and all other applicable laws and City Code requirements.

 When do I need a Structural Verification Report?

We require foundation plans, wind bracing plans and framing plans for new construction. However, we allow a Structural Verification Report in lieu of structural drawings for the following project types:

  • Conversion of a carport with existing foundation open on no more than 2 sides to a single story habitable space
  • Interior remodels where no additions to the building are proposed
  • Changes of use with remodel only where no additions to the building are proposed
  • Verification of existing foundations less than 10 years of age
  • Verification of existing framing and wall bracing for structures between 5-10 years of age
  • At the discretion of the reviewer or the building inspector as necessary to determine compliance with technical code requirements.

Reference code section:  Building Criteria Manual (BCM) 4.4.4.6.

Do I need a permit to build walkways (Flat work) on my property?

Sidewalks and driveways not located in the Public Right of Way do not require a building permit.  However, be aware that work exempt from permit must still comply with the Residential Code and all other applicable laws and City Code requirements.  Reference code section:  R105.2 Work exempt from permit, Local Amendments to the 2015 International Residential Code

Do I need a Demolition permit to remove a fireplace/chimney?

Yes, removal of all or part of a structure requires a Demolition Permit Application per LDC 25-11-37. 

What items need to be shown on a floor plan? Can I draw the drawings myself?

Floor plans are to include (but are not limited to) the following items: drawing scale, room labels, wall measurements, ceiling heights, doors and windows including sizes or schedule, smoke detector and carbon monoxide locations, dimensioned locations of new plumbing fixtures, handrail/guardrail locations and room square footages.  Drawings can be done by hand as long as they are legible, drawn to scale, and they provide the required information to perform a responsible review.  A complete list of submittal requirements can be found in the Building Criteria Manual (BCM) 4.4.0:  Residential Submittal Requirements


Questions? 

Call 3-1-1 (inside the city limits), or 512-974-2000 (outside the city limits). You may also contact us via e-mail: residentialreview@austintexas.gov.

If an appointment is needed to address review comments, please schedule with your assigned Reviewer. 

We do our best to return all calls and provide an email response within 24 hours. In the unfortunate event that you are not receiving a response in this time, please contact a supervisor or the manager. Please reference the organization chart. Scroll to “Section 2.1 Building Plan Review” to find the appropriate point of escalation.  Please start with the direct supervisor over the staff with whom you are working.


Office Hours

Intake & General Information:
Monday - Friday
8 am – 12 pm

Review Staff Consultations:
Monday - Friday
8 am – 12 pm

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