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 2021 International Residential Code, and Chapter 25-12, Technical Codes (local amendments). 


Residential permit applications, revisions and updates can now be submitted with the online form:

Residential Intake Request Form

Residential Intake Request Form

Feedback for this new submission process can be submitted with this survey.

 

If you have a quick question or need more guidance, try the Chat feature on the bottom right corner of this page. Using Chat, Residential Plan Intake staff can help you:

  • Determine if a plan review is required for your project
  • Learn what to expect during the plan review process
  • Know what is needed for your application submission
  • Link your project to your Austin Build + Connect (AB+C) account

Chat is available 7:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Starting in March 2022, the Residential Intake Team will be unavailable on Wednesdays for chat in an effort to focus on catching up on previous requests to reduce overall wait times.


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 Permit

The following projects qualify for a Residential Express permit if the property is not located in a floodplain. The turnaround time to issue Express permits is one business day. To apply, download the Residential Express Permit Application (PDF) and apply online with the Residential Intake Request form above.

  • Replacing windows (size for size)
  • Adding/removing siding in excess of 128 sq. ft.
  • Adding/removing brick
  • Adding/removing insulation
  • Repairing a roof to the extent of replacing decking boards in excess of 128 sq. ft.
  • Repairing foundation without increasing impervious cover in excess of 128 sq. ft.
  • 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 128 sq.ft.
    • Smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide alarms must meet code requirements

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)
Interactive Guide to the Residential New Construction and Addition Application

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, if they meet the Eligibility Requirements:

A Homestead Affidavit is required:

Homestead Affidavit (PDF)

Submit online with the Service Center Request Form.

What is a Homeowner’s Permit?
A person who is not licensed to perform electrical, mechanical and plumbing work may perform within a residence and on property owned by the person if the requirements of this section are met. In order to qualify for a homestead permit, you must have a homestead exemption filed with Travis Central Appraisal District, located at 8314 Cross Park Drive 78754 and available by phone at 512-834-9138.
 

Eligibility Requirements

  1. The residence is the person’s residence.
  2. The work does not include electrical, mechanical and plumbing work that involves (a) the main electric service; (b) reclaiming and charging a ducted heating and air-conditioning system containing refrigerant; (c) natural gas plumbing systems, liquefied petroleum plumbing systems and auxiliary water system. 
  3. The residence is the person’s principal residence.
  4. The person has not secured a homestead permit for another residence within the prior 12-month period.
  5. The person must have owned and occupied the property as of January 1st of the tax year in which the person applies for a homestead permit.
  6. A person must obtain a homestead permit and pay required permit fees before beginning any electrical, mechanical and plumbing work. A person must apply for a homestead permit in person and must file an affidavit stating that the location at which the work is to be done is the person’s homestead.
  7. A person who has obtained a homestead permit may not allow or cause any person to perform electrical, mechanical or plumbing work under the permit. The building official may suspend or revoke a homestead permit if the work done under the permit is performed by anyone other than the person who obtained the permit. 
  8. A person may not transfer a permit to another person.
  9. A person performing electrical, mechanical and plumbing work under a homestead permit shall present a picture identification to verify that the person is authorized to perform work under the homestead permit when requested by the building official or their designee.
  10. A homestead permit shall not be issued for electrical, mechanical and plumbing work on a mobile home, modular or manufactured home unless the homeowner owns the land on which the mobile, modular or manufactured home is located. A homestead permit shall not be issued if the mobile, modular or manufacture home is located in a mobile home park, mobile home community or other commercial premises. 

Your Responsibilities as the Permit Holder
You are responsible for the work performed and are required to request inspections through  our automated inspection request system. A permit expires on the 181st day if the project has not scheduled nor received an inspection. A "Canceled" and/or "Failed/No Work Performed" inspection result does not extend the expiration date.

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 with the Residential Intake Request Form - 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 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. 
     
  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. Submit any corrections (Update) with the Residential Intake Request Form. 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. 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 use the Service Center Request Form.
     
  8. Inspections. Once your permits have been activated, you may schedule a pre-construction meeting then start construction and the inspection process.
    Building Inspections
     
  9. Submit any Revision with the Residential Intake Request Form. We understand changes can arise in the field for various reasons. Or you may have deferred submittals for certain items as allowed by code. 
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. Submit any Revision with the Residential Intake Request Form.

Standalone Trade Permits

Most Standalone Trade Permits can be requested directly through the AB+C portal.  If you have any questions or issues, please visit the Service Center page.

Variances

To request variances (or modifications) of Zoning site development regulations, off-street parking requirements, and sign regulations, visit the Board of Adjustments support web page.

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

Apply with the Residential Intake Request Form

Supplementary Forms for Residential Plan Review

​​

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

FAQs 

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.

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.

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 fill 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. The project’s plan review fees will be assessed under the Interior Remodel Plan Review Fee schedule based on the square footage of the project. 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

 

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

  • 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.
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

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

What are the requirements for Accessory Dwelling Units in Austin?

Visit Accessory Dwelling Units to learn more.

Do I need a permit to build a fence?

Learn more on our Fences webpage.

 

Questions? 

Call 3-1-1 (inside the city limits), or 512-974-2000 (outside the city limits).

Schedule an appointment for general questions.

Starting in January 2021, the Residential Plan Review Team will be unavailable on Fridays for phone and email inquiries. In an effort to reduce overall project review times, team members will be focused exclusively on reviewing project updates.

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

We respond to calls and emails in the order received. Under normal conditions, we typically respond within 24 hours. As of February 1, 2021, unusually high volume is resulting in longer response times for initial application processing. Please refer to the update at the top of this page for expected response times in the current week. We appreciate your patience.