City of Austin Building Permit Services Commercial & Residential Property

city of austin building permitIf you are planning on buying a commercial building or leasing commercial real estate Austin you will more than likely need to do some sort of construction and/or tenant improvements. Whether it’s office, retail or warehouse space, if it’s located within the City of Austin, and depending on the scope of work, you or your contractor will probably be required to pull a permit before getting started.

Services City of Austin Building Permits Provides

  • Issuing building permits
  • Issuing trade permits such as mechanical, electrical, plumbing, & irrigation permits
  • Permit payment services
  • Registering licensed contractors to perform work (e.g. mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and irrigation)

When is Permit Required in Austin?

A building permit in Austin is required to construct, erect, alter, enlarge, improve, repair, convert, remove, demolish, or move any structure or building within the City’s zoning jurisdiction or in particular MUDs (Municipal Utility Districts). The permit can be 

Before a permit is issued all building plans must be reviewed by Residential or Commercial Building Plan Review. Depending on the scope of work a trade permit (e.g. mechanical, electrical, plumbing, irrigation) may also be required. To determine whether or not your project needs a permit call (512) 978-4000

What Type of Commercial Work Does Not Require a Permit?

 An Austin building permit is not required for the following commercial work, however you still must comply with applicable city codes, building codes, etc. To see the full list and details of commercial work in Austin not requiring permit click here.


  • Finish work such as carpeting, tiling, painting, cabinetry, counter work, etc.
  • Movable and non-fixed fixtures, racks, counters, cases, and partitions no higher than 5 feet 9 inches
  • One story detached buildings used as storage & tool sheds, playhouses, etc that are not greater than 120 sf, provided not in a flood zone
  • Fences 8 feet high or less provided not in a flood zone
  • Retaining walls 4 ft or less
  • Driveways and sidewalks no more than 30 inches above grade


  • Replacing cables and cords on portable appliances
  • Replacing dimmer switches or fans
  • Replacement of electrodes, transformers, overcurrent protection devices, etc of same size, capacity, voltage, amperage, etc.


  • Portable heating appliances, cooling, ventilation equipment, evaporative coolers
  • Replacing any parts that do not alter its previous approved status or make unsafe


  • Work needed to stop leaking drain, waste, soil, or vent pipe
  • Work needed to clear a stoppage
  • Repairing and replacing fixtures and exposed traps

What Happens During Construction and After Permitted Work is Completed?

Depending on the scope and type of work that was permitted an inspection will be required during construction. After the work is fully completed whoever a final inspection must be performed. The inspection scheduling is the responsibility of the permit holder. This can be initiated by a licensed contractor, homeowner if listed at general contractor on permit, official agents registered under contractor, or a master trade contractor.

When Do Permits Expire?

Permits are only active for 180 days. On the 181st day the permit will expire if a project has not received any inspections. If you let the permit expire this must be resolved before they city will issue a new permit. To check if your property has an expired permit call (512) 978-4000.

City of Austin Permit Search

The Austin permit search tool allows the public to do searches for permits, plan reviews, inspections, and the status of those permits/cases. You can also view issued construction permits and the online user manual for public search assistance.

The city of Austin provides this tool so registered users can apply for permits online, pay for permits, schedule inspections, apply for right of way permits and assign permits.



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