Austin Building Permits – Find Out If You Need One
Thanks for visiting our Austin Building Permits Page. When you sell your home, the seller disclosure asks if you did any work without permits, when permits were required. In order to answer this question truthfully, we recommend being proactive about getting permits. Permits are obtained at the Austin development assistance office on Barton Springs Road. Here you can discuss what you would like to do, and which permits are required.
The permit history of an existing home can be checked online. It’s a good idea to check the history of permits for a home that you are buying. You can do this during the option period. If there is an expired permit on the home, be sure it is closed. Usually the seller can take care of this. This will clear the way for new permits, which you will need for repairs or remodeling in the future. Click the above link to the City Permit search tool. Enter the address of the property. Enter the date range for the permit history that you want to view.
The City offers express permits that you may may obtain without the normal plan review process. Express permits enable walk-in customers to submit an application and receive a same day permit, provided there are no unresolved issues. View a list of projects that qualify as Express projects.
A permit is required for any new structure, or addition to an existing structure. Also, for demolition of a structure. And, for any remodeling that includes moving walls, plumbing, electrical, or HVAC lines. Paint, tape/float, wood floors, carpet, tile, countertops, cabinets, and other surface changes do not require permits. The line between needing or not needing a permit if often a fine line. For example, some sheetrock may be replaced, but after a certain number of sheets, a permit is needed.
Take a look at the residential permit checklist.
Infill refers to “filling in” vacant or under-utilized lots in certain neighborhood planning areas. This booklet discusses undersized lots, secondary apartments, granny flats, corner stores, and mixed use development. It provides info on building set-backs, impervious cover, and placement of porches and garages.
Get Answers to Building Questions
We have gone in person to the Development Assistance Center many times to discuss a property. And, we advise clients to go in when they have questions about adding on, or making any changes to the size or floorplan of their home. The Development office is located at:
505 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 512-978-4000
First, confirm their hours of operation. You can then drop in and meet with a planner for a consultation. They will also check the permit history, and make sure there are no expired permits.
This is a good place to discuss the property zoning – and find out what that zoning allows you to do. For example, if you would like to add a garage or “granny flat” in back, this is a good place to start for basic information.
The Austin McMansion Ordinance may be a factor in your design choices. It would be advisable to get the help of an architect or builder to make sure you conform to impervious cover and other standards.
What if I’m not in the City?
We have heard it said that you “don’t need permits” if you are in a county area. Not true! You will have to make some calls to find out what you need. Here is a blog post on permits for our project in Travis County.
Thanks for visiting our Austin Building Permits page! We hope this helps you to become a more informed home buyer.
And, remember, if you need somebody, and not just anybody, to help you find a new home, give us a call! We will watch your back all the way. We are DIY remodelers and know how important it is to know and comply with Austin building permits. Get to know us here: Experienced Austin Realtors