Knowledge Base

How can I acquire a building permit?

The Building Permit application process is two-fold. The first component is review and approval by the Zoning Department for the land use as regulated by the Zoning Code. The second component is review and approval by PLI for life safety as regulated by the current Building Codes. 

Zoning and Development Review Division, Department of City Planning

step 1: Zoning Approval Process

Department of Permits, Licences, and Inspections, main line - 412-255-2175

step 2: PLI review and permit issuance

1. Residential Building Permits are required for work to be performed on single or two-family dwellings

For information on applying for a Residential Building Permit, follow this link.

Not sure if you need a building permit for your residential project?  Follow this link for a comprehensive list. 

2. Commercial Building Permits are required for all work performed on structures other than single or two-family dwellings.  This includes multifamily buildings with three or more units and mixed-use buildings with residential units and commercial spaces. 
For information on applying for a Commercial Building Permit, follow this link. 

Not sure if you need a building permit for your commercial project?  Follow this link for a comprehensive list.


Here's a break down: 


Step 1. Zoning Counter

  • To apply for a building permit, one must start at the Zoning Counter on the 3rd Floor of 200 Ross Street, Pittsburgh. To verify the need for one, please call (412) 255-2181.
  • An application for a building permit must be made by a contractor licensed by the City of Pittsburgh unless the work is being performed by the owner and occupier of a one- or two-family dwelling and no employees are used. More information about a General Contractor’s License can be found here. All applications can be made by the owner, contractor, or authorized agent.
  • Staff at the Zoning Counter will review the proposed work to determine if an occupancy permit is also required. If an occupancy permit is required, this approval must be obtained before further processing of a building permit. To contact the Zoning Counter, call (412) 255-2246 or (412) 255-2235 or 412-255-2241.
  • What to bring with you
    • Correct address of the job site.
    • Owner’s name, address, and phone number
    • A check or money order to pay for the permit. Cash is not accepted.
    • The table of permit fees can be found here.
  • If an occupancy permit is required, you may need a plot plan to obtain the prerequisite zoning approval.
  • Any required construction plans. The seal of a registered engineer or architect may be required prior to plan approval.
  • Contractor registration information not previously registered for the year.

Step 2. File Room

  • Once zoning approval is received, the applicant will be instructed to proceed down the hall to the file room where a clerk will check for outstanding code violation notices.

Step 3. Engineer’s Counter

  • The applicant will then be directed down the hall to the engineer’s counter where a plan review engineer will examine the application and any required plans.

Step 4. License and Cashier Counter

  • The final stop is at the cashier, where payment is made by check or money order.


  • It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the appropriate inspector. The inspector’s name and phone number may be found in bold print on the permit. Required inspections include:
    • Footer inspection: after trenches or ditches are evacuated, forms and reinforcements are in place and before footer is poured or constructed.
    • Rough-in inspections: after the completion and prior to the concealment of framing, fire blocking and any other building component.
  • A final inspection when all work is complete
Updated 10/17/2017 7:47 AM
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