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Philadelphia Historical Commission
One Parkway, 13th floor
1515 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Building Permits

What role does the Historical Commission have in the permit process?

The Department of Licenses and Inspections refers all building and demolition permit
applications for properties on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places
to the Historical Commission for its review. The Department will not issue a
permit without the Commission's approval. The Commission welcomes consultation
with applicants before the formal filing of a permit application.

How do I apply for a building permit?

This process usually begins with the submission of a permit application at the Department of Licenses and Inspection in the Public Service Concourse of the Municipal Services Building, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard. The Historical Commission also has blank permit application forms.

Usually, plans accompany a permit application; however, some interior demolition work does not require plans. For projects that do require drawings, include elevations, sections and floor plans for review. In addition, the Commission needs photographs showing the property's current condition. The Department requires a permit application and three (3) sets of drawings, the Commission one (1) set of drawings with the permit application.

What parts of a historic property does the Historical Commission regulate?

The Historical Commission has jurisdiction over the entire exterior envelopes of buildings, their sites, and all site appurtenances. It reviews all work that requires a permit or that may change the exterior appearance of a property. This includes but is not limited to reroofing, masonry cleaning and pointing, painting, window and door replacement, and the installation of fences and gates. The staff automatically approves permit applications for interior work that do not affect exterior appearances.

What standards does the Historical Commission use in its evaluation of permit applications?

In addition to the language of the City's Historic Preservation Ordinance, the Historical Commission employs The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring and Reconstructing Historic Buildings in its review of permit applications. The federal government, the states and many municipalities have adopted The Secretary's Standards