Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Complete Demolition Permit

Service overview

You need a Complete Demolition Permit to demolish an entire building or structure. If you remove more than two-thirds of existing framing and alter any outside wall, it is considered complete demolition.

If you are only demolishing part of a building, the work may qualify as an alteration and can be reviewed under a Building Permit application.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues demolition and building permits.

EZ Permits

If you plan to demolish only interior, non-bearing partitions, you can get an EZ permit without submitting plans.

Who

Property owners and their authorized agents can apply for this permit. An authorized agent may include:

  • Design professional
  • Attorney
  • Demolition contractor
  • Licensed expediter

Requirements

Permit Application

  • The permit application must be signed by the owner or include an authorization from the owner.
  • The site safety manager and demolition supervisor must be named.
  • All permits must be applied for under the legal address established by the Office of Property Assessment (OPA).
  • If the property was recently sold, a copy of the settlement sheet or deed must be submitted with application.

Contractor

A Philadelphia-licensed demolition contractor is required to perform all complete demolition work. The contractor must:

  • Hold the correct license type (Class A or Class B).
  • Be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
  • Have current insurance on file with L&I.

Plans

If your application requires plans, they must follow plan requirements.

Forms and documents

  • All demolitions
    • Public Information Form
    • Contractor work plan
      • You can use the supplied form or submit equivalent information.
    • Demolition schedule
      • Include project milestones and a signed site safety plan
    • PA One Call serial number
  • For buildings other than one-to-three-family dwellings constructed prior to December 31, 1980
    • Asbestos Inspection Report
  • If mechanical demolition is proposed or building is over three stories or 40 feet in height
    • Special Inspections
      • Licensed Special Inspection Agency (for demolition category)
      • Statement of Special Inspections Schedule
      • Duties & Responsibilities Agreement
  • For buildings over three stories, over 40 ft in height or exceeding 10,000 sq. ft. footprint

Related permits

Required pre-approvals

For historic properties

More +

For earth disturbance of 5,000 sq. ft. or more

More +

For demolition of any building more than:

  • Three stories tall
  • 40 ft. in height
  • 10,000 sq. ft. 
More +

Where and when

In person

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Offices close at Noon on the last Wednesday of each month.

Cost

Fee types that may apply

Filing fee

  • One-and-two-family dwellings: $25
  • All other buildings: $100

This fee is nonrefundable and is applied towards the final permit fee.

Permit fee

The cost of your building permit depends on the project size.

  • Per 100 sq. ft.: $20
  • Minimum Fee: $200
  • Maximum Fee: $40,000
  • Zoning Permit fee for demolition: $50

Surcharge fees

  • City surcharge: $3 per permit
  • State surcharge: $4.50 per permit

Record retention fee

  • Per page larger than 8.5 in. by 14 in.: $4

Accelerated Plan Review fee (optional)

Applications for new construction that include plans are eligible for expedited review. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5–10 business days.

  • Fee: $540
  • If your plans require more than four hours to review, you will be charged an additional fee of $135 per hour.

To apply, fill out an Accelerated Plan Review application and submit with your permit application. Amount must be paid when you submit your application and will not be credited toward your final permit fee.

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect a fee of $20.
  2. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.

How

You can apply for this permit in person at the Permit and License Center. 

In person

1
Get any required pre-approvals before submitting your application to L&I.
2
Bring your completed application, application materials, and payment to the Permit and License Center.

Applications are processed within 20 days business days.

  • The applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5-10 business days.
3
If approved, the applicant will receive notice to pay the balance.

If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

Before a permit may be issued, the contractor must be identified and confirm association with the project.

4
Once approved, schedule your inspections and post demolition notice

Demolition notice

L&I will give you a Notice of Demolition when you apply. The contractor must post this notice immediately.

The contractor must submit a photo demonstrating proof of posting to L&I. Work cannot commence until 21 days after posting.

Inspections

Contact your local inspection office when the contractor is ready to start work. The contact information will be noted on your permit.

A Certificate of Approval will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.


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