A Foundation-only Building Permit allows you to lay foundations before you get a Building Permit for the entire structure. It is optional.
If you apply for this permit, the owner must assume the risk that further permits may not be approved.
The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues this permit.
Any property owner or their authorized agent can apply. Authorized agents may include:
- PA design professional
- Licensed expediter
Apply for this permit using a Building Permit application. The application must include the complete scope of work and current owner information.
- If the property was recently sold, submit a copy of the settlement sheet or deed with the application.
- You must apply for all permits under the legal address established by the Office of Property Assessment (OPA).
A licensed contractor must perform all work. The contractor must:
- Have an active license.
- Be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
- Have current insurance on file with L&I.
If your application requires plans, they must follow plan requirements.
Forms and other documents
- Geotechnical Investigation or Soils Report from a licensed engineer.
- Must include all requirements for the protection of the adjacent structures and public ways.
- Owner’s letter of responsibility:
- Agrees to all necessary changes that may result from all pending or future building permit reviews
- Application for accelerated review (optional)
- Structural Design Criteria form
- Special Inspections documentation
- Duties & Responsibilities Agreement signed by all parties
- Statement of Special Inspections Schedule
- Name of licensed Special Inspection Agency qualified for all inspection categories
- Flood Protection Forms: For properties located in Flood Hazard Areas.
You need to get a Zoning Permit to get this type of Building Permit.
Where and when
You can apply online using eCLIPSE.
If you need help filing your application online, you can schedule a virtual appointment.
You need an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center 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.
Fee types that may apply
- One-or-two-family dwellings: $25
- All other buildings: $100
The cost of your foundation permit depends on the foundation size:
- For foundations 500 sq. ft. or less: $207
- For foundations 501 sq. ft. to 2,500 sq. ft.: $362
- For foundations more than 2,500 sq. ft.: $621
- 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 business days.
- Fee: $2000
- $350 is due when you apply. You must pay the remainder once approved.
To apply, fill out an Accelerated Plan Review request form and submit with your permit application. Accelerated review fees will not be credited toward your final permit fee.
Payment methods and details
Accepted payment methods
|Online through the eCLIPSE application
(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)
|In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building||
|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.)
Checks and money orders
- 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:
- Starter checks without account info.
Returned payment policy
If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:
- You will be charged a $20 fee for collection.
- You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect this fee directly.
- The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
- If the City is unable to obtain payment, the license, permit, or appeal application will be void.
- You cannot take any additional action under a permit until you have paid all fees.
- The permit or license will be revoked if the outstanding fees are not paid within 30 days.
- You cannot file or obtain additional permits until you resolve the outstanding debt.
Late license payment
If you renew your license more than 60 days after the due date, you will be charged 1.5% of the license fee for each month since the license expired.
You can apply for this permit in person at the Permit and License Center or online using eCLIPSE.
Applications for one-or-two-family uses are reviewed within 15 business days. Applications for all other uses are reviewed within 20 business days.
The applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 business days.
If not approved, L&I will tell you what is missing or required.
Before a permit can be issued, the contractor must be identified.
Contact your local inspection office when the contractor is ready to start work. The contact information and required inspections will be noted on your permit.
A Certificate of Approval will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.
If applying as a licensed professional or contractor, you must first associate your license or registration with your online account.
- Before a permit can be issued, the contractor must be identified and confirm association with the project.
- Applications for one-or-two-family uses are reviewed within 15 business days. Applications for all other uses are reviewed within 20 business days.
- The applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 business days.
If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.
When the contractor is ready to start work, request an inspection through eCLIPSE or by calling (215) 255-4040.
Approval documents will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.