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
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.
For all historic properties
You need approval from
The Historical Commission
You must have this approval in order to apply. L&I will refuse your permit application without Historical Commission approval. See how to get approval for work to a historic property.
You’ll need your plans with stamped approval from the Historical Commission before you make your application at the Permit and License Center in the MSB.
Submit your stamped plan as proof of approval when making your application.
For encroachments on the right-of-way
You need approval from
The Department of Streets
You’ll need to complete a Streets plan review. Find Streets plan review requirements and applicable forms for more information.
You’ll need your plan with stamped approval from Department of Streets before you make your application to L&I.
Once approved, submit your stamped plan with your other application materials when submitting in person at the Permit and License Center in the MSB.
For all Foundation-only Permits (stormwater management)
You need approval from
The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) – Stormwater Management
To get stormwater management review, submit an ERSA Application at www.pwdplanreview.org.
Refer to the Philadelphia Stormwater Management Guidance Manual for more information.
Submit all required materials directly to PWD before filing your permit application.
Then, fill out and submit your permit application at Permit and License Center in the MSB.
For all Foundation-only Permits (utilities)
You need approval from
The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD)
You’ll need a PWD Utility Plan Review. To get this review, submit a Utility Plan to PWD at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For submission instructions and Utility Plan guidelines, refer to the PWD Utility Plan Checklist (PDF).
Submit all required materials directly to PWD before you apply to the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I).
Then, fill out and submit your L&I application at Permit and License Center in the MSB.
L&I will reach out to PWD to verify their approval.
Where and when
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: $200
- For foundations 501 sq. ft. to 2,500 sq. ft.: $350
- For foundations more than 2,500 sq. ft.: $600
- 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
|Online through the eCLIPSE application||
|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 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.
- The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
You can apply for this permit in person at the Permit and License Center.
Applications are processed within 20 business days.
The applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5-10 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.