Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Foundation-only Building Permit

Service overview

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.

Who

Any property owner or their authorized agent can apply. Authorized agents may include:

  • Contractor
  • PA design professional
  • Attorney
  • Licensed expediter

Requirements

Permit application

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).

Contractor

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.

Plans

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.

Related Permits

You need to get a Zoning Permit to get this type of Building Permit.

Required pre-approvals

For all historic properties

More +

For encroachments on the right-of-way

More +

For all Foundation-only Permits (stormwater management)

More +

For all Foundation-only Permits (utilities)

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

Permit fee

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

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, L&I will tell you what is missing or required.

Before a permit can be issued, the contractor must be identified.

4
Once approved, schedule your inspection.

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.


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