Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Make Safe Permit for a dangerous building

Service overview

You need a Make Safe building permit to repair a structure that has been marked as unsafe or imminently dangerous. A Make Safe Permit is also called a permit to remediate a dangerous condition.

You can only use a Make Safe Permit to address unsafe or dangerous conditions. Failure to address an outstanding violation could result in fines or the demolition of your building or structure by the City.

The permit does not authorize any unnecessary renovations or additions. You need separate permits to do additional construction, plumbing, electrical, or other work.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues this permit.

Who

Property owners and their authorized agents can apply for this permit. Authorized agents include:

  • Design professionals.
  • Contractors.
  • Licensed expediters.

Requirements

Permit application

The permit application must include the complete scope of work and current owner information.

Contractor

  • A licensed Philadelphia contractor must perform the work, except when the project involves an existing one-or-two-family home. Then work may also be performed by:
  • If a contractor is required, they must be named before final payment for the permit can be accepted. The contractor must:
    • Have an active license
    • Be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes
    • Have current insurance on file with L&I.

Reports and plans

You’ll need to provide plans, pictures, and a PA-licensed engineer’s report.

  • Provide pictures that depict building conditions.
  • A report describing conditions and remediation prepared by a PA-licensed engineer:
    • L&I may waive this requirement for minor repairs, but the applicant must fully describe remediation.
    • Plans that are signed and sealed by a professional engineer.
      • Plans must be drawn to scale on a minimum sheet size of 18 in. by 24 in.
    • Provide three copies of the report and plans.

Supplemental forms

  • Structural Design Criteria form
    • This form is intended for IBC regulated buildings. Designs under the IRC may note structural design parameters on the plans.
  • Special Inspections documentation
    • Duties & Responsibilities Agreement signed by all parties
    • Statement of Special Inspections Schedule with categories and frequency selected
    • Name of licensed Special Inspection Agency qualified for all inspection categories

Required pre-approvals

For all historic properties

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

  • For one-or-two-family dwellings: $25
  • For all other buildings: $100

This fee is nonrefundable and is applied towards the final permit fee. This fee is not required for permits without plans.

Permit fee

The cost of your building permit depends on your project size and type.

Before applying, review the summary of building permit fees to estimate the cost.

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

How

You must apply for this permit in person.

1
Bring your completed application, application materials, and payment to the Permit and License Center.

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

2
L&I will review your application.

The applicant must respond to any request for information within 10 business days or the application will be abandoned.

3
If the application is approved, you will receive a notice to pay the balance.

If the application is not approved, L&I will tell you what is missing or required.

4
Set up the inspections listed on your permit.
Notify the inspector that issued the initial violation that you got a permit and will start work.
 
For imminently dangerous structures or conditions, work must begin within 10 days after you get the permit. Work must continue until the structure or condition is safe.
 
For unsafe structures or conditions, work must begin within 30 days after you get the permit. Work must continue until the structure or condition is safe.

Forms & instructions


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