Permits, violations & licenses

Appeal to the Board of Building Standards (BBS)

Before you begin

You can only file an appeal in response to the formal denial of a permit application. See more information on making a permit applications.

Service overview

The Board of Building Standards (BBS) hears most appeals related to construction permits. If you received a permit denial and it says your appeal should go to this board, you can make an appeal.

You can submit an appeal to:

  • Request a variance from the Philadelphia Code.
  • Challenge a code interpretation of a code official.
  • Get approval for alternative materials and methods. (You don’t need to apply for a permit before filing this kind of appeal.)

The board will make a recommendation to the commissioner of The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) for a final decision.

Plumbing permit appeals are heard by the Plumbing Advisory Board, which advises the BBS.

Appeals related to accessibility must be submitted to the PA Labor and Industry Accessibility Advisory Board.

Who

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

  • Design professionals.
  • Attorneys.
  • Contractors.
  • Licensed expediters.

Where and when

Submission of Appeals

Boards Administration Unit
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Municipal Services Building – 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

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

BBS Hearing Locations

Municipal Services Building – 16th Floor
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Hearings are typically held twice a month on Thursday afternoons. See the scheduled dates.

Cost

The cost of your appeal fee depends on the type of building. These fees are paid separately from any other application or permit fees.

  • Existing one-or-two-family dwellings (including those with family child care centers): $50
  • Buildings less than five stories tall and less than 30,000 sq. ft. total floor area: $200
  • Buildings five or more stories tall or more than 30,000 sq. ft. total floor area: $600
  • Expedited hearings: $1,700

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

To appeal to the BBS:

1
Make a permit application to L&I.

If you want to seek a variance, you must request a formal denial from the plans examiner.

2
File an appeal with Boards Administration within 30 days of permit denial.

Appeals must be submitted in writing on the official appeal form and include the reason for appeal.

3
Attend a hearing before the BBS. The BBS will make a recommendation to the L&I Commissioner.

The board will notify you of the scheduled hearing date and time when they will process your appeal. The hearing is typically scheduled within four weeks.

An expedited hearing option is available.

4
Wait for the final decision of the L&I commissioner.
5
Return to your L&I plans examiner with the final decision.

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