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PLI: COMMERCIAL PERMITS

Commercial Permits

Standard Permit Application Requirement

Things to Know:

  • Drawings must be specific for the permit.
  • Mechanical, Electrical, Fire Alarm, and Sprinkler System drawings will not be accepted with a building permit submission.
  • Separate applications must be made for each permit type, and the required drawings must accompany each application.
  • See this Bulletin for additional information regarding standard application requirements.

If project scope has been modified after a permit has been issued, an amended permit may be required. Please refer to the Amended Permit Bulletin for an outline of that process.

Commercial Permits

Commercial permits are required for all work performed on structures other than single or two-family dwellings. This includes multifamily buildings with three or more units and mixed-use buildings with residential units and commercial spaces. Please click on the appropriate link from the list of permits on our navigation bar to the left of this screen.

Work NOT Requiring a Permit

Building

  • One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouse and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet.
    • Will require Zoning Approval and an Occupancy Permit.
  • Fences less than 6 feet high.
    • Will require Zoning Approval and an Occupancy Permit.
  • Oil derricks.
    • Will require Zoning Approval and an Occupancy Permit.
  • Retaining walls that are not over 4'-0" in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II or IIIA liquids.
    • Will require Zoning Approval and an Occupancy Permit.
  • Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to the diameter or the width does not exceed 2 to 1.
    • Will require Zoning Approval and an Occupancy Permit.
  • Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below grade and not part of an accessible route.
    • Will require Zoning Approval and an Occupancy Permit.
  • Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
    • May require Zoning Approval.
  • Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy that are less than 24” deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons and are installed entirely above grade.
    • Will require Zoning Approval and an Occupancy Permit.
  • Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.
    • Will require Zoning Approval and an Occupancy Permit.
  • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one and two-family dwellings.
    • Will require Zoning Approval and an Occupancy Permit.
  • Window awnings that:
    • Are attached to Group R-3 or U Occupancies.
    • Are supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall.
    • Do not require additional support.
    • Will require Zoning Approval and an Occupancy Permit.
  • Non-fixed and moveable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches in height.
  • Replacement windows are not exempt from permit requirements, as stated in Title 34, 403.42(c)(xiii).
    • Replacement windows must comply with the requirements of "The International Energy Conservation Code".
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work.

Electrical

  • Repairs and maintenance: Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
  • Radio and television transmitting stations: The provisions of this code shall not apply to electrical equipment used for radio and television transmissions, but do apply to equipment and wiring for power supply, the installations of towers and antennas.
  • Temporary testing systems: A permit shall not be required for the installation of any temporary system required for the testing or servicing of electrical equipment or apparatus.

Gas

  • Portable heating appliance.
  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.

Mechanical

  • Portable heating appliance.
  • Portable ventilation equipment.
  • Portable cooling unit.
  • Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.
  • Replacement of any part which does not alter its approval or make it unsafe.
  • Portable evaporative cooler.
  • Self-contained refrigeration system containing 10 pounds (4.54 kg) or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of 1 horsepower (746 W) or less.

 

Commercial Building Permit

Commercial building permits are required for all work performed on structures other than single or two-family dwellings. This includes multi-family buildings with three or more units and mixed-use buildings with residential units and commercial spaces.

Please see below for work not requiring a building permit. Please refer to list of work not requiring a building permit, if work to be performed is not included on this list, a building permit is required.

Please note that a building permit is also required for interior demolition of a commercial building.

All work performed under a Commercial Permit shall be performed by a General Contractor registered with the City. Their registration must be up to date in order for a permit to be issued.

How to Get a Commercial Building Permit

The Building Permit application process is two-fold. The first component is review and approval by the Zoning Department for the land use as regulated by the Zoning Code.

The second component is review and approval by PLI for life safety as regulated by the current Building Codes. Fees for both departments are paid at the point of issuance, at PLI.

Zoning Review

The property owner, or authorized agent, will need to apply in person at the Zoning Counter located at 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. After the work is approved by the Zoning Department, the applicant will proceed to the File Room and then then PLI's Engineering Counter, both located on the 3rd floor of 200 Ross St.

PLI Review

For the PLI review, the following will be required:

  • Two hard copies of drawings prepared and sealed by a Pennsylvania licensed Architect/Engineer.
  • Completed Building Permit Form.

Commercial permit applications are logged in and reviewed in the order in which a completed application is received. Please refer to our Plan Review checklist for overview of items the application will be reviewed for.

After an application is reviewed, the applicant identified on the PLI application form will be contacted in writing to either request revisions or notify of permit approval.

Permit Issuance

After the permit has been approved the following will be required in order to issue the permit:

  • General Contractor's registration (BL) number.
  • A check/money order to pay the permit fee.

After the permit has been approved, it can be issued. The issued permit will list any additional permits required.

Inspection

The assigned Building Inspector and their phone number will be printed on the permit. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the Building Inspector. Inspectors are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., and are in the field for the remainder of the day. Until the Building Inspector signs off on the Occupancy Permit, a Certificate of Occupancy will not be issued.

The following building inspections will be required:

  • Framing
  • Final

Additional inspections will be required, depending on the scope of work:

  • Footing and foundation
  • Concrete slab and under-floor
  • Lowest floor elevation (in flood hazard areas)
  • Lath and gypsum board
  • Fire and smoke-resistant penetrations
  • Accessibility (depending on project scope)

Partial Occupancy Applications

Applications for partial occupancy of a structure prior to completion of all work under a construction permit requires submission to the City of Pittsburgh under a new Temporary Occupancy permit application. The procedures for this process can be found in the Partial Occupancy Bulletin.

All Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections fees change annually. Please consult the Current Fee Schedule below:

2017 Fee Schedule

The permit and license fees for the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections undergo periodic adjustments.

Please consult the current year Fee Schedule.

2017 Fee Schedule

Note once a permit or license has been issued, refunds are not provided.

The Zoning Department requires a $30 filing fee for most permit types.

  • This fee will now be collected at the Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections.

Please contact the Zoning Department at 412-255-2241 for further information.

Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is required to legally use and occupy a building or structure (or portion thereof).

When a Certificate of Occupancy is issued, it certifies that the building/structure or portion thereof conforms with the Zoning Code and the applicable Building Codes enforced at the time the Certificate is issued.

Please call the File Room at 412-255-2175 to verify whether or not a property has a Certificate of Occupancy on file.

If a building/structure does not have a Certificate of Occupancy, it is considered an Uncertified Building under the Pennsylvania's Uniform Construction Code. In order for the City of Pittsburgh to issue a new Certificate of Occupancy, conformance must be shown per current codes.

If the building/structure is uncertified, or a new Certificate of Occupancy is required, an Occupancy Permit must first be obtained before the new Certificate can issued.

Occupancy Permit

An Occupancy Permit is required for:

  • New buildings/structures.
  • Additions to existing buildings/structures, this includes vertical additions, or other modifications to the building volume, such as dormers.
  • Existing buildings/structures undergoing a change in use, including partial changes in use.
  • Exterior signs, unless exempted by the Zoning Code.
  • Exterior accessory equipment/structures, such as fences, sheds, condensing units, and generators.
  • Other elements as required by the Zoning Code.

Please be aware that a Building Permit may also be required, please refer to Work Not Requiring a Building Permit(Above in the tabs). In instances where no construction is planned, physical changes maybe required in order to comply with applicable Building Codes. Additionally, accessibility upgrades could be required depending on the scope of changes.

Partial Occupancy Applications

Applications for partial occupancy of a structure prior to completion of all work under a construction permit requires submission to the City of Pittsburgh under a new Temporary Occupancy permit application. The procedures for this process can be found in the Partial Occupancy Bulletin.

How To Obtain An Occupancy Permit

The Occupancy Permit application process is two-fold. The first component is review and approval by the Zoning Department for the land use as regulated by the Zoning Code. The second component is review and approval by PLI for life safety as regulated by the current Building Codes.

Zoning Review

The property owner, or authorized agent, will need to first apply in person at the Zoning Counter located at 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. A separate check or money order will be required to pay the Zoning fee.

After the work is approved by the Zoning Department, the applicant will proceed to the File Room and then then PLI's Engineering Counter, both located on the 3rd floor of 200 Ross St.

PLI Review

For the PLI review, the following will be required:

  • Separate check/money order for the permit fee, due when the Occupancy Permit is issued.
  • Completed Building Permit Application Form.
  • Two sets of drawings and a building code analysis, prepared and sealed by a Pennsylvania licensed Architect/Engineer to verify compliance with current codes.

The submitted drawings will be logged into our Plan Review Queue. Sumissions are reviewed in the order in which they were received. After the Plans Examining Engineer has reviewed the application, they will contact the Architect/Engineer with any revisions or notify the applicant that the permit is ready for pick up.

After the permit has been approved, the final application step will be payment processing and permit issuance at the Cashier's Counter.

Inspection

After the permit has been issued, the applicant must contact the Building Inspector indicated on the permit to schedule an Inspection. Inspectors are in the office from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are in the field for the remainder of the day. Until the Building Inspector signs off on the Occupancy Permit, a Certificate of Occupancy WILL NOT be issued.

Certificate of Occupancy Issuance

After the Building Inspector has signed off on the Occupancy Permit, the application goes through a final review within PLI before it is issued.

The Certificate of Occupancy will be mailed out to the Property Owner, unless the applicant elects to pick it up in person.

Commercial Electrical Permit

When Do I need a Commercial Electrical Permit?

Commercial electrical permits are required for electrical work performed for all structures other than single or two-family dwellings. See this link for work not requiring a permit.

How to Get a Commercial Electrical Permit

Third Party Information

Currently Plan Review and Inspections for Commercial Electrical Permits must be performed by an Approved Third Party Agency.

Fees

Commercial Electrical permits will be charged a flat fee of $40.00 per permit plus additional administrative fees that may apply. Please refer also to our current fee schedule.

Commercial HVAC Permit

Please Note:

  • PLI has modified permit application requirements. Construction drawings will be required for Commercial HVAC permits, unless the work is exempt as noted in this Bulletin. This Bulletin also outlines additional required documentation including, but not limited to, documentation of Energy Code compliance. Our Commercial HVAC Application has been modified to reflect this change, see below for a link.
  • HVAC drawings will no longer be reviewed with Building permits. If these were previously submitted with a building permit, they will need to be resubmitted at time of electrical permit application.
  • All new HVAC Permits will be assigned to inspection by a City Inspector.
  • Any existing Permits that had required Third Party Agency Inspection, will be required to be completed by the Third Party Inspector.

How to Get a Commercial HVAC Permit

Commercial HVAC permits are required to perform HVAC work for all structures other than single or two-family dwellings. This includes multifamily buildings with three or more units and mixed-use buildings with residential units and commercial spaces.

Please refer to list of work not requiring an HVAC permit, if work to be performed is not included on this list, an HVAC permit is required before work begins.

All work under a Commerical HVAC permit must be performed by an HVAC contractor registered with the City of Pittsburgh.

Please be aware that Commercial Cooking Hoods and associated Suppression Systems are processed under separate permits.

Items Required for Permit

  • Commercial HVAC Application completed by the registered HVAC Contractor with their original signature in ink . Please note, incomplete applications or those with photocopied or stamped signatures will be returned without processing.
  • Two sets of drawings prepared and sealed by PA licensed Engineer/Architect.
  • If work is related to a building permit, a copy of the approved building permit.
  • If work is related to a building permit, a copy of the approved building permit. 
  • Occupancy Permit for all exterior equipment, such as condenser units, fan coil units, or similar mechanical devices. This includes existing units, if there is no valid Certificate of Occupancy. In this instance, a separate check or money order is required for the Zoning filing fee.
  • A check or money order for the permit fee.

How to Apply

  1. Apply in person at the Zoning Counter, located at 200 Ross St on the 3rd floor for an Occupancy Permit, if required (see above).
  2. Submit the Commercial HVAC Application to the Engineering Counter at 200 Ross St, 3rd floor or mail them to: 
    City of Pittsburgh
    Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections
    200 Ross Street Room 320
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
  3. Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections staff reviews and processes the application. All HVAC permits are logged into our queue and processed in the order in which they are received.

Inspection

The assigned HVAC Inspector and their phone number will be printed on the permit. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the HVAC Inspector.

Required inspections include:

  • Underground (if applicable).
  • A rough-in inspection before any work is concealed.
  • A final inspection when all work is complete.

All Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections fees change annually. Please consult the Current Fee Schedule below:

2017 Fee Schedule

The permit and license fees for the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections undergo periodic adjustments.

Please consult the current year Fee Schedule.

2017 Fee Schedule

Note once a permit or license has been issued, refunds are not provided.

Commercial Fire Alarm

Fire Alarm Permit

A fire alarm permit is required to modify an existing fire alarm system or install a new fire alarm system. All work under a fire alarm permit must be performed by an Electrical Contractor registered with the City of Pittsburgh.

Please be aware that until further notice all fire alarm permits must be reviewed and approved by a City of Pittsburgh recognized Third Party Agency (TPA) before being submitted to PLI for permitting. A discount of 15% will be applied to the cost of the permit to offset the cost of this TPA review.

Items Required for Permit

  • Fire Alarm Application completed by the registered Electrical Contractor with their original ink signature. Incomplete forms WILL be returned without processing the fire alarm application.
  • Two sets of drawings prepared and sealed by PA licensed Engineer/Architect.
  • If work is related to a building permit, a copy of the approved building permit.
  • All fire alarm permits require electrical permits.
  • A check or money order for the permit fee.

2017 Fee Schedule

The permit and license fees for the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections undergo periodic adjustments.

Please consult the current year Fee Schedule.

2017 Fee Schedule

Note once a permit or license has been issued, refunds are not provided.

How to Apply:

  • Submit the Fire Alarm Application, check/money order and two copies of Third Party Agency approved drawings to the Engineering Counter at 200 Ross St, 3rd floor or mail them to:
    City of Pittsburgh
    Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections
    200 Ross Street Room 320
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
  • Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections staff reviews and processes the application. Please be aware that fire alarm permits are logged into our queue and processed in the order in which they are received. Once issued, the permit will be mailed to the registered Electrical Contractor.

Inspection

The permit will list the assigned Fire Inspector and provide their phone number. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the Fire Inspector. Inspectors are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., and are in the field for the remainder of the day.

Please note you will need to submit a Statement of Compliance in order to schedule the inspection.

Required inspections include:

  • A rough-in inspection before any work is concealed.
  • A final inspection when all work is complete. A Record of Completion will need to be submitted prior to final inspection.

The following additional forms may be required depending on the scope of work:

  • Smoke Control Certificate
  • Stair Pressurization Certificate

All Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections fees change annually. Please consult the Current Fee Schedule.

Commercial Fire Suppression Systems Permit

Commercial Sprinkler Permit

A sprinkler permit is required to modify an existing sprinkler or to install a new sprinkler or fire extinguishing system (wet/dry chemical, clean agent or hood suppression). New underground mains require a separate sprinkler permit from the above ground sprinkler or fire extinguishing system.

All work under a sprinkler permit must be performed by a General Contractor registered with the City of Pittsburgh.

Please be aware that until further notice all sprinkler permits, except undergrounds, must be reviewed and approved by a City of Pittsburgh recognized Third Party Agency (TPA) before being submitted to PLI for permitting. A discount of 15% will be applied to the cost of the permit to offset the cost of this TPA review.

Items Required for Permit

  • Fire Protection Permit Application completed by the registered General Contractor with their original ink signature. Incomplete forms WILL be returned without processing the sprinkler application.
  • Two sets of shop drawings. For new underground fire mains, two sets of the PWSA approved drawings will be required.
  • If work is related to a building permit, a copy of the approved building permit.
  • All clean agent systems require an HVAC permit to exhaust the system as required by the City of Pittsburgh's code amendments.
  • A check or money order for the permit fee.

2017 Fee Schedule

The permit and license fees for the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections undergo periodic adjustments.

Please consult the current year Fee Schedule.

2017 Fee Schedule

Note once a permit or license has been issued, refunds are not provided.

The Zoning Department requires a $30 filing fee for most permit types.

  • This fee will now be collected at the Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections.

Please contact the Zoning Department at 412-255-2241 for further information.

How To Apply

  1. Submit the completed Fire Protection Permit Application, check/money order and twocopies of Third Party Agency approved drawings to the Engineering Counter at 200 Ross St, 3rd floor or mail them to:
    City of Pittsburgh
    Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections
    200 Ross Street Room 320
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
  2. Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections staff reviews and processes the application. Please be aware that sprinkler permits are logged into our queue and processed in the order in which they are received. Once issued, the permit will be mailed to the registered General Contractor.

Inspection

The permit will list the assigned Fire Inspector and provide their phone number. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the Fire Inspector. Inspectors are in the office from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are in the field for the remainder of the day.

Please note you will need to submit a Statement of Compliance and Hydrant Flow Test in order to schedule the inspection.

Required inspections include:

  • A rough-in inspection before any work is concealed.
  • A final inspection when all work is complete.

The following additional forms may be required depending on the scope of work:

All Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections fees change annually. Consult the Current Fee Schedule below:

2017 Fee Schedule

The permit and license fees for the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections undergo periodic adjustments.

Please consult the current year Fee Schedule.

2017 Fee Schedule

Note once a permit or license has been issued, refunds are not provided.

Commercial Cooking Hood Permit

A commercial cooking hood permit is required prior to the repair or alteration an existing cooking hood, or installation a new cooking hood.

All work under a commercial cooking hood permit must be performed by a HVAC Contractor registered with the City of Pittsburgh.

How to Get a Hood Permit

  1. Apply in person at the Zoning Counter, located at 200 Ross St on the 3rd floor for an Occupancy Permit, if required (see above).
  2. Submit the completed Commercial Cooking Hood Application and check/money order to the Electrical Counter located at 200 Ross St, 3rd floor or mail them to:
    City of Pittsburgh
    Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections
    200 Ross Street Room 320
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
  3. Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections staff reviews and processes the application. All Commercial Cooking Hood permits are logged into our queue and processed in the order in which they are received. Once issued, the permit will be mailed to the registered HVAC Contractor.

Items Required for Permi

  • Commercial Cooking Hood Application (now includes worksheet) completed by the applicant and PA licensed Architect or Engineer.
  • Two sets of drawings prepared and sealed by PA licensed Engineer/Architect.
  • If work is related to a building permit, a copy of the approved building permit.
  • Occupancy Permit for all exterior equipment, such as a rooftop fans. In this instance, a separate check or money order is required for the Zoning filing fee.
  • A Cooking Hood Suppression, Electrical and/or Fire Alarm permits may be required depending on the scope of work.
  • A check or money order for the permit fee.

Inspection

The assigned HVAC Inspector and their phone number will be printed on the permit. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the HVAC Inspector. Inspectors are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., and are in the field for the remainder of the day.

  • A rough-in inspection before any work is concealed.
  • A final inspection when all work is complete.

All Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections fees change annually. Please consult the Current Fee Schedule below:

2017 Fee Schedule

The permit and license fees for the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections undergo periodic adjustments.

Please consult the current year Fee Schedule.

2017 Fee Schedule

Note once a permit or license has been issued, refunds are not provided.

Commercial Cooking Hood Suppression

A Commercial Cooking Hood Suppression permit is required to install a new Cooking Hood Suppression or to modify an existing Cooking Hood Suppression system.

All work under a Commercial Cooking Hood Suppression permit must be performed by a HVAC Contractor registered with the City of Pittsburgh.

How to Apply

  1. Submit the completed Cooking Hood Suppression Permit Application with check/money order and drawings to the Engineering Counter at 200 Ross St, 3rd floor or mail them to:
    City of Pittsburgh
    Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections
    200 Ross Street Room 320
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
  2. Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections staff reviews and processes the application. Please be aware that Commercial Cooking Hood Suppression permits are logged into our queue and processed in the order in which they are received. Once issued, the permit will be mailed to the registered General Contractor.

Items Required for Permit

  • Cooking Hood Suppression Permit Application completed by the registered General Contractor with their original ink signature. Incomplete forms will be returned without processing the sprinkler application.
  • Two sets of shop drawings.
  • If work is related to a building permit, a copy of the approved building permit.
  • A separate Commercial Cooking Hood permit, Fire Alarm and/or Electrical permit maybe required depending on scope of work.
  • A check or money order for the permit fee.

Inspection

The permit will list the assigned Fire Inspector and provide their phone number. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the Fire Inspector. Inspectors are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., and are in the field for the remainder of the day.

Please note you will need to submit a Statement of Compliance and Wet Chemical Certificate in order to schedule the inspection.

Required inspections include:

  • A rough-in inspection before any work is concealed.
  • A final inspection when all work is complete.

All Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections fees change annually. Please consult the Current Fee Schedule below:

2017 Fee Schedule

The permit and license fees for the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections undergo periodic adjustments.

Please consult the current year Fee Schedule.

2017 Fee Schedule

Note once a permit or license has been issued, refunds are not provided.

Commercial Communication Tower Permit

Communication Tower Permits are required to modify existing communication antenna installations (towers, monopoles, and roof and building mounted equipment) and to install new communication antennas.

Any Communication Tower permits issued on or after April 20, 2016 shall be performed by an Electrical Contractor registered with the City of Pittsburgh. Communication Tower permits that include structural modifications or new installations shall require Special Inspections.

How to Get a Communication Tower Permit

The Communication Tower Permit application process is two-fold. The first component is review and approval by the Zoning Department for the land use as regulated by the Zoning Code. The second component is review and approval by PLI for life safety as regulated by the current Building Codes.

Zoning Review

  1. The property owner, or authorized agent, will need to first apply in person at the Zoning Counter located at 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. A separate check or money order will be required to pay the Zoning fee.
  2. After the work is approved by the Zoning Department, the applicant will proceed to the File Room and then then PLI's Engineering Counter, both located on the 3rd floor of 200 Ross St.

PLI Review

For the PLI review, the following will be required:

Communication Tower Permits are logged in and reviewed in the order in which they were reviewed. After the Plans Examining Engineer has reviewed the drawing, they will contact the Architect/Engineer with any revisions or notify the applicant that the permit is ready for pick up.

Permit Issuance

After the permit has been approved the following will be required in order to issue the permit:

  • An Electrical Contractor with a valid City of Pittsburgh registration (EL#).
  • A check/money order to pay the permit fee.

Inspection

After the permit has been issued, it is the responsibility of the Electrical Contractor to contact the Building Inspector indicated on the permit to schedule inspections.

Commercial Sign Permit

Sign Permits

A Sign Permit is required to install or erect a new sign, or enlarge, modify or remove an existing sign. All work performed under a Sign Permit shall be performed by a Sign Contractor registered with the City. Their registration must be up to date in order for a permit to be issued.

How to Get a Sign Permit

The Sign Permit application process is two-fold. The first component is review and approval by the Zoning Department for the land use as regulated by the Zoning Code. The second component is review and approval by PLI for life safety as regulated by the current Building Codes.

Zoning Review

The property owner, or authorized agent, will need to first apply in person at the Zoning Counter located at 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. A separate check or money order will be required to pay the Zoning fee. After the work is approved by the Zoning Department, the applicant will proceed to the File Room and then then PLI's Engineering Counter, both located on the 3rd floor of 200 Ross St.

PLI Review

For the PLI review, the following will be required:

  • Completed Sign Application.
  • Two sets of construction drawings prepared and sealed by a PA a licensed Architect/Engineer will be required. These drawings must detail how the sign will be attached and.or supported. Structural design loads the sign has been designed for (90 MPH wind and 30 PSF ground snow) shall be identified.
  • Construction Drawings are not required for re-facing of an existing sign with a valid Certificate of Occupancy. A copy of the Certificate of Occupancy for the sign will need to be attached to the application.
  • Construction Drawings are not required for Installation of a wall mounted sign that is installed at a height of less than 8 feet above finished grade.
  • New signs will also require an Occupancy Permit which will be combined with the Sign Permit and issued when the work is complete.
  • Illuminated signs will require a separate Electrical Permit.

The submitted drawings will be logged into our Plan Review Queue. Submissions are reviewed in the order in which they were received. After the Plans Examining Engineer has reviewed the application, they will contact the Architect/Engineer with any revisions or notify the applicant that the permit is ready for pick up.

Permit Issuance

After the permit has been approved by a plan reviewer, the following will be required in order to issue the permit:

  • Sign Contractor's registration (SGN) number.
  • A check/money order for the permit fee.

Inspection

The assigned Building Inspector and their phone number will be printed on the permit. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the Building Inspector. Inspectors are in the office from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are in the field for the remainder of the day.

Occupant Load Placard Permit

Occupant load placards are required for all assembly spaces as defined by the Building Code with an occupant load of 50 or more. Placards are also issued to certify occupant loads of 49 or less under atypical situations due to exiting or other building code related issues.

How to Get an Occupant Load Placard

  • Valid Certificate of Occupancy for the assembly use. If there is no Certificate of Occupancy, an Occupancy Permit must be obtained.
  • Drawings prepared and sealed by a PA licensed Architect or Engineer showing compliance for the occupant load proposed. The drawings must include room names, exits, egress capacity, proposed seating arrangement and occupant load calculations based on area.
  • Completed Occupant Load Placard Application.
  • Check or money order for permit fee.

Process

  • Submit completed Occupant Load Placard Application along with two hard copy sets of drawings to the Engineering Counter located at 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
  • The drawings will be logged into the Plan Review Queue and will be reviewed in the order in which they are received.
  • After the Plans Examining Engineer has reviewed the drawing, they will contact the Architect/Engineer with any revisions or notify the applicant that the permit is ready for pick up.

Permit Issuance

After the permit has been approved, the applicant will proceed to the PLI Cashier's Counter, also located across from the Engineering Counter. A check or money order will be required to pay the permit fee.

Inspection

The assigned Building Inspector and their phone number will be printed on the permit. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the Building Inspector. Inspectors are in the office from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are in the field for the remainder of the day.

Until the Building Inspector signs off on the Occupant Load Placard it will not be issued.

Occupant Load Placard Issuance

After the Building Inspector has signed off on the Occupant Load Permit, the application goes through a final review within PLI before it is issued. The Occupant Load Placard will be mailed out to the Property Owner, unless the applicant elects to pick it up in person. The Placard must be prominently displayed within the space.

Land Operations Permit

This webpage gives a general overview for Land Operations Permits, please refer to § 1003 of the City of Pittsburgh Code of Ordinances for more specifics.

In addition to PLI's approval, the permit is reviewed and approved by the Zoning Department, Public Works, and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA).

Please be aware that all work performed under a Land Operations Permit must be performed by a General Contractor registered with the City of Pittsburgh.

Resources

Items Required to File Application

  • Completed Land Operations Permit Application
  • Property Survey
  • Drawings prepared and sealed by a PA licensed Architect or Engineer. These shall include: cross sections, contours, soil & rock strata description, coal workings, locations of utilities, details of surface protection, details of walls or other structures on property.

Where fill is involved, the following additional information shall be included:

  • Plan showing preparation of natural ground surface by benching and removal of topsoil, vegetation and other materials.
  • Description of surface and subsurface drainage control.
  • Results of stability and analysis.
  • Description of kind of material to be used in fill.
  • Statement of intended moisture density control of fill.
  • Statement of method of compacting fill and thickness of layers to be used in such compacting.
  • Statement of tests to be made prior to and during the process of filling and the names of persons or agencies responsible for making the tests.

Application Process

1) Apply in person at PLI's Engineering Counter, located at 200 Ross St, 3rd floor.

2) Submit the application to the Zoning Department for their review and approval.

  • Zoning is also located on the 3rd floor.

3) Submit the application to the Department of Public Works (DPW) for their review and approval.

  • DPW is located at City-County Building, Room 301, 414 Grant Street.

4) 4. Submit the application to PWSA for their review and approval.

  • PSWA is located at 1200 Penn Avenue, Penn-Liberty Plaza 1.

5) Submit the application to PLI for final review and approval. The application must have Zoning, DPW and PSWA signatures and have the applicant's signature notarized.

  • Additionally, The following will need to be submitted at this time: Special Inspector Initial Report, Performance Bond, and Insurance Certificate for work.

6) The PLI Plans Examining Engineer will notify the applicant when the permit is approved or with any required revisions.

Permit Issuance

After the permit has been approved, the following will be required in order to issue the permit:

  • General Contractor's registration (BL) number.
  • A check/money order to pay the permit fee.

The applicant will first have to go to the Engineering Counter to obtain the permit paperwork. They will then proceed to the PLI Cashier Counter (also located on the 3rd floor) for payment processing and permit issuance.

Inspections

The assigned Building Inspector and their phone number will be printed on the permit. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the Building Inspector. Inspectors are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., after 10:00 a.m. they are in the field.

In addition to PLI's Building Inspector, the Owner's Special Inspector must make weekly inspections and file interim reports to PLI's Chief.

All Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections fees change annually. Consult the Current Fee Schedule below.

2017 Fee Schedule

The permit and license fees for the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections undergo periodic adjustments.

Please consult the current year Fee Schedule.

2017 Fee Schedule

Note once a permit or license has been issued, refunds are not provided.

Registered Third Party Agencies

Limited UCC Third Party Agency Services

The City of Pittsburgh, Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections currently utilizes approved Third Party Agencies for the following:

  • Temporary inspection of Commercial Electrical Permits and Residential Electrical Permits.
  • Temporary plan review of Commercial Fire Suppression and Fire Alarm Permits.
  • Third party agency inspections will be required to complete any existing permits that were issued requiring TPA inspections.

See below for additional information regarding processes for each of these. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to engage an Registered TPA and provide documentation of compliance to the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections.

Electrical Inspections

Due to the temporary shortage of electrical inspectors, the City of Pittsburgh, Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections is requiring the following immediate procedures on new and existing electrical permits. These measures are temporary, and will be repealed or amended as necessary.

All new electrical permits will be required to be inspected by a Third Party Agency Registered with the City of Pittsburgh.

Electrical Contractors will receive additional documents when the permit is issued:

Instructions for TPA Inspections

  1. The Application for Third Party Agency Inspection form must be submitted to the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections TPA Coordinator for approval prior to inspections being performed.
  2. Copies of the valid permit, along with any approved drawings, must be located on the jobsite and made available for review to the TPA performing the inspection.
  3. Inspections shall be performed by the TPA as necessary throughout construction to verify compliance with the approved drawings and requirements of the Uniform Construction Code with City of Pittsburgh amendments.
  4. All inspections (including temp service, rough, final, partial, etc.) must be recorded by the TPA on the job site inspection card, and on the Inspection Report and Compliance Statement form.
  5. Notification of failed inspections shall be made immediately to the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections.
  6. It is the responsibility of the TPA Inspector to provide required notification to utility companies as may be necessary.
  7. Upon passing final inspection, the TPA must send the completed Inspection Report and Compliance Statement form to the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections TPA Coordinator.
  8. Failure to submit required forms will result in revocation of permits and denial of Final Occupancy.

Fire Suppression and Alarm Plan Review

All permit applications submitted for Fire Alarm and/or Fire Suppression Systems shall be reviewed and approved by a registered TPA, for permit submission to the City of Pittsburgh Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspection. Fire suppression permits for underground fire mains and commercial cooking hoods will be reviewed by PLI.

This initiative may be terminated without any advance notice.

Process:

  1. Permit holder shall engage a TPA registered by PLI and certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry to perform the appropriate review.
  2. The selected TPA shall review drawings and approve for compliance with the current applicable code of the UCC and City of Pittsburgh amendments.
  3. Permit holder shall submit two copies of approved documents to PLI, along with the appropriate application forms and payment, for issuance of the permit.
  4. A 15% discount may be deducted from the total cost of the permit fee to help offset the cost of the TPA review.

General TPA Notifications

Private Demolition

When You Need a Demolition Permit

A Demolition Permit must be obtained prior to the removal or total demolition of any building, structure, or part thereof.

For interior demolition only, please see the requirements for Residential or Commercial Building Permits.

How to Get a Demolition Permit

Work shall be performed by a City of Pittsburgh registered General Contractor. Accessory structures associated with one or two family dwellings can be demolished by the property owner if the property serves as their primary residence.

Application

1) Submit completed Private Demolition Application in person at PLI Engineering Counter at 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. The application includes demolition specifications and affidavit that the application has notified adjoining and affected property owners of the intent to demolish.

  • Please see Checklist for additional required documentation for application. Please note some documents may be identified by PLI at time of application.

2) Demolition of structures located in a City Historic District or City designated historic structures requires the approval of the Department of City Planning’s Historic Review Commission (HRC).

  • A Certificate of Appropriateness (issued by the HRC) will be required to be submitted to PLI before the Demolition application will be completed.

3) Demolition of structures located Downtown or in a Planned Development Area requires the approval of the Department of City Planning’s Planning Commission.

  • The Planning Commission’s written decision will be required to be submitted to PLI before the Demolition application will be completed.

4) A “Notice of Intent to Demolish” placard will be provided by PLI. The applicant must post this placard on the front of the structure.

5) The 15 day waiting period begins.

PLI Review

All documents identified as required on the Demo Checklist for permit review will need to be submitted in order for the application to be entered into the queue for review. All applications are logged into our queue and reviewed based in the order in which they are received. Additional documents may be requested, depending on characteristics of particular structure to be demolished.

After the Plans Examining Engineer has reviewed the application, they will notify the applicant of any revisions or of permit approval.

Permit Issuance

After the permit has been approved and the 15 day waiting period is complete, the following will be required in order to issue the permit:

  • Any documents identified in Approval Notification.
  • Submission of all required documents, as noted on Demo Checklist by PLI.
  • Up to date General Contractor's registration (BL#).
  • A check/money order to pay the permit fee, made payable to “Treasurer, City of Pittsburgh”.

Demolition work cannot begin until the permit is issued. A copy of the permit must be kept on site. Please be aware it is the responsibility of the applicant to arrange for the termination of all utility services.

Regulations

The following regulations apply to the demolition of structures in the City of Pittsburgh. Be aware that this is a partial list and that other federal, state, and local regulations may apply.

  • The applicant and/or owner is responsible for exterminating rodents and other pests, see below for more information.
  • During the course of demolition and removal, the public right-of-way (sidewalks, adjoining walkways, streets & alleys) must be kept clear of debris and materials at all times. Citations will be issued for violation of this provision.
  • Prior to the use or obstruction of any public right-of-way by dumpsters, barricades, equipment, material, or scaffolding, a permit must be obtained from the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works .
  • All demolition debris must be disposed of at a landfill approved by the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD). A listing of approved landfills may be obtained from the ACHD.
  • A Plumbing Permit issued by the Allegheny County Health Department Pluming Division is required for the termination of the water and sewer service lines.

Extermination Policy

Before demolition work is commenced, thorough and efficient measures shall be pursued in order to prevent the migration of rodents and other pests by exterminating them from all structures to be demolished. The following minimum requirements apply:

  • Employ only experienced exterminators.
  • Display warning signs in conspicuous places.
  • Three days prior to beginning demolition of any building, bait shall be distributed. No demolition of any nature shall begin before the lapse of three days from the distribution of bait.
  • Methods and materials used for baiting shall meet with the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and shall be used in accordance with the manufacturer's label instructions.

Proof of extermination by an experienced exterminator must be submitted to the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections and verified complete prior to any demolition work.

Inspection

It is the responsibility of the permit holder to arrange for all required inspections by contacting the appropriate inspector. The inspector's name and phone number are printed in bold print on the permit. Required inspections include:

  • Void - a picture must be taken by the inspector before backfilling.
  • Water and Sewer termination – the Allegheny County Health Department Plumbing inspector must inspect the waterline and sewer line to see that it is properly terminated before backfilling.
  • Final inspection – the site needs to be backfilled, graded, seeded and strawed.

If you have any questions regarding these requirements, please call (412) 255-2187.

Special Inspections

Special Inspections are required for certain construction methods and materials, as prescribed by § 1704 of the 2009 International Building Code.  Additionally, Special Inspections are required, within the City of Pittsburgh, for:

  • Permit applications utilizing the Performance Compliance methods (Section 3412 of the 2009 International Building Code or Chapter 13 of the 2009 International Existing Building Code) to confirm that construction and the building comply with the approved scoring.
  • Landscaping and screening when a condition of Department of City Planning permit approval, see the Landscaping Special Inspections Bulletin.

For Commercial Building Permits it is the responsibility of the Architect or Engineer to submit a statement of special inspections as a condition permit issuance. This statement shall indicate all materials and work requiring special inspections and list all of the individuals, approved agencies, and/or firms intended to be retained for conducting such inspections.

Qualified Special Inspectors: 

  • Are approved by the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections Chief. 
  • Are a Pennsylvania registered design professional, with experience in the type of construction to be inspected; OR are an International Code Council certified Special Inspector for the type of  construction to be inspected.
  • Are independent individuals, agencies or firms retained by the owner or the owner's agent.

Special Inspectors are responsible for: 

  • Enforcing the requirements of the Building Code, including stopping noncompliant work.
  • Inspecting all items requiring special inspections as identified by the design professional and/or by the Chief. 
  • Reporting deviations from the approved drawings and/or application.
  • Submitting initial, weekly and final reports to the Chief.
    • Please note that the Special Inspector must sign the final report before the certificate of occupancy will be issued.

Special Inspector reports shall include the following:

  • All information required by Section 1704 of the International Building Code.
  • The permit number(s), property street address and ward to which the report applies.
  • The report number, and the associated period of time to which it refers.

    • For example "Report #1 for the week of September 1st through September 5th."