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Building Permits

Building permits are required before beginning projects to enlarge, repair, change, add to or demolish a structure, and to install equipment or systems in a structure.



You need to get zoning approval to install signs. The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues these approvals. The Philadelphia Zoning Code includes rules for: Number of signs - Type - Size - Location - Height - Illumination or lighting.

New Constructions or Additions

You need zoning approval for new buildings and additions. Zoning approval is required to get a Building Permit. If your proposal meets code requirements, you are granted permits as a matter of right. If your proposal does not meet code requirements, you’ll need a special exception or variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.


You need zoning approval to demolish an entire building or structure. Zoning approval is required to file for a Complete Demolition Permit. The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues demolition and zoning permits. If the property is in the floodplain, it may require special documents or a review meeting.


You must get a Building Permit before starting a project that: Enlarges or adds to an existing structure - Changes the interior or exterior of an existing structure  - Partially or fully demolishes a structure - Changes the occupancy classification of any part of a building - Increases the occupant load in a space - Includes major repairs that aren’t part of regular maintenance -  Includes 5,000 sq. ft. or more of earth disturbance.

Certificate of Occupancy and Tenant Fit-Outs

Use Registration Permits authorize a particular use of the building or ground. A use registration permit is required for the following situations: Changes in any activity in an existing building - New business use for a property - Increases or decreases in the number of dwelling units - Elimination of an existing use in a property - Billboards and most signs.

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