Residential Permitting

General Process



You need to provide a paper application and some additional documents when you apply for a permit. The types of documents you need to submit with your application depend on the kind of project you want to build. A reviewer can help you find out what documents you need if you sign up for a free 20 minute consultation or you can hire a licensed professional to help you apply for your permit.

What happens at Residential Plan Review?

A staff member will meet with you and use a checklist called a Gold Sheet to perform a completeness check.

Once you apply, you will be moved into the Review process. Reviewers will either approve your application or send you any required changes in the form of comments. This process typically takes about 15 business days.

Remember to leave enough time for the completeness check. Residential Plan Review can get very busy and wait times can be an hour or longer. We recommend signing up online or arriving as close to opening time as possible and sign up in person.

What documents will I need to submit?

The documents you need to submit with your application depend on the type of project you want to build. You can request a free 20 minute consultation with a reviewer to help you determine what you need to submit.

1. Application

The project’s application or express permit (if one applies to your project) can be filled out by you or a hired professional.

2. Plot Plan

Even though they may be mentioned in relation to one another, a site plan and a plot plan are not the same thing.

  • A plot plan is a drawing that shows your home’s current footprint and any existing structures on your property.

Your plot plan must be drawn to scale either by hand or on a computer and can be prepared by you or a hired professional. If you’re hand drawing your plans, use graph paper to make it easy to draw to scale. If possible, include trees and power lines that run above your property. See samples of a plot plan and instructions for drawing a site plan.

3. Floor Plan

The floor plan of your proposed project must be drawn to scale either by hand or on a computer and can be prepared by you or a hired professional. If possible, use graph paper to make drawing to scale easy for you. We highly suggest you draw your floor plan on 3 pages for clarity. If the reviewers can’t understand your drawings, your project will be rejected.

Use a separate page for:

  • existing walls and features to be demolished,
  • existing walls and features that will remain,
  • and your proposed floor plan.

4. Elevation Plan

The elevation plan of your proposed addition or extension must be drawn to scale either by hand or by using a CAD program and can be prepared by you or a hired professional. Again, use graph paper if you’re hand drawing the elevation plan. See examples.

5. Structural Drawings

Structural drawings refer to any bracing, framing or structural verification reports. You will need these drawings if you remove a load-bearing wall or change any structural components. Structural drawings can only be completed by a licensed Texas engineer or architect.

6. Foundation Plan

Your foundation plan must be drawn by a structural engineer.

Other commonly requested documents

Here is a list of commonly requested forms you may need to submit with your application.

  • Owner’s Authorization Form: This form is required if one of your hired professionals, such as an engineer or an architect, is submitting your application. They will need your authorization to do so.
  • Certified Tax Certificate or Warranty Deed: Used to verify ownership.
  • Austin Water Utility Form: This form is required if you are increasing the number or bathrooms or performing any work that will promote you to the next water meter size. An example of this can be upgrading from 3 to 3.5 bathrooms.
  • Homeowners authorization letter: There is a space for the homeowner’s signature on the application in place of letter.
  • S.M.A.R.T. Housing Project Information: If you participate in S.M.A.R.T. housing, you will need to include a signed certification letter from Neighborhood Housing and Community Development (NHCD) and a signed conditional approval letter from Austin Energy Green Building.
  • Demolition Application: This is only necessary if you will change any walls in your home, extend a room past your home’s current footprint, or add any windows or doors. If you need a demolition application, you will also need:
    • a survey or plot plan (you can use the same one you used for your interior remodel or new addition application),
    • to have it signed by the owner and notarized,
    • and photographs of the area to be demolished. We recommend taking photos from several angles and taking more than you may think necessary.
  • Building Service Permit Application (BSPA): Required for building permits, not standalone trade or tree permits.

There may be other forms or plans you may need to submit depending on your project. Those forms and plans can be determined at the consultation.

If you already know what plans you need, you can receive guidance on how to create them using these sample plans.

How do I submit my application?

Submit your complete permit application at Residential Plan Review. There are two ways to submit your application.

  • Sign up for intake in person at the QLess Kiosk. The kiosk is located within the Residential Plan Review Division.
  • You can also save time by joining the line remotely on the QLess website.

Read more about signing up on QLess.