Modified Operations:
We Are Ready To Serve You.

Based on the Order by the City of Austin and Travis County to “Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe”, all in-person customer services at the One Texas Center facility remain suspended. Most of our services are still available by phone, video conference, email and our online portal, Austin Build + Connect (AB+C). For information on our modified services, please visit our DSD-COVID-19 page.

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The Commercial Plan Review Division reviews and approves commercial and multi-family plans for new construction, remodels, revisions to approved permits, changes of use, and certificate of occupancy/compliance.  Commercial construction projects are reviewed for compliance with the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) and Building Technical Codes (Local Amendments)


Services provided by Commercial Plan Review

 

Preliminary Plan Review

A Preliminary Plan Review allows the owner or owner's agent(s) to meet with plan reviewers to discuss preliminary design or code issues.

These meetings are designed to identify items that need to be addressed or modified before construction plans are submitted to the City for permit review.

All PPRs are coordinated by the Expedited Building Plan Review Program. Prices for a PPR vary depending on the disciplines involved and the number of disciplines requested. The fees are charged by each discipline’s hourly rate.

Refer to the Expedited Review Website for a complete list of fees by review discipline and applications.

Preliminary Plan Review Request Form (PDF)

Concurrent Review

Provides a concurrent review of subdivision, site plan, and commercial building plan applications. 

Concurrent Reviews Request Form (PDF)

Quick Turn-Around (QT) Review

Quick Turn-Around reviews and approvals apply to small commercial finish-outs, interior remodels, and minor structures and are generally processed within a 24-hour period. A list of eligible projects is included in the request form.

Quick Turn-Around (QT) and 7 Day Permit Process (PDF)

QT Hours are Monday - Thursdays,  8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

7 Business Day Review

7 Business Day reviews and approvals allow small commercial remodels of certain occupancy types and small projects to be processed within a 7 business day period. View the application and list of eligible projects:

Quick Turn-Around (QT) and 7 Day Permit Process (PDF)

New Construction / Addition / Remodel

Projects that exceed the limitations of a Quick Turnaround or 7 Business Day Review will be reviewed based on the size and scope of the project per the Commercial Review Times:

The chart below reflects new review times which became effective on May 16, 2017.

These review times will be reviewed on an annual basis each fiscal year, which begins on October 1st, and may be adjusted based on the availability of additional resources, the mandate of additional code requirements without additional resources, or a reduction of development within the City of Austin.

The review times are published in Section 15.7 of the Building Criteria Manual, and include the review times reflected below:

COMMERCIAL PLAN REVIEW TYPE

REVIEW TIMES
(Business Days)

New Construction

25

New Construction, Update 2 (Review Cycle 3)

15

New Construction < 25,000 sq. ft.

15

Remodel

15

Remodel, Update 2 (Review Cycle 3)

10

7 Business Day Review*

 

Quick Turnaround

7

 

Typically Same Day
with Restrictions

Smart Housing

7

Smart Housing Update**

2

Update for Site Plan / Tap Receipt only

7

Major Revision

Match Original

Minor Revision

7

*If the reviewer determines that the project scope and/or complexity exceeds the limitations of the 7 Business Day Eligible Projects List, the project will be reclassified as a 15-business-day-review 

**Applies when design team provides the updated plans within the required timeframe as outlined in the City of Austin Smart Housing Guide. City staff processing time may affect the review time.

Commercial Building Application (PDF)

Overtime Plan Review

An Overtime Plan Review allows the owner and/or owner’s agent(s) to request an overtime review to shorten the review time for an updated submittal. The review will be completed within 5 business days.

Commercial Plan Review Overtime Plan Review Request Form (PDF)

Occupant Load Cards

An occupant load card (OLC) is required to be displayed in all rooms or spaces that are Assembly occupancies. The occupant load is the number of occupants for which the means of egress of a building or part of a building is designed. Occupant load cards for existing and new buildings are issued by Commercial Plan Review.  

  • Existing Buildings
    An existing building/space may have an OLC on file. To request review of files for an existing OLC, contact commercialreview@austintexas.gov
     
  • New Buildings, Increased Load Request, Standing Room Only and Existing Buildings without Building Occupancy Load Cards
    New buildings, increased load requests, standing room only (SRO) or buildings without an OLC on file will require a plan review to determine the occupant load. To get an occupant load increase, you will need to submit a basic set of architectural plans and Commercial Plan Review will perform an “Occupant Load Card Increase Plan Review” to establish a new occupant load for your space. To request an New/Increase/SRO Occupant Load Card, contact Commercial Plan Review.
     
  • Special Events
    Occupancy load cards for special and temporary events are issued by the Fire Department. A Temporary Occupancy Load Adjustment modifies the occupant load at an assembly occupancy venue with a previously-issued load card. (e.g., an assembly occupancy adding a stage to the previously-approved floor plan, resulting in a reduction in occupant load.) This is NOT for increases in occupant load; those must be approved by the City’s Development Services Department (DSD).
    Those requesting a Temporary Occupancy Load Adjustment must fill out an ACE application at least thirty (30) days prior to the scheduled event or by the deadline established by the SEO for the event within the appropriate tier.
Temporary Building Permits

A temporary building permit allows an early construction start of a portion of the building/structure before the plans and specifications for the entire project have been approved for permit. The Temporary Building Permit Request must reviewed and approved for issuance of a temporary building permit.

  • A temporary building permit is issued for new ground up construction only. The portion of work associated with this permit is limited to early start construction for foundations and under slab electrical/plumbing/mechanical.
     
  • Tenant improvement/renovation and interior finish-out permits generally do not qualify for a temporary building permit.
     
  • The permittee under the temporary building permit proceeds with construction at the permittee’s risk.  A temporary building permit does not guarantee that a permit for the entire building or structure will be approved.
     
  • To apply, please fill out the Temporary Building Permit Request.  To qualify for a temporary building permit, Items 1 through 7 of the application must be met. 

Temporary Building Permit Request (PDF)

Demolition / Relocation Requirements

Relocation and demolition applications are forwarded to the Historic Preservation Office for review of historic applicability if the structure is over 45 years old.

Demolition/Relocation Requirements 

Demolition Permit Application (PDF)

Relocation Permit Application (PDF)


Processes and Requirements

Work Exempt from Permit

A permit is not required for certain types of work. Please reference the Work Exempt section for each adopted code listed.  Work exempt from permit must still comply with applicable Building Codes, City Codes and all other applicable ordinances.

The Permitting Process
  1. Preliminary Meeting. If an owner and/or the owner’s agents wish to meet with staff to discuss preliminary design and/or construction issues, request a Preliminary Plan Review Meeting (PPR) at any time prior to submitting a permit application to Commercial Plan Review. These meetings, conducted by the Expedited Building Plan Review team, are designated to assist the owner and/or design team identify items that need to be addressed or modified before construction plans are submitted to the City for permit review. The PPR does not guarantee approval of plans. The Preliminary Plan Review meeting is required for any general pre-application consultation that needs more than 20 minutes and/or requires two or more major code disciplines.
    Commercial Plan Review Preliminary Plan Review Meeting Request Form (PDF)
     
  2. Prepare. Download a Commercial Building Application (PDF) and review Submittal Requirements to determine what documentation you will need to gather for your permit application. If your project is eligible for a Quick Turnaround (QT) or 7-day Small Commercial Remodel review, include the appropriate QT/7-day qualifying checklist:
    Quick Turn-Around (QT) and 7 Day Permit Process (PDF)
     
  3. Site Plan. A Site Plan, Site Plan Correction, or Site Plan Exemption is required in advance of submitting an application for a building permit. A Site Plan can be reviewed concurrently when the building permit application is accompanied by an approved Concurrent Review Request form:
    Concurrent Reviews Request Form (PDF)
     
  4. Apply. There are currently two options available to submit a project online:
    • Box.com - Please create an account at AB+C.  Then email the completed Commercial Plan Review Application to commercialreview@austintexas.gov, please include your AB+C account email address. Once your project is accepted for review, you will receive an invoice and link to upload all the required documents and drawings outlined within the Commercial Plan Review Application.  The invoice can be paid on the AB+C portal. Once the invoice is paid, your project will be distributed for review and your review time will start. 
       
    • AB+C Portal - Please create an account at AB+C.  Then login to the AB+C portal.  Select “Apply for Permit/Case”. Select “Plan Review – Commercial” and follow the steps within the portal to define your project and upload your drawings. Intake staff will review your application for completeness and will contact you if more information is required. Once the application is complete, an invoice will be created. The invoice can be paid on the AB+C portal.  Once the invoice is paid, your project will be distributed for review and your review time will start. 
       
  5. Plan Review. Review staff reviews plans in the order they are received and based on the mandated review times. Once a review is complete, you will receive approval notification or a Master Comment Report via email which must be addressed by the owner or owner’s agent prior to permit application approval.
     
  6. Corrections. Make corrections to the required documentation as outlined in the Master Comment Report. If you have questions about comments, reach out to the assigned review for clarification and they will respond to your email or call within 24 hours. If you need more than 20 minutes or need to meet with more than 1 review discipline, please schedule a Plan Review Consultation using the Plan Review Consultation Form:
    Commercial Plan Review Consultation
 (PDF)

    Once all corrections have been made, return to the AB+C portal and inform the intake staff that an update is ready to be submitted at commercialreview@austintexas.gov. Once your update is accepted for review, you will receive an invoice (if applicable) and link to upload the updated documents and drawings. Please note that when submitting an update, the full plan set must be submitted, not just the updated sheets. The invoice can be paid on the AB+C Portal. You may have to repeat this step if deficiencies remain. 
     

  7. Permit Issuance. Once the final reviewer approves your application, the plans go back to our Intake Coordinators who finalize the process. This step can take a one to two days. Once the required permits have been created you will receive an email indicating that the permit(s) are pending activation. To activate permits, please email permitsubmittal@austintexas.gov.  
     
  8. Inspections. Once your permits have been activated, you may schedule a preconstruction meeting then start construction and the inspection process.
    Building Inspections
     
  9. Revisions. We understand changes can arise in the field for various reasons. Or you may have deferred submittals for certain items as allowed by code. Submit revisions to the approved permit application using the same steps as above using the Plan Review Revision Form:
    Commercial Plan Review Revision
 (PDF)
Structural Review

Openings in Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) beams
Read the new requirements for Openings in LVL Beams:
Openings in LVL Beams (PDF)


Effective February 13, 2017, Commercial Plan Review* will begin performing structural reviews on the following commercial construction project types:

Description IBC Occupancy Classification
Five- or-more family buildings R-2, R-3, or R-4
Mixed-use R-2, R-3, or R-4 combined with any other use OR any combination of A, M, B uses
Hotels, motels, and tourist cabins intended for transient accommodations R-1
Hospitals and institutional buildings I-1, I-2, I-3, or I-4
Office, bank and professional buildings and medical office buildings B
Schools and other educational buildings E
Commercial Remodel - Repair/modification of structural elements including repairs to balconies, stairs, decks, structural damage, etc. -

*For Expedited Review, all projects with a structural scope of work will be subjected to a structural review and will not be limited to this list.

Structural Review Submittal Checklist (PDF)

A structural review can also be requested by the Inspections division for structural field issues and by the Residential Review division for complicated residential structural plans, and will be subject to the applicable review fees.

For more information, contact the Development Services Department at 512-978-4000.

Review Times

The chart below reflects new review times which became effective on May 16, 2017.

These review times will be reviewed on an annual basis each fiscal year, which begins on October 1st, and may be adjusted based on the availability of additional resources, the mandate of additional code requirements without additional resources, or a reduction of development within the City of Austin.

The review times are published in Section 15.7 of the Building Criteria Manual, and include the review times reflected below:

COMMERCIAL PLAN REVIEW TYPE

REVIEW TIMES
(Business Days)

New Construction

25

New Construction, Update 2 (Review Cycle 3)

15

New Construction < 25,000 sq. ft.

15

Remodel

15

Remodel, Update 2 (Review Cycle 3)

10

7 Business Day Review*

 

Quick Turnaround

7

 

Typically Same Day
with Restrictions

Smart Housing

7

Smart Housing Update**

2

Update for Site Plan / Tap Receipt only

7

Major Revision

Match Original

Minor Revision

7

*If the reviewer determines that the project scope and/or complexity exceeds the limitations of the 7 Business Day Eligible Projects List, the project will be reclassified as a 15-business-day-review 

**Applies when design team provides the updated plans within the required timeframe as outlined in the City of Austin Smart Housing Guide. City staff processing time may affect the review time.

Project Status

It can take 7-25 business days for your permit application to be reviewed once you submit, depending on the application type. The status of your application can be checked online through the Austin Build +Connect (AB+C) Portal or by calling or emailing the assigned reviewer or intake coordinator.

Fees

The cost of a project depends on the scope of work. 
Please note that the permits fees are separate from the permit application fees.

Commercial Building Plan Review & Permit Fees (PDF)

Revisions

Revisions are required for changes to construction permits; for adding or removing a trade permit; and for changes to the approved design, after the application for permit has been approved and permits have been created and before the structure has passed final inspection.  Revisions may also be utilized deferred submittal of certain items as allowed by code. Please note that revisions cannot increase square footage and cannot include a change of use.  Changes of that nature would require a new permit application.  

To submit a revision, email the completed Commercial Building Application and revision scope of work narrative to commercialreview@austintexas.gov. Intake staff will review your application and create an invoice. Once your revision is accepted for review, you will receive an invoice and link to upload the updated documents and drawings. Please note that when submitting a revision, the full plan set must be submitted, not just the revised sheets. The invoice can be paid on the AB+C Portal. You may have to repeat this step if deficiencies remain. 

Commercial Plan Review Revision
 (PDF)

Standalone Trade Permits

Most Standalone Trade Permits can be requested directly through the AB+C portal.  If you have any questions or issues, please contact the Service Center at permitsubmittal@austintexas.gov.

Energy Code Requirements

Chapter 6-7 of the City Code requires energy audits and disclosures for all structures served by Austin Energy and located within Austin city limits. Read the Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure information from Austin Energy.


New Procedures

Standing Room Occupancy (SRO) Policy for A-2 and A-3 (Assembly) Venues

This new policy allows venues to make certain changes to an approved Standing Room Occupancy (SRO) Load Card without requiring submittal of the changes to the Development Services Department. SRO Load Cards establish maximum level occupancy of a venue and are issued upon commercial building plan approval. For A-2 and A-3 (assembly) venues, the new policy provides that tables/bars with chairs/stools may be added, but the addition of each table/bar will reduce the occupancy level by 6 occupants per table/bar. This policy will allow venue owners/management to make changes for specific or temporary events without having to resubmit for approval. The Occupant load Card must be posted during a final building inspection, and compliance with approved occupancy levels is subject to verification by the Fire Department.
​​​​


Applications and Forms

Applications for Commercial Plan Review
Supplementary Forms for Commercial Plan Review
Review Aids for Commercial Plan Review

FAQs

Do I need a permit?

The City of Austin requires a permit for any person, firm or corporation to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, improve, remove, convert, move or demolish any building or structure within the City’s zoning jurisdiction or in a Municipal Utility District (MUD) if the consent agreement between the MUD and the City requires insurance of a permit prior to construction. Unless specifically exempted by the City Code, permits are required within the City’s zoning jurisdiction; in MUDs or for electrical and plumbing work in other areas outside the City’s zoning jurisdiction where City utilities are provided. A separate permit is required for each building or structure where work occurs.

A permit is not required for certain types of work:

Work Exempt

Can I pay a fee online (Plan Review Fee or other invoices fees)?

Online payments are accepted through Austin Build+Connect. If this is your first time paying online, you will need to set up an account on Austin Build+Connect and have our intake staff line the online account to your project. Ask for assistance with this from Commercial Plan Review intake staff or Service Center staff. This step is not required once you have gone through the process the first time.

What are the options to submit electronic plans?

There are currently two options to submit electronically:

  • ProjectDox
  • Box.com 

The first two steps for both options start with, 1) creating an AB+C account and 2) sending the completed Commercial Building Application to commercialreview@austintexas.gov. Please include which electronic submittal option you would like to submit. An intake coordinator will create your project folder accordingly. **Please note that there will be additional options to submit starting May 4th.

What items are needed to submit for plan review?

The submittal requirements can be found in the Commercial Building Application Checklist:
Commercial Building Checklist (PDF)

Additional guidance can be found on these informational sheets:

Commercial Remodel/Tenant Finish-Out Requirements (PDF)

Commercial Swimming Pool/Spa Requirements (PDF)

QT Photovoltaic Solar Requirements (PDF)

How can I contact my reviewer?

Once the permit application fees have been paid, review staff are assigned to the project.  Once assigned, you may contact your reviewer via email or telephone.  Reviewer contact information can be found as follows:

  • If you have already received a Master Comment Report, your reviewer's contact information will be printed on the report.
     
  • Using the Public Search on the Austin Build + Connect website and the property address or the PR number which is given to the applicant at time of submittal, the reviewers name and contact phone number will be listed in the Permit Details under "Process and Notes".

 An appointment with the discipline reviewer is highly encouraged prior to resubmitting in order to make sure that what is being resubmitted addresses all review comments and more importantly does not generate any new comments.  

Why can’t I see my assigned reviewer today?

Review staff is available Monday-Friday from 8am-12 pm for free 20-minute consultations. Each day a different reviewer is assigned to be on duty to cover walk-in questions so that remaining review staff can focus on completing plan reviews. If you wish to speak directly with your assigned reviewer, please contact them via email or telephone.

How many toilet fixtures will I need?

The number of plumbing facilities is determined on the type of occupancy and occupancy load. The City of Austin has adopted local amendments to the Uniform Plumbing Code. See Table 422.1 Minimum Plumbing Facilities

What type of occupancy is this building?

Buildings are used in different ways. It is important to determine the occupancy classification for most of the requirements in your building design.

There are ten different occupancy classifications in the adopted building code each with its own set of regulations, for instance, to define the types of materials used in construction, means of egress and fire protection system. The 10 occupancy groups are: Assembly (A), Business (B), Educational (E), Factory and Industrial (F), High Hazard (H), Institutional (I), Mercantile (M), Residential (R), Storage (S) and Utility and Miscellaneous (U). Please reference the currently adopted building code for more information.  The City of Austin’s Building Technical Codes are listed at this link: 

Building Technical Codes

What is a deferred submittal?

The request for deferred submittal is an agreement by the permittee that those portions of the design that were not submitted at the time of the application is deferred for review on a later date.   The form contains a list of items that qualify to be deferred.  

When a request for deferred submittal has been submitted, an administrative hold will be placed on the permit that restricts the applicant to request for final inspections and the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.  The applicant is responsible to resubmit all agreed upon deferred submittal items for a revision review and approval with commercial plan review prior to the release of the administrative hold. 

Commercial Plan Review Deferred Submittal Request Form
 (PDF)


Questions?

Call 3-1-1 (inside the city limits), or 512-974-2000 (outside the city limits). You may also contact us via e-mail: commercialreview@austintexas.gov.

If an appointment is needed to address review comments, please schedule with your assigned Reviewer. 

We do our best to return all calls and provide an email response within 24 hours. In the unfortunate event that you are not receiving a response in this time, please contact a supervisor or the manager. Please reference the organization chart. Scroll to “Section 2.1 Building Plan Review” to find the appropriate point of escalation.  Please start with the direct supervisor over the staff with whom you are working.
 


Office Hours

Intake & General Information:
Monday - Friday
8 am – 12 pm

Review Staff & Standalone Trade Permit Consultations:
Monday - Friday
8 am – 12 pm

Quick Turn-around:
Monday - Thursday
8 am – 11 am