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 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.
The Service Center registers contractors, trades, and homeowners with the City so that permits may be issued to those persons. They also issue stand-alone permits, make changes to existing permits, and link registrations with AB+C Portal online accounts so customers can conduct business online.
Before a new building or trade permit application will be accepted or approved, any expired permits for building (BP), mechanical (MP), electrical (EP) or plumbing (PP) must be resolved.
Registration for Contractors, Trades, Homeowners
Registration with the City of Austin Development Services Department (DSD) is required before obtaining your first permit. The DSD Service Center registers general contractors, electricians, mechanical, plumbing, irrigation, and fireline contractors, as well as homeowners acting as their own contractor. To register, complete a Letter of Authorization with a hand signature, scan, and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mechanical and irrigation registrations will require a fee.
Trade contractors (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, irrigation, and fireline) must be registered with the State of Texas and will need to also provide the City with a copy of their master license, driver's license, and contractor's license if applicable. Plumbers will need to also provide proof of insurance. Renewals of licenses will need to be submitted to the City each year as applicable. View the Texas trades licensing requirements below:
General Contractors and homeowners performing their own work do not need to be licensed, however, they must register with the City of Austin prior to receiving their first permit.
A homeowner that wishes to register as the trade contractor (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) and perform the work must be eligible based on the requirements of the Homeowner's Homestead Permit. If the eligibility requirements are met for the trade permit, email the completed Homestead Affidavit form with notarization (notarization not required during the City of Austin's "Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe" Order) the Letter of Authorization with a hand signature (scanned), and the permit number or associated trade permit application to the Service Center at email@example.com. If the homeowner does not meet the eligibility requirements for the trade permit, a professional trade contractor must request the permit and perform the work.
After registration, you will receive a PIN that may be used when scheduling inspections using the telephone interactive voice response (IVR) scheduling system (512) 974-9405. In addition, the Service Center can link your registration with your online AB+C Portal account to pay for permits, schedule inspections, and conduct other development business with the City. No PIN is required if scheduling on the AB+C Portal.
To obtain a trade permit email the appropriate application below to firstname.lastname@example.org. Some trade permits may be issued only after the related building permit is issued.
- Plumbing Permit Application
- Electric Permit Application
- Mechanical Permit Application
- General Contractor Permit Application
Permit Cancellations, Transfers, and Refunds
To transfer a permit from one contractor to another, both the previous and current contractors, or their listed permit agent(s), must complete and sign a Transfer Contractor Letter application.
- The permit must be active
- Only if the transfer is between contractors of the same type
- Both parties just agree
- Demolition and Relocation permits cannot be transferred
- Homeowner permits cannot be "transferred" but they can remove the listed contractor and repurchase it as a homestead, or remove themselves to allow a licensed contractor to repurchase it
Remove a Contractor
If the previous contractor refuses to sign or cannot be reached, the owner of the property or the general contractor over the project may complete a Remove Contractor Letter application. This form removes the previous contractor and allows the repurchase of the permit by the current contractor. The Remove Contractor Letter form may also be used by a contractor to remove themselves from the permit.
A refund requires approximately four weeks once the Request for a Refund application has been received and processed.
Refunds of building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing & irrigation permits may be requested in writing by the purchaser of the permit. The request must include the Permit(s) number, address(es), include a copy of the permit receipt, and must be signed by the purchaser of the permit.
A refund will not be granted if the purchaser has paid the minimum fee established for the specific type of permit in the adopted fee schedule.
A refund will not be granted if any work governed by the permit has been performed.
A refund will not be granted if an inspection has been performed, scheduled or requested pursuant to the permit.
A refund of 75% of the original permit fee, less the minimum permit fee established for the specific type of permit in the adopted Fee Schedule will be granted if the permit is active, and the purchaser of the permit has requested a refund in writing.
Permits expire on the 181st day after the date the permit is issued and the project has not received an inspection, or after the date of the last inspection that shows progress toward completion of the project. An application for a permit will be deemed “Expired” after 180 days if a permit has not been issued. Check property for expired permits.
- If you are the contractor associated with the permit, you may log into the AB+C Portal, select “My Permits”, find the permit in question, open it, and select “permit change request”. This will enable you to reactivate the permit online if payment is submitted online within 24 hours (select "My Bills" to pay).
- If the old work is related to a new scope of work within the same structure, it is strongly recommended that the expired work be re-permitted with the new permit application. You will need to indicate the intent to resolve the expired permit under the “project description” of the new application.
- If it is unrelated to a new permit and/or separate inspection processes are desired, please complete the forms below and submit with your new application indicating that the expired permit(s) will be resolved separately from the new application. (Note: the three (3) lines near the top of the page should be used to list the expired permit numbers (e.g. 2000-194205 BP) and the property address should be written on the designated line near the bottom.)
For questions about resolving expired permits, please call 3-1-1. If outside the city limits, call 512-974-2000.
To appeal the issuance of a building permit, please contact the Building Official for more information.
Permit Payment Services
Online by Credit Card or Electronic Check
The Austin Build + Connect (AB+C) online portal enables customers to pay some permit and inspection fees online, schedule inspections, and perform other services online. After registering on AB+C, and verifying your confirmation email with AB+C, call 3-1-1 (or 512-974-2000) to link your new AB+C account with your profile which was created when you registered with DSD with your Letter of Authorization.
An Escrow Account can be established by depositing money in an account to pay for future permit and inspection fees. Additionally, once an account is established, contractors may issue themselves a trade permit, designate up to six (6) agents to conduct business on their behalf and use of their personal escrow account, and pay for permit and inspection fees online. View DSD Fees
Once the account is established, visit our online portal, Austin Build + Connect (AB+C) to pay for permit and inspection fees. You must be a registered user to use this service. For first time users, please visit Austin Build + Connect and click on Become a Registered User.
Please note the following requirements:
- Escrow accounts must have sufficient funds in the account
- The desired permit must be tied to an active building permit
- If the escrow account balance drops to zero or below, a new account must be activated and an activation fee will be assessed. The current fee for escrow activation is listed in the Commercial and Residential Fee Schedules.
- In order to request a refund of an escrow account, submit a letter signed by the master escrow account holder (not the company)
- In order to request a transfer between accounts, submit a letter signed by both master licensed holders (not the company)