Thursday, February 25, 2021

City of Austin: Permitting Fees & Requirements Waived to Speed Up Cold Weather Repairs


Permitting Fees and Requirements Waived to Speed Up Cold Weather Repairs

Residential permitting, development fees and certain plumbing permit requirements are waived in response to emergency repair needs

Austin City Council passed two ordinances today waiving residential permitting and development fees and certain plumbing permit requirements. These ordinances are in response to the winter weather which has posed widespread and severe property damage due to prolonged freezing temperatures, heavy snow, and freezing rain.
City Council passed an ordinance waiving residential permitting and development fees related to repairing or reconstructing structures, and removing trees and tree limbs damaged as a result of winter weather events. The fees covered by this waiver include permitting, plan review, inspection, demolition, and variance fees for repair of existing structures only, and do not include fees for re-inspections.
The City's Plumbing Code requires an individual to obtain a permit for most plumbing activities. Due to cold weather-related damages, the Building Official expects that the number of small-scale plumbing activities will be significant. As a result, normal permit requirements may, in some circumstances, result in delays that are counter to the City's health and safety interests, which include preventing further damage to structures. Therefore, an additional ordinance was passed related to plumbing permits and plumber registration requirements which:

  1. Authorize the Building Official to exempt certain plumbing activities from permit requirements from Article 6 (Plumbing Code) of Chapter 25-12 (Technical Code);
  2. Extend the deadline to submit a permit application from one business day to five business days from the date the activity starts;
  3. Waive City registration requirements for work regulated by the Plumbing Code.

"We understand severe weather caused significant damage to building and plumbing infrastructure in Austin. These quick actions from City Council and the Development Services Department allow the City to respond in real time to the needs of our community. Our dedicated staff has been, and will continue to, work throughout this crisis to support the urgent needs of our customers," said Development Services Director Denise Lucas.
For further support, the Development Services Department established a dedicated webpage for Emergency Repairs and Permitting, including a live web chat feature for quick response and a hotline (512-974-1500), operational Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In addition, the City of Austin launched a new webpage to help residents navigate winter storm repairs. Visitors to will find information about safety for repairs, plumbers, electricians, and other contractors; code compliance and service requests; the City's emergency permitting process; homeowner's funding assistance; and federal and local assistance programs.

About the Development Services Department
The Development Services Department (DSD) ensures compliant and sustainable development, supports the environment and urban forest, and helps ensure special event safety. DSD collaborates with partner departments and helps homeowners, business owners, contractors, event managers and area residents understand and apply existing codes and other guidelines designed to help keep our community safe. 

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