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How to Get a Demolition Permit in Pennsylvania – A Full Guide!

Demolition Permit in Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

If you’re considering a demolition project in Pennsylvania, whether it’s a residential or commercial building, you may be wondering about obtaining a demolition permit. Perhaps you’re a property owner looking to take on the project yourself, or maybe you’re a contractor interested in obtaining a license to work in demolition. 

Whatever your situation may be, it’s essential to understand the requirements for obtaining a demolition permit in Pennsylvania to ensure the safety of workers and the public. 

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to obtaining a demolition permit in Pennsylvania, including the necessary forms and fees, the time it takes to obtain a building permit, and the different types of demolition permits available in Philadelphia. We’ll also cover the importance of obtaining prior approval for demolition projects and the consequences. So, whether you’re a property owner or a contractor, read on to learn everything you need to obtain a demolition permit in Pennsylvania.

House Demolition

Do you need a license for demolition in PA?

Absolutely, a license is required for demolition work in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry requires anyone who engages in demolition work to hold a valid Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) registration or be licensed under the Pennsylvania Contractor Registration Act. Contractors who engage in demolition must also have liability and workers’ compensation insurance.

There are two license categories for demolition contractors in Pennsylvania: Class A and Class B: 

Class A allows for the complete demolition of any structure. In contrast, Class B allows for the complete demolition of a building that is no more than three stories, with a maximum height of 40 feet and a maximum area of 10,000 square feet. However, these licenses are not required for interior or partial demolition work.

Property owners who wish to perform demolition work themselves may be exempt from the licensing requirements. Still, checking with their local government office for specific regulations and requirements is necessary. It’s also worth noting that different Pennsylvania municipalities may have specific requirements for demolition permits and contractor licensing. Hence, it’s important to check with the local government office in the specific location where the demolition project is taking place to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Where do I get a demolition permit in PA?

In Pennsylvania, demolition permits are typically obtained from the local government office or the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I). The specific office or department responsible for issuing permits may vary depending on the location of the demolition project.

Demolition in Pennsylvania

Who can apply for demolition permits in PA?

Demolition permits in Pennsylvania can be applied for by licensed contractors, property owners, or their authorized representatives, which may include:

  1. Design professionals: Architects, engineers, or other professionals authorized to represent property owners in construction and demolition projects.
  2. Attorneys: Attorneys authorized to represent property owners in legal matters related to demolition projects.
  3. Demolition contractors: Licensed demolition contractors specializing in demolition work and having the necessary permits and insurance.
  4. Licensed expediters: Licensed professionals assist with obtaining permits and approvals for construction and demolition projects.

It’s important to note that the requirements for obtaining a demolition permit may vary depending on the municipality where the demolition project is taking place. The party wall agreement must be signed by both the certificate holder and the adjoining property owner to protect ownership rights.

Property owners and their authorized representatives should check with the local government office in the specific location where the demolition project is taking place to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

How do I apply for a demolition permit in PA?

You can apply for a demolition permit in Pennsylvania in person at the Permit and License Center or online using eCLIPSE

Here are the steps to apply for a demolition permit:

In-person Method:

  1. Get any required pre-approvals before submitting your application to L&I.
  2. Bring your completed application, application materials, and payment to the Permit and License Center. Applications are processed within 20 business days. The applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 business days. L&I will give you a Notice of Demolition when you apply. The contractor must post this notice immediately.
  3. If approved, the applicant will receive notice to pay the balance. If not, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required if not approved. Before a permit may be issued, the contractor must be identified and confirm association with the project.
  4. Once approved, schedule your inspections.

Online Method:

  1. Log in to your eCLIPSE account and apply for a permit. Upload all required documents and submit the filing fee. If applying as a licensed professional or contractor, you must first associate your license or registration with your online account.
  2. The application will go to L&I and other City departments for review and approval. Before a permit can be issued, the contractor must be identified and confirm association with the project. Applications are processed within 20 business days. Allow an additional business day for pre-processing. Here too, the applicant can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 business days. Once L&I accepts your application, you can download the Notice of Demolition or receive it to your email. The contractor must post this notice immediately.
  3. If approved, the applicant will receive notice to pay the balance. The applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required if not approved.
  4. Once approved, schedule your inspections.

Note that the contractor must submit a photo to L&I demonstrating proof of posting the Notice of Demolition. Work cannot commence until permit issuance and 21 days after posting. When the contractor is ready to start work, request an inspection on eCLIPSE or call (215) 255-4040. Approval documents will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.

Demolition work

What forms are needed for demolition permission in PA?

The form needed for demolition permission in Pennsylvania is the “Application for Demolition Permit” form (UCC-4). This form is used to apply for a permit to demolish a entire building or structure. It can be submitted in person at the Permit and License Center or online through the eCLIPSE system. Other forms may be required depending on the specific circumstances of the demolition project.

How much is a demolition permit in PA?

The cost of a demolition permit in Pennsylvania varies based on the size of the project and the type of building. The permit fee is calculated per 100 square feet of the structure and is $23 per 100 sq. ft. The minimum fee is $232, and the maximum is $46,440. 

In addition to the permit fee, there is a zoning permit fee for demolition of $58. Other fees that may apply include filing fees, surcharge fees, record retention fees, and an optional accelerated plan review fee.

Learn more about the costs of demolition permits here.

Demolition in Pennsylvania

How long does it take to get a permit in PA?

The processing time for a demolition permit in Philadelphia can vary depending on the project’s complexity and the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) workload at the time of application.

According to the City of Philadelphia’s website, standard demolition permit applications are typically processed within 20 business days. However, it’s important to note that this timeline may be affected by factors such as the completeness and accuracy of the application, the need for additional information or review, and any changes or revisions required by L&I.

If you need to expedite the process, you can pay an additional fee for an accelerated application, typically reviewed within 5 business days. However, this option may not be available for all types of demolition permits, and it’s important to check with L&I to confirm the availability and requirements for an expedited permit application.

In any case, planning ahead and allowing plenty of time for the permit application and approval process is recommended to avoid delays and ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Do demolition permits in PA expire?

Yes, demolition permits in Philadelphia do have an expiration date. According to the City of Philadelphia’s website, demolition permits are generally valid for six months from the date of issuance. This means the demolition work must be completed within six months, or the permit will expire.

If the demolition permit expires before the work is completed, a new permit must be obtained. This may involve submitting a new application and paying additional fees. It’s important to note that the property owner or contractor may be subject to fines or penalties if the work is not completed within the permitted time frame.

To avoid potential issues with expiration, it’s important to plan the demolition project carefully and ensure that all necessary approvals, permits, and inspections are obtained and completed within the permitted time frame.

interior demolition project

What is an EZ demolition Permit in Philadelphia?

In Philadelphia, an EZ Demolition Permit is a type of permit that allows for the expedited demolition of certain accessory structures deemed imminently dangerous or hazardous to public safety. “EZ” stands for “expedited,” The permit process is designed to be faster and simpler than the regular permit process.

To qualify for an EZ Demolition Permit, the building must meet certain criteria, such as being vacant, abandoned, or structurally unsound. The property owner must also provide evidence that the building poses an imminent threat to public safety or that it is beyond repair. Once the permit is granted, the demolition can be completed within 30 days.

It’s worth noting that the EZ Demolition Permit process has been controversial in Philadelphia. Some critics argue that it can lead to the unnecessary demolition of historic or architecturally significant buildings. However, supporters of the process argue that it’s necessary to quickly address safety concerns and prevent further harm to the community.

What is a Zoning demolition permit in Philadelphia?

A Zoning Demolition Permit in Philadelphia permits property owners to demolish a building or structure on their property by the city’s zoning code. This permit is required before a demolition permit can be issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I).

When property owners want to demolish a building or structure in Philadelphia, they must first obtain a Zoning Demolition Permit from the Philadelphia Department of Planning and Development (PDP). The purpose of this permit is to ensure that the proposed demolition complies with the zoning code for the area.

To obtain a Zoning Demolition Permit, the property owner must apply the PDP that includes details about the proposed demolition project, such as the location of the building or structure, the reason for demolition, and the proposed use of the property after demolition. The application may require additional documentation, such as a survey or architectural plans.

The PDP will review the application to determine if the proposed demolition complies with the area’s zoning code. If the application is approved, the property owner can obtain a demolition permit from the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Do you need prior approval for demolition?

Yes, prior approval is required for demolition in Philadelphia. Property owners must obtain a demolition permit from the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) before beginning any demolition work. 

Conclusion:

In conclusion, obtaining a demolition permit in Pennsylvania is necessary for anyone planning a demolition project, whether for personal or commercial purposes. The process involves applying for a permit through the appropriate government agency, ensuring compliance with state regulations, and obtaining prior approvals, where necessary. It is important to note that Pennsylvania requires a license for demolition work. The cost and timeline for obtaining a permit may vary based on the location and nature of the demolition project. With the right preparation and understanding of the process, property owners and contractors can successfully navigate the permit application process to ensure a safe and efficient demolition project.

Good luck! And don’t forget to contact us if you’re ever looking for a trustworthy demolition contractor in Philadelphia!

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