Building Permits FAQs

Building Permits FAQs & FYIs

  • No contractor signs are permitted in residential districts.
  • All building permits in excess of $10,000 in value will require removal of all encroachments from the City's alley rights-of-way.
  • All building permits in excess of $10,000 in value will require removal and replacement of any defective sections of sidewalk and the installation of sidewalk where none currently exists.
  • Based on department policy, the demolition of more than 50% of a structure will require the complete demolition and rebuild of that structure to current City building and zoning codes.  When determining the percentage of a structure to be demolished, staff uses the following formula: 50% Exterior Walls, 25% Foundation, and 25% Roof.
  • No construction will be permitted over utility easements.

When is a permit not necessary?

A construction permit is not needed for items such as wallpapering, painting or similar finish work.

Plumbing, mechanical and electrical work, replacement or repair of fixtures (such as changing water faucets or replacing switches) does not normally require a permit.  Replacing a water heater or adding a permanently wired light fixture does, however, require a permit.

To determine if your project needs a permit, call 214-987-5411.

Remodeling or adding improvements to your home?

Homeowners thinking about remodeling their home or adding other improvements, such as decks, spas or retaining walls, many times have a number of questions about building permits.

Since each construction project is unique, we invite you to call the Community Development Department at 214-987-5411 for answers to your specific questions.

What are permits and why do I need one?

Permits are the means by which the City of University Park regulates construction.  They are designed to ensure that all construction in the City is safe.  The safety of the occupants of buildings is the primary reason for having construction codes.  The City of University Park has adopted several national codes, among them the International Codes and National Electrical Code.  In addition, there are federal, state and local laws that govern construction, such as those covering energy conservation.

There are several different types of permits, based on the type of construction: building, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical.  In addition, the complete demolition and relocation of buildings also requires permits.

Obtaining the permit is just the first step in the process.  In this step, you may need to create plans to submit to the department, make a plot plan for your property showing the improvements, and show the type of construction you will be using.  The City has handouts to help you through this process.  Once plans are approved, you are required to build the project to those plans.  If any changes are made to the plans, they must be made with the City's approval.

The second half of the process is the inspection of the work.

When do I need a construction permit?

A construction permit is needed for all new construction.  In many cases, a permit is needed for repair or replacement of existing fixtures, such as replacing windows.  A plumbing, electrical or mechanical permit may be needed for any addition or changes to a building's existing system; for example, moving or adding an electrical outlet requires a permit.

To find out if your project needs a permit, call 214-987-5411.

Where do I get a permit?

Construction permits are issued by the Community Development Department at the City's Peek Service Center, 4420 Worcola, Dallas, TX 75206.  Permits are available from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 214-987-5411 for information.

How long does it take to get a permit?

Permit issuance periods vary.  Some projects can be fully permitted over-the-counter, meaning a return trip won't be needed.  Some projects, however, require that plans be left for additional review.

What about zoning?

Zoning establishes, within a defined area, the types of buildings and what they may be used for.  A residential area for example, may be zoned Single Family District 1 (SF-1), which means that the lots can contain one single-family home and the lots are of a prescribed minimum area, width, and depth.

Zoning is regulated based on the zoning map and district use charts approved by the City Council.  To view a zoning map, click here.  To view the zoning ordinance, click here.

City staff can answer your questions about permitted uses, building setback requirements, or other specifics regarding a particular zoning district or property.  Call 214-987-5411.

What about other approvals or permits?

Other government agencies may need to review and approve your project.  The City will inform you of these reviews at the time plans are submitted.

What if I don't get a permit?

If a permit, when needed, is not obtained before construction, you have violated City codes and regulations and may be subject to fines and penalties.  You will be required to obtain permits for the work and it must pass inspection, or you will have to return the structure or site to its original condition.

Remember: construction codes were created for safety reasons.  Work built without a permit can be unsafe, no matter how good it looks.

Who should obtain the permit?

Contractors or your agent can obtain permits.  The homeowner can also obtain the permits.  All plumbing, mechanical, or electrical permits must be obtained by licensed contractors.

Can I do the work myself or do I have to hire a contractor?

You can do the work yourself, but you must follow your approved plans, whether they are drawn by an architect or designer or are standard construction requirements given to you by the City.  If you change the plans while building the structure, this will cause problems when the project is inspected.  If you do decide to make changes, check with the City's plan review staff or your field inspector.

Who draws up the plans?

Plans for projects such as room additions can usually be drawn up by qualified individuals such as a draftsman.  Other projects may require plans prepared and signed by an architect or engineer licensed by the State of Texas.  A required plans list may be obtained on line or at the Community Development Department, or by calling 214-987-5411.

What about inspections?

It is your responsibility to call the City for inspections at specific times during construction.  You may have your contractor make the call, but it is still your responsibility, as the property owner, to make sure the inspections occur.  Inspections are made during certain points in the project, depending on the work that is being performed.  For example, retaining walls require inspections of the footing, after block is laid and steel placed but before grouting, after backfill has been placed, and when all work is finished.

Remember: the project is not complete for legal purposes until it has passed the final inspection.

What if I have a permit but never called for an inspection?

Generally, permits expire after 60 days if no inspections have been made.  In order for the project to be complete, it must pass final inspection.  If a permit expires before final inspection, the project is in violation of City codes.  If this is your case, call 214-987-5411.  We will help you reactivate the permit or apply for another with as little inconvenience as possible.  Our interest is in seeing your project complete, including the final inspection.

Should you have any other questions, please call us at 214-987-5411.