Demolition Permit Process

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Thank you for your input!

The final report and staff recommendations can be viewed online: austintexas.gov/department/demolition-report

The Development Services Department has been asked by City Council to redesign the demolition permitting process to consider public safety, licensing requirements, and notification procedures. We need your input to make sure we understand how the process impacts you. Input questions have been developed to generate dialogue and help staff propose a new demolition permit process that considers community values.

At a minimum, the new demolition permitting process should ensure that:

  1. Appropriate reviews take place prior to demolition activities;
  2. Appropriate safety measures are in place prior to demolition activities; and
  3. Adequate and appropriate notice is given to interested parties.

Thank you for your input!

The final report and staff recommendations can be viewed online: austintexas.gov/department/demolition-report

The Development Services Department has been asked by City Council to redesign the demolition permitting process to consider public safety, licensing requirements, and notification procedures. We need your input to make sure we understand how the process impacts you. Input questions have been developed to generate dialogue and help staff propose a new demolition permit process that considers community values.

At a minimum, the new demolition permitting process should ensure that:

  1. Appropriate reviews take place prior to demolition activities;
  2. Appropriate safety measures are in place prior to demolition activities; and
  3. Adequate and appropriate notice is given to interested parties.
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    Goal #1:  Ensure appropriate reviews take place prior to demolition activities.

    Staff recommendations include:

    1.  Consolidate location for obtaining demolition permits. Restructure the demolition permitting process so residential and commercial demolition permit applications are obtained from the same location within the Development Services Department (DSD).

    2.  Provide clear process and requirements. Enhance information available to stakeholders on the DSD website in regard to the demolition permitting process and safety requirements.

    3.  Expand departments involved during the review period. Provide a coordinated review process that includes Community Trees (for...

    Goal #1:  Ensure appropriate reviews take place prior to demolition activities.

    Staff recommendations include:

    1.  Consolidate location for obtaining demolition permits. Restructure the demolition permitting process so residential and commercial demolition permit applications are obtained from the same location within the Development Services Department (DSD).

    2.  Provide clear process and requirements. Enhance information available to stakeholders on the DSD website in regard to the demolition permitting process and safety requirements.

    3.  Expand departments involved during the review period. Provide a coordinated review process that includes Community Trees (for residential), Flood Plain, Historic Preservation, Austin Resource Recovery, Austin Energy, and Austin Water.


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    Goal #2:  Ensure appropriate safety measures are in place prior to demolition activities.

    Staff recommendations include:

    1.  On-site pre-construction meeting. Require an on-site pre-construction meeting before activating a demolition permit and the start of demolition activities. This mandatory meeting will be a requirement to verify environmental and tree protections are in place and that all utilities have been capped or appropriately modified for use during construction.

    2.  Enforce the state requirements for asbestos and lead. Require acknowledgement of compliance. Require evidence that an asbestos survey has been completed or that a certification letter from a...

    Goal #2:  Ensure appropriate safety measures are in place prior to demolition activities.

    Staff recommendations include:

    1.  On-site pre-construction meeting. Require an on-site pre-construction meeting before activating a demolition permit and the start of demolition activities. This mandatory meeting will be a requirement to verify environmental and tree protections are in place and that all utilities have been capped or appropriately modified for use during construction.

    2.  Enforce the state requirements for asbestos and lead. Require acknowledgement of compliance. Require evidence that an asbestos survey has been completed or that a certification letter from a licensed engineer or architect has been provided in compliance with state regulations. Require notarized acknowledgement from the contractor that they will comply with applicable state and federal regulations for asbestos and lead removal and disposal.

    3.  Require permits to pass final inspection. Require all demolition permits to pass final inspection prior to releasing a permit for new construction intended to replace the demolished structure. 


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    Goal #3:  Ensure adequate and appropriate notice is given to interested parties.

    Staff recommendations include:

    1.  Notify adjacent properties of demolition activity. Require posted notice via door hangers and yard sign five (5) days prior to commencement of demolition activity. Notifications shall be placed on properties abutting and across the street. Presence of the yard sign and contractor sign-off that door hangers were placed will be verified during the mandatory preconstruction meeting. Each notice shall contain the address of the site proposed for demolition, demolition permit number, approximate date demolition activity will commence, contact information for...

    Goal #3:  Ensure adequate and appropriate notice is given to interested parties.

    Staff recommendations include:

    1.  Notify adjacent properties of demolition activity. Require posted notice via door hangers and yard sign five (5) days prior to commencement of demolition activity. Notifications shall be placed on properties abutting and across the street. Presence of the yard sign and contractor sign-off that door hangers were placed will be verified during the mandatory preconstruction meeting. Each notice shall contain the address of the site proposed for demolition, demolition permit number, approximate date demolition activity will commence, contact information for the applicant, contact information of the agencies that regulate safety (OSHA), asbestos and lead-based paint. 

    2.  Provide notification tools. Enhance existing public access to geographic information system (GIS) data for demolition permits. Provide mechanism for the public to subscribe and get notifications when new demolition applications are submitted and permits are issued.  

    https://data.austintexas.gov/stories/s/Demolitions-in-Austin/i2tv-k59a/

    3.  Provide time for registration as an interested party. Provide time for an individual or neighborhood organization representative to register as an interested party on a demolition permit application.  The inclusion of multiple review disciplines will extend the review time and permit issuance to a minimum of five (5) business days.


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    The Demolition Permits Audit Report published in August 2017 highlights concerns about demolition safety risks that are not being fully considered, such as asbestos or lead. Below is a summary of the federal and state safety regulations regarding demolitions. What role should the City of Austin play in reinforcing these requirements? 

    Federal Regulations

    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) details the laws and regulations pertaining to asbestos and lead-based paint. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration section, work practices, sampling, removal, and worker protections are some of the topics highlighted. However, the federal law does not detail...

    The Demolition Permits Audit Report published in August 2017 highlights concerns about demolition safety risks that are not being fully considered, such as asbestos or lead. Below is a summary of the federal and state safety regulations regarding demolitions. What role should the City of Austin play in reinforcing these requirements? 

    Federal Regulations

    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) details the laws and regulations pertaining to asbestos and lead-based paint. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration section, work practices, sampling, removal, and worker protections are some of the topics highlighted. However, the federal law does not detail the type of projects that must comply with asbestos or lead surveys. The EPA delegates enforcement to the state; it is each state’s responsibility to meet regulations and also to demonstrate compliance with EPA requirements. 

    Source: www.epa.gov/asbestos/asbestos-laws-and-regulations

    State Regulations

    Under the Texas Administrative Code established by the Texas Department of State Health Service, single-family dwellings (private residences and apartment buildings with no more than four dwelling units) are excluded from providing an asbestos survey before demolition or remodeling (§295.31). An asbestos survey is required for commercial properties.

    A person is prohibited from performing any asbestos-related activity unless that person has the appropriate valid license, registration, accreditation, or approved exemption (E. Prohibition)

    Source: Texas Department of State Health Services Asbestos Program, Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules; Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Part 1, Chapter 295, Subchapter C


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    As noted in the Demolition Permits Audit Report, the City of Austin does not require general contractors to be licensed. State licensing requirements apply to Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical, Asbestos abatement and other specialty trades. However, other municipalities in Texas do require licensing. For example, the City of San Antonio requires all City and State licensed contractors to be registered with Development Services before the issuance of any permit(s). What do you think the City of Austin should do to address concerns about the lack of licensing and oversight of demolition contractors?

    Source: www.sanantonio.gov/DSD/Contractor


    As noted in the Demolition Permits Audit Report, the City of Austin does not require general contractors to be licensed. State licensing requirements apply to Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical, Asbestos abatement and other specialty trades. However, other municipalities in Texas do require licensing. For example, the City of San Antonio requires all City and State licensed contractors to be registered with Development Services before the issuance of any permit(s). What do you think the City of Austin should do to address concerns about the lack of licensing and oversight of demolition contractors?

    Source: www.sanantonio.gov/DSD/Contractor


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    The City of Austin has notification requirements in place for different types of development related cases. Notices are typically mailed to property owners, City of Austin utility account holders, registered neighborhood associations, and other organizations whose boundaries include or are adjacent to the proposed site. What number of days do you think is a reasonable timeframe to be notified about a demolition? What number of feet is an appropriate boundary for demolition notifications? Please be specific.

    For more information, please visit: www.austintexas.gov/page/development-notifications

    The City of Austin has notification requirements in place for different types of development related cases. Notices are typically mailed to property owners, City of Austin utility account holders, registered neighborhood associations, and other organizations whose boundaries include or are adjacent to the proposed site. What number of days do you think is a reasonable timeframe to be notified about a demolition? What number of feet is an appropriate boundary for demolition notifications? Please be specific.

    For more information, please visit: www.austintexas.gov/page/development-notifications

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    Open-ended input question.

    Open-ended input question.

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