Plan a Business

Permits and Inspections


The Houston Permitting Center, located in downtown Houston, provides a centralized location for the issuance of a majority of City of Houston permits and licenses, including building, commercial, fire, and food dealers permits.

City Fee Schedule
The City fee schedule displays all permit, license, and registration fees established by authority of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances. Visit the City of Houston Fee Schedule web page to review all fees.

Building Permits
The Building Code Enforcement enforces the City of Houston Construction Codes for both residential and commercial construction.

Licensed and registered contractors may apply for certain permits online such as plumbing, electrical and mechanical trade permits. Additionally, customers may schedule inspections, view inspection history, check the status of submitted plans, and search for permits sold within the last three years.

Visit the Building Code Enforcement Home Page.

Inspections & Certificates of Occupancy
The building code states that "All construction or work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by the building official and all such construction or work shall remain accessible and exposed for inspection purposes until approved by the building official".

A Certificate of Occupancy must be obtained before a commercial building or an individual lease space within a commercial building may be occupied, or if changes to an existing occupancy classification are made. If no Certificate of Occupancy is posted the owner or agent may be given a 10-day notice to make an application and pay inspection fees. If the owner or agent fails to comply, citations may be issued each day until the application is made and fees are paid.

Visit the Inspections of Certificates of Occupancy page

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Start Early
Apply well in advance of the date you wish to start any business activity that may require a license. It can take time to get a license or permit issued, especially if you need a permit that requires inspections or approvals from multiple City departments (e.g., Public Works, Solid Waste, Fire, Planning, ARA) or qualifying professional exams.

Take Steps in the Right Order
Knowing what is required to obtain the permits you need will save time, money and aggravation. For example, know what documents you will need to submit with the application and prepare them in advance. If the permit you need requires multiple agency approvals or both City and State approvals, you should get them in the order indicated.

Know the Rules
It is your responsibility to become familiar with the laws, rules, regulations and administrative procedures that affect the operation of your business. Not every business activity is “licensed”, meaning your business activities could be regulated by a government agency even though you don’t actually receive a permit or license to operate.

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Do you need additional advice or guidance? These organizations may be able to assist you: