Building Permit for 3 unit existing building in Philadelphia?

2 Replies | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hi all-

I'm seeking out my second renovation project and am in talks to buy and rehab a 3-unit existing building in South Philly. I'm planning to register for a Contractor License with my partner (who has been in construction for 15 years) to manage the project. My understanding is that an EZ Permit is only eligible for one and two dwelling buildings, so we'll need to apply for a proper Building Permit to renovate this 3-unit building, and would therefore also require plans. Is that correct? Thanks for any information you can offer, the city can be really hard to get answers from.

Yep you'll almost certainly need sealed plans. They are pretty much phasing out EZ Permits for any non-owner occupied rehab work. 3-units also typically triggers fire alarm requirements and sprinkler system. 

A contractor license isn't a bad idea but you'll likely have to have GL and worker's comp insurance. Maybe even OSHA cert?

I use a lot of "almost", "pretty much", and "likely" because it honestly seems like the standards/requirements for permits in Philly change with the weather. 

@Kevin M. is spot on. Any more I am only seeing EZ Permits work on single family, and it is technically only supposed to work for OO properties. You might be able to squeak one by with the right reviewer but that's not a great plan.

Getting a license in the city is a bit of a challenge if you aren't doing more than several deals a year. Unless your partner already has GL and an OSHA cert, it's probably more trouble than it's worth. We went and got all of that stuff but it only made sense because we are managing a lot of projects in the city.