Pittsburgh Gov Guide, A website of The Pittsburgh Foundation
Pittsburgh skyline taken from the North shore. Photo by Joshua Franzos.

Office of Permits, Licenses and Inspections

The Department of Permits, Licenses, & Inspections (PLI) regulates construction by issuing a separate permit for specific types of work and for each system type as follows: building, demolition, land operations, signs, electrical systems, mechanical systems (including fuel gas), fire alarm systems and suppression systems permits.

PLI also issues permits that do not include construction as follows: occupancy only and occupant load placard permits, (Please note that the Allegheny County Health Department Plumbing Division is responsible for plumbing permits.) PLI issues licenses for the following activities:

  • Contractor licenses.
  • General contractors and sign contractors.
  • Trade licenses: Electrical Trade, HVAC Trade, Stationary Power Engineer and Fire Suppression Trade. Trade license holders are required to obtain eight continuing education units (CEUs) annually to be eligible for renewal.
  • Business licenses.
  • Amusement places, amusement producers, bed and breakfast, antique or secondhand dealers (Includes junk dealer and pawnbroker licenses), mechanical amusement devices, parking lot, towing, sign maintenance certificates, mobile vehicle vendors, mobile peddler, stationary vendors, one-day solicitation (Tag Day), ticket reselling, trade fair and transient merchant.

PLI Code Enforcement is used as a means of protecting the health, safety and welfare in existing buildings and structures. PLI enforces the International Property Maintenance Code ("IPMC") as adopted by the City of Pittsburgh Code of Ordinances Title 10 Chapter 1004. PLI also enforces the Zoning Code—Title Nine. PLI routinely inspects structures to assess building integrity. When a structure has been declared a public safety hazard, PLI will condemn the building. PLI is also the enforcement arm for the Zoning and Development Review Division of City Planning.

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More about the Office of Permits, Licenses and Inspections

Below is a list of content in the Office of Permits, Licenses and Inspections' Transition Brief (prepared by Thomas Consulting Group for The Pittsburgh Foundation). 


  • PLI is a pivotal department in the success of OneStopPGH.
  • Explosion of new construction has existing staff experiencing burnout due to high demand and lack of staff capacity. Consistent use of overtime has become a necessity.
  • Morale remains relatively high despite the overwhelming workload. The department has made accommodations to allow for flex work, which has been well-received and has improved morale for staff. Inspectors take cars home and report to the field from home. Others are working remotely.
  • The City recognizes the need for a registration program for residential rental units that meet all applicable building, existing structures, fire, health, safety and local zoning codes. The City also recognizes it should provide an efficient system for compelling both absentee and local landlords to correct violations and maintain proper condition of citywide rental property.
  • As prescribed in the City of Pittsburgh Rental Registration Rules, the fees are as follows: $65 per unit for 10 or fewer units, $55 per unit for between 11 and 100 units, $45 per unit for 101 and more units.
  • No person shall lease, rent, or otherwise allow a rental unit within the City to be occupied without first obtaining a rental permit from PLI and designating a Responsible Local Agent.
  • Affordable Housing Properties shall be exempt from the Annual Rental Registration Permit Fee but are subject to registration and inspection.
  • Owner-occupied units shall be exempt from the Annual Rental Registration.
  • Legislation expected to pass in 2022 will require more staffing for a successful launch.
  • Six (6) operations inspectors were requested in the 2022 budget.
  • Details on program application, enforcement and performance metrics are not expected to be in place until after Dec. 15, 2021.
  • State asbestos consent decree requires additional funding of staff positions and training.


  • Agency goals.
  • Performance metrics.
  • Budget.
  • Programs and projects.
  • Opportunities and risks.
  • Reports.

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