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Emergency Repairs – Do all repairs require a permit?

Updated: Nov 3

As the snow starts to thaw you may start to notice repairs need to be made to your home and wonder if a permit will be required. The simple answer is it depends, some simple repairs may be conducted without a permit (leak, clogged pipe, other work that wouldn't require an inspection for example), but larger repairs (ruptured water lines) will require some type of permit. If a permit is required, but the repair must be made in emergency (before the permit can be obtained) a permit must be obtained retroactively. Obtaining a permit after the repair has already been made will help ensure that the work was performed according to code. I have put together a list of work that is exempt from permits below.


For a list of complete resources by the City of Austin regarding emergency repairs, head to the City of Austin Emergency Repairs website.


If you need emergency repairs, but do not have the resources to perform them, you are encouraged to call 2-1-1 for help.


Work on Single Family home or Duplex that does not require a permit, please visit the City of Austin’s Work Exempt from Building Permit site for a complete list and description:


  • Cosmetic work, such as paining, installation and removal or papering, tiling, carpet, cabinets, counter tops, and similar work.

  • Foundation repairs, flood decking, siding, and roof decking that are 64 sq. ft. or less

  • Fence, unless located within flood hazard area. Fence must is not over 8 feet high.

  • A water tank, must meet specific conditions (see City of Austin work exempt from building permits for details)

  • Driveway or sidewalk that is not located in the public right-of-way

  • Pool that is prefabricated and less than 24 inches deep

  • Playground equipment

  • Deck that is no more than 200 sq. ft. in area, no more than 30 inches above grade at any point, is not attached to a dwelling, does not provide egress from the dwelling, and is not located within a flood hazard area.

  • Asphalt shingles, that replace existing asphalt shingles

  • Replacing or installing an overhead garage door on a garage


Beginning Monday, February 22, the City of Austin will be available to answer questions regarding emergency repair permitting questions at 512-974-1500.

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