Owning a home is a great investment and fun to personalize, especially for the hot summer months. So, do you need a permit to build a patio in Austin, Texas?

You do not need a building permit if you are conducting residential flatwork, such as a patio at your home, and it is not more than 30 inches above grade.

Although this is true, there are scenarios when you may find that a permit is required to build a patio in Austin, Texas. Keep reading to understand each of these unique circumstances.

5 Reasons Why You Need a Patio Permit in Austin, TX

Although the Austin, Texas, building code does not require any structure that is not more than 30 inches above grade to acquire a building permit, there are reasons why this is void. They are:

  1. The patio is being created for commercial use
  2. The patio is meant for parking
  3. The patio is above the allowed maximum grade
  4. The patio is made out of poured concrete
  5. The patio is being built in a protected or special zone

Each scenario will require a resident or investor to obtain a building permit from the City of Austin. In some cases, further permitting and review will be required.

Commercial Use

Any structure created for commercial purposes falls under its own Building Code in the City of Austin. As such, commercial property has different requirements.

Patios built for commercial properties must obtain a project permit. This includes patios used for commercial dining, recreation, or other similar activities.

These permits are reviewed by the Building Commissioner as well as other land use officials to ensure it complies with all of the City of Austin ordinances before obtaining approval.

Carport or Parking Patio

Another reason a carport or patio may need a building permit is if it is used as a Parking Patio. Parking Patios are considered commercial and require a project permit. 

These patios have a set of strict regulations that must be met to be considered properly installed and safe for public use. A review period is required as well as a special permit.

A carport or Parking Patio permit can be obtained on the City of Austin website. During the application period, it will request contact information to establish a review meeting.

Patio 30 Inches Above Grade

If the patio is 30 inches or more above grade, it will require a permit. This is because the flatwork has passed the line of flatwork and has gone into the zone of structure. 

Any deck, patio, or structure that is above the following standards and measurements requires a permit in the City of Austin:

The deck/patio is:

  • More than 200 Square Feet
  • 30 Inches or more above grade
  • It is attached to a dwelling
  • Provides a means of egress
  • Is located within a flood or hazard area

Structures must meet specific grading requirements for ADA compliance and fire and structural integrity requirements. A plan for such a structure requires review.

These standards ensure that the property or structure is safe to live on and does not promote an inherent risk to current or future owners, abutters, or visitors.

Patio Being Poured out of Concrete

It is a requirement of the City of Austin that all poured concrete projects receive a permit before they can begin, as they may interfere with the following protected areas: 

  • Floodplain
  • Seismic Zone
  • Conservation/Wetland Protection Zone

During this process, the area will be reviewed to ensure that it is not a floodplain or that it is not a protected environmental asset.

Concrete cannot be poured under special weather conditions, or the integrity of the concrete is lost. Due to these circumstances, all poured concrete patios must acquire a permit.

Patio Built in Protected/Special Zones

If you live in a flood zone or a seismic area, the City of Austin requires your property to obtain a permit for a patio. This is due to the special requirements for each zone.

Many of the special zones in the City are there due to extreme weather complications or due to wetlands protection. This means that work within these zones requires a special permit.

Special permits provide a strict review process and guided application to ensure that the applicant meets all requirements for a safe structure and to ensure the safety of abutters.

Permit Not Required

In most cases, a permit is not required to build a patio in Austin, Texas. However, contacting the local building department to review your plans is still a good idea.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or in this case, it is worth avoiding a hefty municipal fine for non-compliance.