Development Services

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Cliff Morton Development and Business Services Center
1901 South Alamo Street
San Antonio, TX 78204

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7:45 am - 4:30 pm (Mon - Fri)
Closed on City Holidays

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commercial development in san antonio

DSD takes pride in partnering with commercial developers to further enhance and expand the City’s commercial infrastructure. To facilitate your project we have a commercial building process that helps navigate your project from beginning to completion. Timely service is a high priority for Development Services so we provide information on the Average Time to Obtain a Building Permit. In order to help expedite your project we offer special services such as: Preliminary Plan Review, After-Hours Plan Review, Fast-Track Permits, Plan Review by Appointment, Phased Permitting and, Partial/Conditional Permits. 

In an effort to streamline the development process for our customers, a restructured fee for commercial building permits will be available with the upcoming BuildSA release, scheduled for winter 2020. Visit the FY 2021 Proposed Commercial Permit Fee Re-structure overview for more information. 

Since there are often questions regarding the City’s Commercial Building process, we encourage you to review the commercial stages below, including verification of the proposed project zoning, scheduling a Preliminary Plan Review, submitting construction drawings, obtaining appropriate permits, scheduling inspections and finalizing your project by obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy.

We also have qualified and knowledgeable department staff that are always willing to assist and guide you through the process.

In order to construct a commercial building, the property must be platted and zoned for commercial use. Since the City has a variety of zoning districts, the first step is to verify that the zoning of your land allows for commercial use.  For more information please see the Examples of Permitted Uses in Zoning Districts or refer to the UDC (Chapter 35 Article III, Sec 35-310.01, Tables 311-2/311-2A).

Please be aware that for each zoning district, your project will need to comply with the required building setbacks; the minimum distance from the property lines that a structure must be located.  Please refer to UDC (Chapter 35, Article III) for detailed information regarding these requirements.

To check your property's zoning, use the City’s One Stop Zoning Map

Basic OneStop Zoning Map Directions:  Download the One-Stop Map User Guide

If your project is not platted or zoned for your commercial project type, or if you require a Zoning Verification Letter, please see the Land Development Section for additional information.

If you have a question about your zoning designation, contact Development Services’ Call Center at 210.207.1111.

If you are unsure if your property is platted correctly, contact the Land Development Section at 210.207.0121.

For information regarding a zoning verification letter as well as the application, please go to Zoning Verification Letters.


The City of San Antonio, in collaboration with neighborhood and community organizations, has established certain districts in an effort to preserve and recognize special and unique neighborhoods and corridors.


The City has a variety of Overlay districts including Neighborhood Conservation and Corridor Districts that could affect your design and these requirements are reviewed along with your permit application. If you have any questions regarding overlay guidelines or requirements, contact a Zoning Planner at 210.207.8208 or 210.207.7395.

Historic Overlays

If the zoning map shows your property in a Historic District, Local Landmark, Viewshed Protection, or River Improvement Overlay, you must first receive authorization for your project through the Office of Historic Preservation. To reach their offices, or if you have any questions regarding Historic Overlays, call 210.215.9274 or visit the Office of Historic Preservation website.

Military Overlays

San Antonio has established a Joint Land Use Program with our Military community. The information below will help you determine if your property resides in a Military Overlay District and any land use guidelines.

Military Sound Attenuation Overlay District (MSAO)

The City recognizes that noise affects quality of life for various San Antonio neighborhoods and business districts. The Military Sound Attenuation Overlay District (MSAO) includes standards for building construction for noise sensitive structures to mitigate noise generated from military training exercises and aircraft operations. The MSAO was applied to territory within the noise military influence area of Camp Bullis. Adoption of this overlay district was an implementation component of the Camp Bullis Joint Land Use Study (JLUS).

For more information regarding the specific criteria for properties within the Military Sound Attenuation Overlay District, please refer to the City’s Unified Development Code Section 35-339.05.

Military Airport Overlay Zone (MAOZ)

The Military Airport Overlay Zone (MAOZ) was established to identify military airport hazard areas and address the impact around military airport take off and final approach paths. For that reason, the MAOZ includes requirements which limit the density of development and intensity of uses in such areas. The Military Airport Overlay Zones are intended to:

  • Regulate future growth, development and incompatible land uses.
  • Prevent the establishment of any land use which would endanger aircraft operations and the continued use of military airports.
  • Protect the character and stability of existing land uses while protecting the general economic welfare.

For more information regarding the specific criteria for properties within the Military Airport Overlay Zones, please refer to the City’s Unified Development Code Section 35-334.

Military Lighting Overlay District (MLOD)

The Military Lighting Overlay District (MLOD) includes regulations regarding outdoor lighting that impacts military operations within five (5) miles of the perimeter of Camp Bullis/Camp Stanley. Adoption of this overlay district was an implementation component of the Camp Bullis Joint Land Use Study (JLUS). The purpose of establishing Military Lighting Overlay Districts is to address the following:

  • To reduce glare and potential distractions to night time training exercises occurring within this area.
  • To balance the needs of the military, the City of San Antonio, and property owners regarding responsible development including outdoor lighting within this area.

For more information regarding specific criteria for properties that exist within the Military Lighting Overlay District, please refer to the City’s Unified Development Code Section 35-339.04.

For more information regarding the Joint Land Use Studies, visit the Office of Military Affairs website. 

If you are located within any of the Overlay Districts, STOP and call 210.207.0121 and ask for a Land Development Specialist, prior to taking any other steps.


We highly encourage scheduling a preliminary plan review to identify items that may need to be addressed or modified before 100% construction drawings are submitted for permits and plan review. This meeting gives the owner or agent an opportunity to obtain answers to design questions related to the Unified Development Code, building and fire code clarifications, discuss possible code modification requests, understand the permitting process and submittal options, or answer any other design/code questions, prior to submission of construction documents for a building permit. As a way to partner with commercial developers, we offer this service to help navigate and understand our City’s process.

Based upon your needs, this meeting could involve attendance by multiple reviewing entities and could cover topics that include:

Review Entity Topic
Development Services (City of San Antonio) Building, Fire, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Landscape, Irrigation, Zoning, Tree Preservation, Addressing, Rights Determination, Sidewalk, Traffic
Transportation Capital Improvements (City of San Antonio) Storm Water, Drainage, Traffic Impact Analysis, Accessibility
Metro Health (City of San Antonio) Health
Aviation (City of San Antonio) Aviation
Office of Historic Preservation (City of San Antonio) Historic

To make the most of this meeting, we recommended you bring the following items or submit them in advance; agenda, questions and site plans or drawings. This information will ensure staff is aware of your development needs, ensure attendance by the correct reviewing authority, and will provide you with the most accurate information in relation to your development.

To arrange for a Preliminary Plan Review, email DSD Plans Management. The Plans Coordinator will determine available dates to meet at the One Stop, determine the fees, explain what preliminary documents are needed, and arrange for the various department representatives to attend the review.

Forms & Applications:



Commercial building permit applications normally go through a plan review process. This process varies depending on the project type and scope. Please see the chart below to identify how the City of San Antonio organizes plan review based on the type and the complexity of the project.

How Plan review is Organized Based Upon the Complexity of the Project:

Plan Review Category Type/Size Occupancy Notes Cycle Time for Initial Review
Commercial Minor Repair General repairs such as windows, walls, sliding doors, floor, sheetrock, parking lot repair and fences All Over the Counter - No Plan Review Same Day
Commercial Minor Structures Commercial Fences
Communication Equipment
Non Covered Decks
Shade Structures
Retaining Walls
Concrete Slabs for Equipment
Building Facade Work
Covered Pedestrian Walkways
Interior Finish Out or Interior Remodel Up to 3000 Sq. Ft.
Group U
Group B Business
Group M Mercantile
Additional Reviews such as Flood, Historic, etc. may require placing in other Plan Review categories
3 business days
Minor Commercial Plans Interior Finish Out and
Renovations Between 3000-8000 Sq. Ft.,

Additions Up to 1000 Sq. Ft.,

New Structures Up to 1000 Sq. Ft.

Work Must Not Exceed 2-Stories
Group B Business
Group M Mercantile
Group U Utility and Misc.
Non-Qualifying Projects:
  • Assembly Uses
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Clinic, Outpatient
  • Educational Uses
  • Factory Uses
  • Hazardous Uses 
  • Institutional Uses
  • Storage Uses
8 business days
Complex Commercial Plans Interior Finish Out and
Renovations Greater than 8000 Sq. Ft.,

Additions Over to 1000 Sq. Ft.,
New Structures Over 1000 Sq. Ft. 

Work Exceeding 2-Stories
18 calendar days
Site Work

Retaining Walls, Parking Lots, Site Work and Grading

All Storm Water, Drainage, Traffic, Sidewalk, Tree Preservation 10 business days
Foundation Site Work, Underground Utilities, Grading & Foundation All
3 business days
Demolition Demolition of Complete Commercial and Residential Buildings All  Interior Demolition Included with a Standard Building Permit 10 business days
School New All Group E Educational  Development School Team is responsible for Intake, Plan Review, and Inspections 30 calendar days
School Interior Finish Out 15 calendar days
School Portable Buildings  5 business days
 Fire Systems Fire Sprinkler All Review times based upon the scope of work:
  • New System Installation
  • Remodel of Existing System
  • Underground/Hydrant/Major Work
  • Re-submittal
  • 21 calendar days
  • 10 business days (100 heads or less) 
  • 21 calendar days (over 100 heads)
  • 10 business days
  • 11 business days
 Fire System Fire Alarm   All  Review times based upon the scope of work:
  •  New System Installation
  •  Remodel of Existing System
  •  Panel Replacement
  • 21 calendar days
  • 10 business days (100 devices or less)
  • 21 calendar days (over 100 devices)
  • 10 days
 Fire System Fire Sprinkler & Fire Alarm  All   Professional Engineer (PE) Option See IB 102a or 102b Same Day 

Our goal is to provide you with timely service.  Please refer to the Resource Section below to see the average time to obtain a building permit for certain projects.  We also post our performance measures to our website so you can see the current review times updated weekly.


Forms & Applications:



Once you are ready to submit your construction drawings for review and approval, you will need to complete the appropriate building permit application, which is located below in Forms & Applications. We have developed Information Bulletins and checklists to assist you in understanding the minimum information that you will need to submit.

As a first step, Development Services conducts a “completeness review” of the submittal package to ensure all necessary documents are provided. This step typically takes up to three business days. Once completed, you will need to pay your plan review fees. These fees can be paid online using your escrow account, cash, check or credit card. For additional information on how to set up an escrow account, please see the Escrow Account Brochure in the Resources below.

We also offer electronic plan review. Please refer to Information Bulletin 216 to receive step-by-step information on how to submit plans electronically.

Should you have any questions regarding the Plan Intake process, please email the Completeness and Assignment Review Team or by calling 210.207.0019.

Forms & Applications:



Commercial projects will go through our plan review process. Once your plan review fees are paid, Development Services will route your plans to the reviewing authorities:

Reviewing Entity Discipline
Development Services (City of San Antonio) Building, Fire, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Landscape, Irrigation, Tree Preservation, Zoning, Addressing, Rights Determination, Sidewalk, Traffic
Transportation Capital Improvements (City of San Antonio) Storm Water, Drainage, Traffic Impact Analysis, Accessibility
Metro Health (City of San Antonio) Health
Aviation (City of San Antonio) Aviation
Office of Historic Preservation (City of San Antonio) Historic
San Antonio Water System (SAWS) Aquifer Protection over the recharge zone

Once our Plan Reviewers perform their review, you will receive email alerts regarding the plan review results. You may also check the status of your project online. Please see Information Bulletin 110 for further information on how to use this system.

If your project requires fire sprinklers and/or fire alarms, you will need to submit separate application for these fire systems at the same time, or after your building plans have been approved. For more information see Fire System Permits in the Permit Applications Section.

Code Modifications and Code Interpretations

If you require formal clarification on a City Code or need to request a Code Modification, we recommend reviewing our Code Options Section for more information about Code Modifications and Code Interpretations.

Forms & Applications:



Our goal is to help you through the plan review process. If your building plans require corrections, Information Bulletin 111 will guide you in re-submitting your plans. In addition, you can call your Plans Examiner and ask questions regarding the items that need to be corrected and how to re-submit your building plans.

Forms & Applications:



Development Services is aware that the timing of permit issuance can impact a contractor’s timeline. As a customer service initiative, we offer ways to expedite your project through plan review as identified in the chart below.

Service Description
After Hour Plan Review Our plans examiners may be available to work outside our normal hours to perform plan reviews. After- hours plan review is available on a first come first serve basis for initial submittals subject to the availability of staff and current workloads. The fee for this service is $100 per hour for each employee performing the review. The fee is only charged if a Plan Examiner is available to review the plans after hours.            
Conditional/Partial Permits

Partial/Conditional Permits allows partial, phased or full construction to begin prior to a full building permit being issued, if there are no critical life safety code issues identified at the initial plan review. It is understood by all parties that issuance of a partial/ conditional building permit is completely at the applicant’s and owner’s risk. The applicant will need to pay the conditional permit fee along with the building permit fees at the time of issuance of the Partial/Conditional permit. For additional information, see IB 125 – Partial and Conditional Building Permits.

Fast Track Permits

We offer optional Fast Track Permits for commercial construction that allows contractors to start work before building plans have been approved. In order to obtain Fast Track Permits, contractors must first obtain a Fast Track Metal Stud (building) Permit. The following Fast Track Permits are available:

  1. Electrical - See IB 120b
  2. Fire Alarm System - See IB 123
  3. Fire Sprinkler - See IB 108
  4. Mechanical - See IB 120d
  5. Metal Stud - See IB 120a
  6. Plumbing - See IB 120c

Work performed using a Fast Track Permit is at contractor’s own risk. No inspections may be called under a Fast Track Permit. If later inspections for the main building permit finds that work is not in compliance with the approved construction plans, the work will need to be corrected. The fee for these services is either based on the estimated cost of construction or a permit fee plus any applicable development services fees. For additional information review the specific Fast Track Permit application.

Phased Permitting  Phased Permitting allows you to divide a construction project into phases and begin working before your full building plans are designed, reviewed and approved. Each phase needs its own set of plans submitted for that work only. For example, you can obtain the following permits:
  1. Grading and Tree Clearing Only
  2. Site Work (may include parking lots, underground utilities, retaining walls, etc.)
  3. Foundations
  4. Building Shell 
  5. First Time Interior Finish Out 
There is no additional fee for this service. Submittal for any of these later phases may include all the work of the previous phases.  

Forms & Applications:



Once your building plans are approved, your building permit will be issued. At this point, all other related trade permit applications can be issued. Please note that trade permits must be linked to the parent building permit. If you discover your trade permit is not linked, please see IB 194 How to Request to Link Child Permits to the Parent Permit or contact our call center at 210.207.1111.


Once your commercial building permit has been issued, various trade permits will be required and our department is here to facilitate the application process. Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing permits are required for commercial construction projects and can be obtained using the Online Permitting System or at our OneStop at 1901 S. Alamo. Trade contractors that are licensed by the State and/or City and registered with the Development Services may pull trade permits.

Forms & Applications:


Development Services works closely with the Fire Marshal’s Office to ensure safe conditions not only for occupants of commercial buildings, but also for all emergency responders that must enter these facilities during a fire. When you submit your commercial building permit application, Development Services will review for your building plans for site related requirements such as:

  • Fire lanes
  • Fire hydrants
  • Fire access
  • Hose lay requirements
  • Fire flow test report
  • Occupancy Classification Letter (if applicable – see IB 192a)

Our plans examiners will also identify whether your project will require other fire-related permits such as Fire Sprinkler or Fire Alarm. In the event your project requires these additional permits, you will need to submit separate applications for each permit. Fire System permits will only be issued to State licensed fire system contractors who can be found by going to the Texas Department of Insurance, Fire Marshal’s Office.

In addition to performing the fire review on your commercial building plans, Development Services also performs the review on Fire Sprinkler and Fire Alarm permits. As a way to expedite the issuance of these permits, you have the option to submit certified plans in accordance with Information Bulletins 102a and 102b, which will allow your permit to be issued after a completeness review is performed. Should you have any questions regarding Fire Sprinkler and Fire Alarm permits or if you would like to submit certified plans, you may e-mail our Fire Permit Team .

All other fire system permits are reviewed and issued by the Fire Marshal’s Office. For a complete listing of permits issued by the Fire Marshal, please visit their website. The Fire Marshal’s Office is also responsible for performing the Fire Inspection on all permits. For general Fire System questions or to schedule a Fire System inspection, please call 210.207.8410.

To check the status of your Fire System permit, go to Permit Search found in our Online Services.

Forms & Applications:


Development Services recognizes the importance of maintaining and enhancing the community’s overall aesthetic environment, as well as minimizing the possible adverse effects of signs on public and private property. We are here to help you understand the permitting requirements for erecting, replacing or upgrading various types of signs on new or existing locations.

The City issues sign permits regulated by Chapter 28 which includes: across the street banners, inflatable signs, temporary weekend signs, free standing signs, wall signs, projecting signs, refaces, pole signs, roof signs, banner signs, marquee signs, electric signs, non-electric commercial signs and billboard demolitions and relocations.

All free standing signs, any electric sign, and any sign over 32 sq. ft. on a building or fence require a Sign Plan Review and permit. Only licensed sign contractors can request a sign permit, with the exception of temporary weekend sign permits, which can be obtained without a license. All sign permits applications can be submitted in person, by mail or through our on-line permitting system. In the event your Sign Permit Application requires a Plan Review, you may submit your drawings and details using our Electronic Plan Review System.

Chapter 28 – Signs and Billboard Ordinance went into effect on July 3, 2017. 

Chapter 28 Sign Code and Billboard Ordinance

Sign code highlights include:
- increase the buffer from residential homes
- adds flexibility to relocate billboards due to government action
- increases enforcement for violations
- provides consistency for digital sign brightness measurements
- requires a permit for "garage sale" signs placed off personal property, with a limit of two
- clarifies removal or maintenance for safety purposes
- current signs that are legal today, will stay the same 

Sign Permit Clarifications

Any sign requiring electrical work or water features may require additional reviews before the sign permit can be issued.

Monument signs over 8 ft and pole signs over 12 ft require engineering documents and engineering calculations prepared by a Texas registered professional engineer and shall be signed and sealed.

Roof signs shall be evaluated on a case by case basis.

The Unified Development Code, Chapter 35 and Chapter 28, provide additional sign requirements for certain zoning districts (Historic, River Improvement Overlay Districts, Scenic/Urban Corridors and Gateway Corridors).

Sign Types and Approval Process

Sign Master Plan Development Agreement - Commercial property owners who want more flexibility in locating on premises signs can do so by entering into a Sign Master Plan Agreement. Once approved, the applicant must record the signed Master Plan Agreement in the official deed records for Bexar County, Texas. This agreement allows flexibility in sign locations for two contiguous lots or more but must have a cumulative reduction in total sign area and sign height within the master plan area. For information on this agreement you can review Chapter 28-49 or contact the Development Services Specialist Supervisor at 210.207.8289.

Billboards (off-premise) - The City of San Antonio’s goal is to reduce the number of billboard signs and has limitations. The City will not allow any new off premise billboards unless you agree to remove two existing billboards. Billboard owners are required to have annual inspections of their signs. Please see Information Bulletin 191 for requirements and applications for these permits.

Digital Signs (off-premise) - New off-premise digital displays and are not allowed in the City of San Antonio.

Digital Signs (on-premise) - The City of San Antonio is sensitive to the community’s concerns as it relates to digital displays. On-premise digital displays are allowed in the City but are subject to certain restrictions and regulations such as dimensional standards, spacing distances, brightness, and other criteria as outlined in the digital sign ordinance.

Temporary Weekend Signs - The City of San Antonio allows the placement of temporary weekend signs from Friday until the following Monday. You can obtain a permit by completing the application found in IB 191 – Sign Permit and Application Process or by using our on-line permitting system. Temporary weekend sign permit holders must abide by the requirements outlined in the Temporary Weekend Signs Summary Sheet.  IB230 specifically addresses Open House Temporary Signs.

Bandit Signs - Signs placed on the City’s right of way without a temporary weekend sign permit and signs placed on telephone poles are illegal and may incur a violation fee. Each year Development Services removes over 141,000 illegal bandit signs.

Portable Signs - The City does not allow any portable signs.

Feather Signs - is a sign in a feather, flutter, square, teardrop and half drop shape usually self-supported or supported by a pole(s) and firmly affixed to the ground.   The sign is installed on non-residential zoned and/or non-residential used private property. It may not be located on the public right of way.  See Feather Sign Application for more detailed information.

You can find more information regarding the Sign Permit Application Process and the necessary permit applications in Information Bulletin 191

Forms & Applications:



For your safety, the International Building Code requires that every permit application and permit expire within 180 days if no proof of work or progress has been shown.

In order to help facilitate your project, our department may grant one or more 180-day extensions when you can prove a valid, justifiable reason for the project suspension or abandonment. You can request a permit extension using the Permit Extension Form found in the Forms and Applications Section below.

Forms & Applications:



If you no longer need your permit, Development Services is happy to cancel your permit and you may be entitled to a refund if you meet the following criteria.

Trade Permit (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Flatwork, and Signs.)

  • The permit was issued within 30 days
  • No inspections were performed

Building Permits

  • The permit was issued within 90 days
  • No work was performed on the permit (plan review or inspections)

If you no longer need your permit but the City performed a plan review or inspection, you can request that we cancel your permit without a refund.

Forms & Applications:



Building inspections are performed at each stage in the building process to ensure the health and safety of our community. But more than that, we work hand-in-hand with General and Licensed Contractors to ensure the buildings, structures and building service equipment are constructed or installed according to the building codes adopted by the City of San Antonio.

We have prepared a packet of information and applications for you to review to assist you with the preliminary planning of your project.  (Pre-Construction Planning Packet)

As part of the overall development process, building-related code inspections are performed on various aspects of building construction including foundation, framing, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and third party special inspections. In limited cases, the Development Services Department will accept a Certification Letter from an Engineer or industry professional for specialized work performed. Most inspections performed are related to building permits; however our department also oversees alleged violation reports. Inspections will be scheduled for the next day if you place the request before midnight.

You have a few options for scheduling the inspection (If you are using our online system or our Inspection Scheduler for the first time, you will need to set up an account.):

  • Schedule the inspection anytime online
  • Inspection Scheduler (mobile friendly)
  • Call 210.207.1111. This option does have a $3.00 per inspection scheduling fee

Fire System Inspections are performed by the City of San Antonio Fire Marshal's Office. For a complete list of all fire related inspections performed by the Fire Marshal's Office, or to locate the required applications, please visit their website. 

To schedule a Fire System inspection, please call 210.207.8410, option 1 or you can email your completed forms

Health Inspections are performed by the City of San Antonio Metro Health Department. For information regarding Health Department related inspections, please visit their website. To schedule a Health Inspection please call 210.207.0135. 

Forms & Applications:



We want to help you keep your project stay on track and an important component to that is to plan your inspections at the appropriate stages of your construction project. Inspections for compliance of codes and ordinances are made by inspectors in their respective disciplines. We have prepared a simple diagram to use as a guide on the various inspection stages throughout the construction process.

Planning Your Inspections

View the Planning Your Inspections Diagram.
NOTE: The above diagram is not all-inclusive as there may be other requirements needed for your project.

We have also prepared a packet of information and applications for you to review to assist you with the preliminary planning of your project.  (Pre-Construction Planning Packet)

Forms & Applications:



Special Inspections are conducted during the construction process to verify that work is being done in accordance to approved plans and specifications. Special inspections must be performed by Special Inspectors with specialized skills who observe critical building or structural features identified by the design professional responsible for compliance. 

All Special Inspectors are required to be approved by the Building Official for the City of San Antonio. Experience and/or qualifications (such as ICC, IAS, AWS, AISC, ASCE, ANSI, AISI, AWCI or any other nationally recognized certifications) shall be submitted to the Department through an application process.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, the Department has decided to grant an extension to the Special Inspector Certification requirement deadline from August 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. More details can be found here.


For projects that fall under the 2018 International Building Code, please see the following:

For projects that fall under the 2015 International Building Code, please see the following:


For more information concerning the operation of the Special Inspections program, please contact Jason Gray, Chief Building Inspector: 

There is a fee charged for all re-inspections required as a result of a failed inspection.  However, if you receive a "partial passed" on an inspection, no re-inspection fee will be assessed.  Additional inspection fees are only assessed for failed inspections.

If you disagree with the inspection outcome you may contact that specific Inspector's Supervisor. If you disagree with our decision, you can review our Code Options Section for more information.

Forms & Applications:



Operating without a license or without the proper permitting reduces the professionalism of the industry and the safety of our community. We encourage all licensed contractors, subcontractors, their employees as well as citizens to report unlicensed contractors or trade personnel to the City.

The Development Services Department call center will accept reports of certain violations. All calls are confidential and can be made anonymously. Please call 210.207.1111 to report any of the following violations.

  • Working without a license
  • Working without a permit
  • No Certificate of Occupancy

Zoning and Code violations can be reported by calling the City of San Antonio's 311 Call Center or using the City's online reporting tool



The Development Services' Inspection Section has created geographic boundaries to define the service areas for each Inspection Team. The links below provide maps of the district by discipline and inspector, along with pertinent contact information.


Once you receive final approval on your inspections, Development Services will contact CPS Energy and let them know your property is safe for utility services. The next step is for the owner/agent to contact CPS Energy and arrange for utility services such as gas and electricity. Refer to the Release to CPS Energy Checklist for inspections that must be passed prior to a utility release request.

For property owners who want to re-establish utility services, CPS Energy may require that the City perform an inspection to ensure the building meets City safety standards. You must apply for a reconnect permit in person at the One Stop.

If you are a licensed electrical contractor registered with the City you can obtain temporary use of utilities using the following programs:

  • Temporary Meter Loop Permit (TML) - This permit allows you to install an electrical panel and obtain a temporary meter  to be used for construction power.
  • Temporary on Permanent Set Electrical Permit (TOPS) - If you require temporary electrical service for the structure prior to receiving final approval on all inspections, you can apply for a TOPS permit. To guide you through our permitting process, we have two Information Bulletins that explain the City’s requirements to obtain your TOPS permit.

Tip: The electrical contractor should ensure the TOPS permit be linked to the main building permit.

If you have any questions regarding how the City gives CPS Energy permission to turn on your utility services, call 210.207.1111 and our Call Center staff will be able to assist you. To set up an online account with CPS Energy, visit the CPS Energy Customer Engineering Web Portal.

Forms & Applications:



A Certificate of Occupancy is required for all businesses in the City of San Antonio. No building or structure can be used or occupied until our department has issued a Certificate of Occupancy. For buildings with multiple tenants, each tenant space must obtain their own Certificate of Occupancy based on the approved use.

For new construction, a Certificate of Occupancy is issued upon completion of all the required inspections. For renovations of buildings with an existing Certificate of Occupancy, Development Services is happy to update the information on your Certificate if there has been no change in business use or occupancy. If there has been a change in occupancy or business use, you may be required to apply for a new Certificate of Occupancy.

Temporary Certificate of Occupancy

A contractor can request a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy at various stages of the building process. This allows for occupancy of certain portions of the building once work is completed and the structure is safe. For example, a restaurant may require a Temporary Certificate so that they can train staff and move in the appliances, equipment, tables and chairs prior to receiving the formal Certificate of Occupancy.

It is the contractor’s responsibility to verify that all required inspections for either a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy and/or a Certificate of Occupancy is issued prior to any business operation.

For the difference phases related to Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) and Full Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) please reference Phases of TCO and CofO.

Certificate of Completion

For a shell building with multiple suites that is not finished out but is ready for occupancy, Development Services will issue a Certificate of Completion on that shell permit. The department will also issue a Certificate of Completion for construction projects that do not require a new Certificate of Occupancy. In both cases, inspections are still required to be approved in order to obtain the Certificate of Completion.

Forms & Applications: