Building Permits and Contractor Information

NO WORK IS TO COMMENCE WITHOUT POSSESSION OF A PERMIT.

Important Notices:

If you are completing work in the Downtown Zone (Historic District) or on a Historic Landmark, you must obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness. For more information, please visit our Historical Architecture Review Board site.

If you are completing work in a FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you will be required to obtain a Floodplain Review for your project. For more information, please visit our Floodplain Management site


Building Permit Requirements

All construction projects in the City require a permit. Cost of permits vary based on the size and scope of the project. For example, the homeowner or their licensed contractor can obtain a permit to change the current windows and doors in a home without paying a fee because it is considered “alteration” or “remodeling.” However, if the project is to change the location of the windows or doors changes, there would be a fee because that is considered construction.

Any application should be submitted to the city 4 to 90 days before the project begins. The time frame for issuance of the permit is based on the size and scope of the projects and amount of trades involved, or if any additional review is required before issuance. It is vital that the applications are filled out to completion. If you improperly fill out the permit applications, i.e. missing or omitted information, failing to provide the scope of the project with required plans, home owner or contractor information, etc. the permit will be denied and sent back. This will result in a longer wait time to begin the project for both the client and contractor. Once your permit is approved, it must be posted in the front of the worksite to be easily visible from the street.

Doing work without a permit or commencing work prior to obtaining the permit, will result in the fee for the job being doubled.

Permits will only be issued between 8:00 am and 3:30 pm on weekdays. Applications for permits received between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm on weekdays will not be processed until the next business day, at the earliest.  Upon submission, the Department is responsible to issue a decision on all permit applications within 30 business days for commercial permits and 15 business days for residential permits.


Historical Review

If you are doing any exterior work within the Downtown Scranton Historic District, a Certificate of Appropriateness must be granted for your project by the Historic Architecture Review Board. Any persons who fail to comply with any of the HARB Requirements or who conduct activities in violation of a permit or a Certificate of Appropriateness issued, or who shall, without having applied for and received an appropriate permit, conduct activities for which a permit is required, shall be guilty of a summary offense punishable by a fine not exceeding three hundred dollars ($300.) per day, plus costs, or imprisonment for a period of up to ninety (90) days if such fine and costs be not paid. Each day that a violation continues unabated shall be deemed a separate offense.


Floodplain Review

All new construction in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is required to be in full compliance with current Floodplain Management Regulations. Generally, all new construction (commercial and residential) will be required to be flood proofed or elevated 18” above the base flood elevation.

Improvements to existing structures are also required to be in full compliance with current flood control regulations. However, improvement projects are subject to a substantial improvement review and determination. When the cost of structure improvements exceeds 50% of the value of the structure, the project is considered a substantial improvement. Once a substantial improvement is determined, the owner is required to make additional flood control improvements to bring the structure into compliance with the ordinance.

FEMA defines development as any manmade change to the floodplain and, as a participant in the NFIP, we are required to maintain documentation and records of all floodplain development. So whether you are performing small improvements, such as putting up a fence, or embarking on a large construction project, please contact the Floodplain Manager to discuss how the Floodplain Management Regulations applies to your specific project.


Contractor Requirements

All work within the City is to be completed by an insured licensed contactor with experience, knowledge, and a general understanding of the nature of work to be preformed. You can apply for a Contractors License here.

Residential work requires either a Home Improvement Contractor License, while any other work done on a multi-family residential (3+ units), commercial, demolition, industrial, et. al. requires a General Contractors License. Plan Reviews for residential and commercial projects are completed by NEIC, the City’s contracted Third Party Agency. Please note that the Department does not handle or issue Business Licensing.

You must complete the Building Permit Application to begin any building project in the City of Scranton along with any necessary trade subcode forms as it applies to the project.


Requirements for General/Master Contractor’s License For the City of Scranton

Applicant can submit Requirement A or Requirement B

Requirement A Option

  • Fill out Contractor’s License Application in full. 
  • Copy of the Applicant’s Photo ID or Drivers License.
  • Applicants Resume. *Experience in said field.
  • Applicant needs to provide experience in said field working under a licensed contractor for 4 years. (Must provide W-2’s or 1099’s)
  • General Liability Insurance. ($500,000 – Per Person $1,000,000 Per Occurrence) *Can be in the company’s name.
  • Single Tax Office Registration Number. *Please contact 570- 963- 6756
  • Proof of passing test score in said field. Under the ICC/UCC testing categories not limited to:
    • General Construction Contractor 
    • Master Electrical
    • Master Mechanical
    • Master Plumbing
    • Automatic Fire Suppression
    • Automatic Sprinkler
    • Fire Alarm
    • Masonry ( $200.00 Annually)
    • Demolition ($200.00 Annually)
    • Roofing ($200.00 Annually)
    • Carpentry ($200.00 Annually)
  • License Fee: $250.00 *Unless stated above. 

                License valid January 1 – December 31 of the same year.

Requirement B Option

  • Fill out Contractor’s License Application in full. 
  • Copy of the Applicant’s Photo ID or Drivers License.
  • Applicants Resume. *Experience in said field.
  • Applicant needs to provide experience in said field working under a licensed contractor for 8 years. (Must provideW-2’s or 1099’s)
    • In the case where W-2’s cannot be produced, notarized referral letters from licensed contractor for whom they worked for shall be substituted.
  • General Liability Insurance. ($500,000 – Per Person $1,000,000 Per Occurrence) *Can be in the company’s name.
  • Single Tax Office Registration Number. *Please contact 570- 963- 6756
  • NOTARIZED referral letters from ALLof the following:
    • One letter from licensed contractor for whom applicant was employed for 3 years. 
    • One letter from from a Licensed 3rd Party Inspection agency (does not have to be from PA.)
    • Five letters from customers the applicant has performed work for. 
    • Three letters from contractor’s in the construction field (does not have to be within  the same field.)
    • One letter from a licensed Design professional within PA (Engineer, Architect, Etc.) 
  • License Fee: $250.00 *Unless stated above.

                License valid January 1 – December 31 of the same year.


Code Regulations

The City of Scranton enforces the 2018 ICC Series, which includes the following codes:

  • 2018 International Property Maintenance Code
  • 2018 International Residential Code
  • 2018 International Building Code
  • 2018 International Existing Building Code
  • 2018 International Plumbing Code
  • 2018 International Mechanical Code
  • 2018 International Fire Code
  • 2018 International Energy Code
  • 2018 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2014 National Electric Code
  • 2017 ANSI 117.1


The 2018 editions of the International Codes adopted by UCC regulations, as modified by the PA Uniform Construction Code (UCC) Review and Advisory Council, are to be used for construction project design, plan review and inspection purposes.

If your project was under contract for design or construction before February 14, 2022, you may submit plans and specifications based upon 2015 ICC Codes, with your permit application, through August 13, 2021. It must be accompanied by an executed copy of your contract.

2017 ANSI 117 (Accessibility) and the 2021 IBC chapter 11 are effective as of January 1, 2022.

 

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