Residential Advocacy

AIA Austin, through its Advocacy Commission, is actively engaged with City of Austin staff to keep updated as to zoning and building code changes, specifically including the Residential Review and Inspections Departments. The purpose is to inform AIA Austin members of various code changes and City of Austin staff interpretations affecting architects and their practice.

Chair: Travis Young, AIA
Chair-Elect: Bhavani Singal, AIA
AIA Austin Staff Liaison: Ingrid Spencer


Residential Advocacy Update Presentation, January 2019 link


General Note—Automatic Sprinkler System, 8/2018

The residential fire reviewers have updated the fire sprinkler note to be used on permit sets:

If a full residential sprinkler system designed, installed and tested in accordance with the 2016 NFPA 13D or the 2015 IRC P2904 standards will be installed in a property: The plans for the sprinkler system must be designed and installed by a Texas Licensed Sprinkler contractor for NFPA 13D systems or a Texas Licensed Plumber with the Multipurpose Residential Fire Protection Sprinkler Specialist (MRFPSS) endorsement. The Sprinkler plans must be submitted, reviewed, approved, tested, and inspected by AFD prior to covering the walls and ceilings. A flow test of the most demanding area will be required.

Residential Review, September 28

Effective September 28th, Residential Review has implemented a new process that will allow for the concurrent review of both a residential building permit application and a TAP plan with Austin Water. View the Advocacy Review Process flowchart.


As typical, you will secure your WWWSPV approval through the TAPS office (or the co-located station in DAC). The WWWSPV form will indicate whether a tap plan is required. If yes, the intake person with Residential Review will add AWU-TAPS to the distribution list for the project (just like tree, fire, flood plain, etc.). If no, they will not be added. This will give AWU-TAPS the ability to ensure that the building permit application is not approved until the TAP plan is also approved, but removes the need to require that the tap plan be approved prior to submitting the building permit application.

2015 IRC Adoption

Projects submitted after July 1, 2017 will need to comply with the 2015 IRC and local amendments.

Solar Ready Adoption

Projects submitted after October 1, 2017 will require that new residential and commercial buildings are constructed to reserve roof top space to more easily accommodate solar equipment.

Tree Review Changes

Beginning February 10, 2017, a separate Tree Ordinance Review Application (TORA) will no longer be required when submitting for residential plan review (PR). The application, fee, review, and issuance of a tree permit will all be consolidated into the Residential PR process.

Energy Code Revisions

Projects submitted after September 1, 2015 will need to comply with the 2015 IECC and local amendments

Visitability Changes 2015

On January 30, 2014, City Council adopted changes to the International Residential Code relating to accessibility and visitability requirements from new single-family dwellings (single-family, duplex, and townhomes).

City of Austin Fire Flow Requirements
for Residential Construction

Beginning in January 2014, the City of Austin began to formally review for the fire-flow requirement for houses larger than 3600 SF. Fire-flow for residential construction varies based upon size and construction type (see Table B105.1, 2012 International Fire Code) If a property does not have the required fire-flow, the code allows for alternate methods of compliance including the installation of sprinklers or an increase in the fire rating of the construction. This is not to be confused with Texas Occupation Code Section 1301.551 (i) where state law prohibits requiring the installation of a multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler system.

Certification of Compliance (Self-certification)

Since 2013, AIA Austin's Advocacy Liaisons have worked closely with City of Austin staff to maintain the option for architects to self-certify residential projects.

We highly suggest that prior to submitting a self-certified project, you consult with a senior reviewer using the paid consult program. The program's success will depend largely on the professional judgement and discretion of the architect who chooses to use this form.

Subchapter F Revision Process 2012

Based on a mutual need by design professionals and staff to ease the burden of the process, AIA Advocacy and City Staff have collaborated over the past six months to create proposed amendments to the current code language of the Residential Design & Compatibility Standards (aka McMansion). An initial member forum was held on July 28, 2011 and a followup forum on April 16, 2012. These forums provided our membership the opportunity to review and comment on the proposed language.

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