Lisa Lorton, Division Manager
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Sign Administration Q & A
Prerequisites Plan Review Procedures (updated: 04/27/10)
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About the Houston Sign Code The Houston Sign Code was originally adopted in May 1980 and revised in December 2012. The Sign Code provides standards for the use, quality, construction and location of advertising signs throughout the city. The Code also regulates off-premise signs (also known as billboards) in the city, as well as extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). The height, size, and lighting of signs is determined by the category of the street from which the sign will be viewed. View the Houston Sign Code (PDF format).
The Application Process The application process can be completed in person or arrangements can be made to utilize the Fax permit Program. many questions can be answered on the telephone or by faxing a drawing to the Plan Analysts, however, more complex situations require a meeting to discuss the various options available. All inspections, with the exception of the site inspection, must be scheduled by 4:00 pm the day prior to inspection. Electrical signs must receive a final inspection from the Electrical inspection Section in order for the final construction to be performed by the Sign Inspector.
Sign Administration office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 am - 4 pm Address:
City of Houston
Planning and Development Department
1002 Washington Ave.
Houston, TX 77002
For information, assistance, or to schedule inspections:
Permits must be obtained before signs can be erected, altered or repaired. Permits are obtained from the Sign Administration Division, Planning and Development Department are issued only to licensed sign contractors.
No new permits can be issued for off-premise signs (Exception: Section 4612(b) of the Houston Sign Code). Relocation permits are issued for certain off-premise signs The specific signs that can be permitted for a single three year period, provided that all applicable provisions are met.
The only signs which can be installed by other than a licensed sign contractor but may still need permits are:
The proposed location can be marked or staked on the property or shown on a site plan with dimensions from fixed objects. A survey must be provided for new ground signs. Compliance with the following items is determined during the site inspection:
Most of the fees are based on the size and are calculated during the plan review.
A construction inspection (hole inspection) is required for drilled footing that are larger than 18 inches in diameter or 6 ft in depth or if rebar an or anchor bolts are being used.
Electrical inspections are required for electrical signs. A shop inspection is required for all electrical signs prior to the installation. A final electrical or installation inspection is required once the sign has been energized.
A final inspection is performed after the final approval is obtained from Electrical Inspections. The installation of the signs is inspected to assure that the sign was erected in a safe and workman like manner and in accordance with the plans and all applicable requirements of the code. Upon final approval, the operating permit is affixed to the sign structure or the nearest window.
Electrical Inspections: 832.394.8860
Public Works & Engineering
Customer Service Center (713) 837-0600