Sign Administration and Permits

Misael Benitez, Division Manager

From the list below, click the information that interests you:


CLICK HERE to view the New Sign Permit Application


Sign Administration Q & A




Information Letters 

Prerequisites Plan Review Procedures (updated: 04/27/10)

Sign Administration's Procedures for Paid Plan Reviews (CE-1335)

CLICK HERE for Fee Schedule 

CLICK HERE for Scenic Right-of-Way Maps of Houston 

CLICK HERE for Major Thoroughfare Listing 


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

City of Houston
Houston Permitting Center
Sign Administration
1002 Washington Ave.
Houston, TX 77002

For information, assistance, or to schedule inspections: 

  • To call about the status of Plan Review or Code information: 832.394.8900
  • To call about the status of a Site Inspection or speak to a Senior Inspector: 832.394.8890
  • Sign Administration 832.394.8890
  • Fax Number (713) 218-5836

Click this link to read the Sign Code 

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Sign Permits 

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:  

  • Non-electrical ground signs no taller than 8 ft and larger than 60 SF in size.
  • Non-electrical marquee or wall signs that are mounted on surfaces no higher than 16ft above grade.
  • Signs which meet all other aspects of the sign code such as number of signs per business and assuring that the placement on private property does not create a traffic hazard or encroach on utility easements.
  • The permits are issued to the individual provided that all of the work must be performed by the business owner. 

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The Site Inspection  

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: 

  • Determination of the category of street: local, major thoroughfare, or freeway or in a scenic or historic district or on a predominately residential right-of-way.
  • Location does not exceed the total number of signs or classification of signs. Sign location is not in the 45 ft visibility triangle and does not obstruct the view of on-coming traffic for a minimum of 250 ft.
  • Proposed location is wholly contained on private property.
  • A minimum of 3 ft is maintained from any fire hydrants.
  • All underground utilities are clearly marked from all overhead power or communication lines.
  • Proper clearance is maintained from all overhead power or communication lines. The balance of the construction, electrical and operating fees are charged upon approval of the site inspection and permit application.  

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.  

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Electrical Inspections: 832.394.8860

Public Works & Engineering
Customer Service Center (713) 837-0600  

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