Salt Lake City is working to reduce the turnaround time on your permit applications, enabling you to open for business faster. Over the last 3+ years there have been some significant changes:

  • OpenCounter – a free online tool will show you what business operations are permitted in areas across the entire City, and give you a cost estimate for each permit that may be required to either build or renovate your space.
  • The City Council funded a new liaison role, George Ott, who helps small businesses who don’t always have the funding or experience with City permitting. The response has been positive. With hundreds of jobs in queue, he is saving business owners significant time in the permitting process and minimizing hassle overall.

… and now:

  • A new streamlined approach to the Fire Inspectors role. By adjusting workloads Salt Lake City has improved customer service response time (now, next business day service) for fire inspections.

Pretty great, right? On July 1st SLC Building Services took on fire inspection duties that used to fall under the SLC Fire Prevention Bureau. The effort was funded by the FY2019 budget approved by the City Council as an effort to help with next business day inspections as well as making the closing out of a project more seamless. Adds George Ott, “We are also busy notifying all design firms and contractors that as of July 1 we will be switching from the 2015 Codes to the 2018 Codes. All projects submitted after 12:00 midnight on July 1 are being reviewed and inspected under the 2018 code,” he advises, “we want to make sure any project in queue is aware of this upgrade.”

The change adds to a growing list of improvements at the City. “When we first started working with business owners in the community, we noticed some trends and backlogs that could have been avoided,” says Small Business Development Manager Roberta Reichgelt, “We knew we needed to do business differently.” Improving turnaround time has been a comprehensive effort by many at the city to get to this point and we’re thrilled at the Department of Economic Development to have a role! Roberta offers this advice:

Before you lease or buy your new site, ask:

  • What was the latest business license at that location issued for – what use?
    • Find previous approved use of location from Business Licensing – this is vital for new restaurants
  • Are you changing the use? If so, please consider:
    • Your permit process will likely take longer to approve.
    • Depending on the new use, you may have to make updates to the facility to comply with current codes and regulations. These may be very costly to a business owners. Please request a Development Review with Building Services before purchasing a building or locking in a leaseholder agreement.  Schedule a Development Review here: 
    • When dealing with interior and no change of use you will go through process with Building Code and Fire Protection (floor plan changes).
    • A site plan is needed for Zoning, PU, Engineering and Transportation to review what is existing and what is proposed.
    • If your site requires construction renovations, please apply for business license approximately 30 days from completion.

If you’re starting a new construction project, it is important to ask the right questions early to find out which permits are needed. It helps to research the design professionals who help produce complete construction documents that are needed for the permit application, and familiarize yourself with the city’s computer tools at, and

Have questions? As always, we’re here to help. Give us a call at (801) 535-7200 or email