Small Business

Services Development Services Offers Small Businesses

1. Overview

"Taking Care of Business"

 

The Development Services Department recognizes how important small business is to our community. 
Small businesses serve as opportunities to help reduce unemployment and poverty, to increase the City’s tax base, and quite frankly – to create our community’s identity. 
With this in mind, we are committed to “taking care of small businesses."
We have a variety of municipal building occupancy resources available and have consolidated them below.

 

 

2. How Do I Get Started?

How Do I Get Started?

Use the CFW Permit Assist Tool

The City of Fort Worth desires to transform permitting by revolutionizing the process of project scoping.  To that end, we offer a self-service tool that generates project specific information like permitting requirements and related costs.  CFW Permit Assist tool is a platform that simplifies the permit discovery process and provides applicants with the information they need when they need it. The partnership takes Fort Worth one step closer to realizing its mission to streamline service delivery and promote economic development in all communities.

What is a Certificate of Occupancy (CO)?

Any building used or occupied in Fort Worth must have a Certificate of Occupancy.

The Fort Worth Administrative Building Code states that no building or structure shall be used or occupied, and no change in the existing occupancy classification of a building or structure or portion thereof shall be made, until the building official has issued a certificate of occupancy.

More information on Certificate of Occupancy can be found here.

What does Change of Use (CoU) Mean?

If the proposed business is a different type of business than what currently operates in the space, then a new Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is needed to legally operate the business within the City of Fort Worth. A change of use permit can be applied for with or without associated remodeling. Once the permit is issued and all necessary inspections are finalized, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued.

A Change of Use (CoU) is a change in the purpose or level of activity within a building that involves a change in the application of the requirements of the International Existing Building code, the Fire Code, or the Zoning Ordinance. The definition shall also apply to the usage of the surrounding site and access to and from the building, structure or site, as necessary to achieve the purpose of this code and to obtain compliance with other codes and ordinances, such as the Fire Code and the Zoning Ordinance.

   

3. How Long Will It Take?

How Long Will It Take?

Utilize the Walk-In Permitting Team

Certain small building project and occupancy permits can be done on the same day of application with express assistance of the Walk-In Permit Team.  This program is for occupancy and remodel projects in existing buildings that do not require multiple departmental reviews, are not changing the use from the previously approved use of the building, and that are below a 6000 square feet. 

To see if you qualify and instructions on using the walk-in permit team below:

Do I Qualify for Express Assistance?

Remodel existing tenant space under 6,000 sq. feet.

I already have a Certificate of Occupancy for this business, I am just making changes to walls or mechanical, electrical or plumbing systems.

  • Daycare centers, restaurants, food preparation, beauty salons, game rooms, smoke shops, sexually oriented businesses, hazardous occupancies will not qualify.

Moving into new tenant space under 6,000 sq. feet, no change of use and no remodeling - I just need a CO.

I need to apply for an Occupancy Existing Ordinance permit (PO).

  • Daycare centers, restaurants, food preparation, beauty salons, game rooms, smoke shops, sexually oriented businesses, hazardous occupancies will not qualify.

Moving into new tenant space under 6,000 sq. feet, with a change of use.

I need to apply for an Occupancy Change of Use permit (PO).

  • Daycare centers, restaurants, food preparation, beauty salons, game rooms, smoke shops, sexually oriented businesses, hazardous occupancies will not qualify.


I Qualify, Now What?

Remodel

STEP 1: Click here to see what information is needed to apply for the Remodel Permit.(PDF, 717KB)

STEP 2: Fill out the correct application online, be sure to include all documents, plans, etc, listed in the application checklist.

STEP 3: Come up to City Hall, located at 200 Texas Street in Fort Worth, Texas, and sign in at registration desk. Be sure to notify the customer service representative you are there for assistance from the small business express permitting walk-in team.

Occupancy Existing Ordinance Permit (PO)

STEP 1: Fill out the PO without change of use or remodeling application online.

STEP 2: Bring the existing Certificate of Occupancy and floor plan of existing space (to calculate occupant load) up to City Hall, located at 200 Texas Street in Fort Worth, Texas, and sign in at registration desk. Be sure to notify the customer service representative you are there for assistance from the small business express permitting walk-in team.

Occupancy Change of Use Permit (PO)

STEP 1: Click here to see what information is needed to apply for the Occupancy Change of Use (PO)(PDF, 2MB).

STEP 2: Fill out the correct application online, be sure to include all documents, plans, etc, listed in the application checklist.

STEP 3: Come up to City Hall, located at 200 Texas Street in Fort Worth, Texas, and sign in at registration desk. Be sure to notify the customer service representative you are there for assistance from the small business express permitting walk-in team.


I Don't Qualify, What Can I do?

Don't qualify for Express Permitting?

Be sure to check out our other permitting options here.


4. Who Can I Talk To?

Who Can I Talk To?

Make An Appointment with our Qless Appointment Service

The City recognizes that despite best efforts, sometimes the understanding and compliance with code regulations can still be challenging. For that reason, we offer free consultation meetings with an appointment.

Book your appointment now.

5. How Do I Get 1-on-1 Help?

How Do I Get 1-on-1 Help?

Small Business Liaison Service

Whether you are a new business or an established business, the City of Fort Worth wants to partner with you.   This small business facilitation service provides you with a dedicated liaison for construction or building occupancy-related permitting assistance.  Business Facilitators will help to guide you through the appropriate City-related permits you need to get your business open.

Call 817-392-1732.

6. Have a Large Project and Need More Help?

X Team Meeting

Check out the XTeam

No need to worry if your project does not qualify for express permitting with the walk-in permit team, because our department also offers a service through our Expedited Plan Review Team (XTeam). 

The XTeam is typically used for the larger and more complicated projects - visit their website or give them a call now at 817-392-2305.