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An application package is required for any person, facility or corporation modifying or building a physical plant for the following types of healthcare facilities, which are regulated by the HHSC Architectural Review Unit,
Approval of an application package in writing by the ARU is required before any of the following steps are taken or construction begins,
The ARU’s application and inspection process is necessary to receive license approval from HHSC.
After the application has been approved, construction can begin. The ARU will inspect the facility during construction. As needed, they may conduct a final inspection for each phase. The Final Architectural Inspection Form is required before patients can occupy the facility. Staff occupancy may be granted under certain circumstances. Construction does not include excavation or site preparation.
Phone: 512-834-6649
Email Inquiries: [email protected]
Mail Fees. Make check payable to HHSC. Mail check and copy of application/inspection form only to either address below.
Overnight Mail:
HHSC AR MC 1470
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756
Regular (USPS) Mail:
HHSC AR MC 1470
PO Box 149055
Austin, TX 78714-9055
Map and directions to the Exchange Building.
Operating hours, including Inspection hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST, excluding state holidays
NFPA 101, 2012 edition and NFPA 99, 2012 edition for General and Special Hospital, Private Psychiatric Hospital and Crisis Stabilization Unit, Ambulatory Surgical Center who receive Medicare reimbursements.
NFPA 101, 2003 edition and NFPA 99, 2002 edition for each End Stage Renal Disease Facility, each Freestanding Emergency Medical Care Facility, each Special Care Facility and any Ambulatory Surgical Center or any hospital or CSU who does not receive Medicare reimbursements.
An application is required for construction, erection, repair, remodeling, renovations, modifications, additions, alterations, removal, conversion, change of service(s), change of function, change of licensed beds or ESRD stations, change of licensed facility type, large/stationary equipment replacement, building system equipment upgrade, demolition, initial facility license or re-opening a closed General or Special Hospital, Private Psychiatric Hospital or Crisis Stabilization Unit, Ambulatory Surgical Center, End Stage Renal Disease Facility, Freestanding Emergency Medical Care Facility, or Special Care Facility. If a facility type is not mentioned above, do not submit project to the ARU. Refer to the Application Package Instructions, ARU-21 (PDF), and the Application Form, 3242 (PDF), from this website.
Construction can only commence after ARU’s written approval is obtained, which is based on an approved application package. The term construction shall not be construed to include excavation or site preparation.
Upon obtaining the Final Architectural Review Form issued by ARU, FM ARU-03, the facility may occupy the newly constructed space with staff only when a facility receives a new or modified license from the Facility Licensing Unit. Under no circumstance shall patients be admitted, transferred in, or procedures performed until the facility receives their new or modified license. Inspection Instructions, ARU-22 (PDF).
Upon obtaining the Final Architectural Review Form, FM ARU-03, the facility may occupy the newly constructed space if a construction project does not require changes in the facility’s license. With the Final Architectural Review Form, staff may occupy the design space and services may be provided to patients (e.g. construction of an operating room, catheterization lab, or imaging suite). Inspection Instructions, ARU-22 (PDF).
Written approval from ARU is required before any work or change of function can occur and is obtained either by approval of self-certification request or approval of plan review comments. Written approval shall provide the type of inspections required.
In lieu of a plan review, the facility can opt for self-certification. If a plan review is requested by the facility, indicate this request in the project narrative. The review time is approximately 120 business days, depending on the size of the project. If the facility opts out of the plan review, they may request the self-certification process. Self-certification is a process where registered architects and professional engineers may bypass a full review of a building project by filling out the third page of the application form. With this streamlined approval process, registered architects and professional engineers may self-certify that their project complies with all applicable laws and codes, and requests the project be approved without a full review or any oversight by ARU.
Application fees can be found in Chapter 8.3 and 8.4 of the Application Package Instructions, ARU-21 (PDF).
Inspection fee can be found in Chapter 10-11 of the Inspection Instructions, ARU-22 (PDF).
Incomplete application package submittals remain in ARU’s office for 30 calendar days, and then are discarded.
Application packages with application numbers remain active for 360 calendar days but will expire on the 361st calendar day if the project has not received an inspection, or after the date of the last inspection that shows progress towards completion of the project. An expired application must be resubmitted before any inspection is conducted. Refer to the Application Package Instructions, ARU-21 (PDF).
Code questions and answers can be obtained via three options.
Feasibility conferences are held at our office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on first scheduled basis. Conferences determine the feasibility of a project, provide consultation regarding project questions, and establish understanding of compliance with the rules and codes. This is not a plan review.
Feasibility conferences can be held at any stage of initial design through final design. Feasibility conferences are a maximum of 90 minutes and multiple projects can be discussed during this time frame. Only a sketch of the plan(s) is required for the meeting. Stakeholders shall keep the meeting minutes and submit them to the Inspector, who conducted the conference for their approval.
Maintenance work does not require notification to ARU. Replacing a building system and interior or exterior finish upgrade is not maintenance work and does require an application package to ARU. Refer to maintenance definition in Application Package Instructions, ARU-21 (PDF).
Once the work is completed, a final architectural inspection shall be required. Upon approval of the final architectural inspection, the Final Architectural Inspection Form, FM ARU-03, shall be issued by the ARU. Refer to Project Closeout Instructions, ARU-25 (PDF).
An architectural review is one of the processes that are necessary in order to receive license approval/modification from the Facility Licensing Unit. Refer to the Facility Licensing Unit webpage or call 512-834-6648 for further information.
Refer to Inspection Instructions, ARU-22 (PDF). Chapters 8 and 9. Chapter 9 contains a list when a previously licensed facility is opening as an initial application. Chapter 8 address any other final inspection’s required documents.
Refer to the instructions on this webpage: Application Package Instructions, ARU-21 (PDF), Inspection Instructions, ARU-22 (PDF) and Project Closeout Instructions, ARU-25 (PDF).
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