Opening a restaurant requires inspections by three (3) separate City agencies: Baltimore Housing, Office of the Fire Marshal, and the Baltimore City Health Department. Each agency performs its inspections independently. The number of inspections depends upon the scope of the project. Inspections should be scheduled in consultation with each agency.
Building inspections, conducted by Baltimore Housing, generally include reviews of structural, mechanical, electrical and other building systems and infrastructure. Inspections occur at various stages of construction. The Building Inspector is responsible for issuing the Use & Occupancy Permit - the approval needed to occupy your space.
The Office of the Fire Marshal typically inspects a project at various stages of construction, depending on the type of construction and fire suppression system required. The Building Inspector will not issue a final Use & Occupancy Permit until the Fire Marshal has inspected and approved the restaurant space.
Building and Fire inspections are typically not annual inspections, but conducted during and at the end of construction.
In order to operate your restaurant, you must obtain a Food License from the Baltimore City Health Department, which requires one or more Plan Review on-site inspections. Once an applicant submits construction plans to the Baltimore Housing One Stop Permit Center, plans are automatically forwarded to the Health Department for review. Any concerns regarding the plans will be communicated by the Health Department at that time. At the end of construction, the Health Inspector will complete an on-site inspection(s) to ensure that the space conforms to the plan specifications and Baltimore City Health Code.
When applying for your Food License, the $150 application fee includes plan review and two (2) on-site inspections. If more than two (2) on-site inspections are required, additional fees will be charged.
To maintain an active Food License, annual inspections by the Health Department are required. For a Low Priority Food Facility, one (1) inspection is required every two years at an annual $185 fee. For a Moderate Priority Food Facility, two (2) annual inspections are required at an annual $350 fee. For a High Priority Food Facility, three (3) annual inspections are required at an annual $450 fee. Most restaurants are a Moderate or High Priority Food Facility.