Route inspection largely left to house movers on city roads

A moving company successfully transported this home on Austin roads (KXAN Photo/Kevin Schwaller)
A moving company successfully transported this home on Austin roads (KXAN Photo/Kevin Schwaller)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — When moving homes within Austin, city permitting does not require the  mover to inspect the route ahead of time, according to the city.

KXAN began looking at standards for moving large homes after a house became stuck on an Austin street for nearly a week.

“You can’t just grab them up and go, you’ve got to have your city permits, you’ve got to get your arborist with the city. You’ve got to see what kind of obstructions you have,” said Joe McCullough, executive director of the Texas Association of Structural Movers.

The required city permit is called a relocation permit, which is from the city’s Development Services Department. The permit application states that movers have to be bonded and insured. The owner or mover also has to get a public tree care permit if they need to remove branches or other vegetation along the route. All relocations require inspections.

“We walked down the street here with a pole that’s 15-feet high,” said Kenneth Gall, who successfully relocated his house last month.

Gall says he and the mover used the poll to help find any potential obstacles. He worked with an arborist to trim trees along the route and the mover drove the route ahead of the job.

Gall also had to remove the roof of his home before the move, but he says his house made the journey intact and without getting stuck.

While the outcome of moves often depend on the preparation of the mover, crossing on to state roads requires another level of approval. Last year, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles issued 1,598 house move permits. A DMV spokesperson says loads wider than 16 feet must have front and rear escorts. The DMV can also analyze and issue permits immediately in many oversize load cases. But house moves and other big moves require someone to physically check the route ahead of time and sign a document swearing that someone has made that physical check. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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