Austin Permit

Austin Permit Services, Inc.Company



Lorel Hoffman received her ICBO Plans Examiner Certification while at the City of Houston in 1982, then served as the first female Code Specialist and plans examiner at the City of Austin. Lorel identified a need in the development community for responsible and highly detailed code consultation. Ms. Hoffman founded Austin Permit Service, Inc. in 1984.

Melissa Whaley Hawthorne joined the company in 1986. Since its inception, APS, Inc. acts as a highly effective liaison between contractors, architects, developers, and code authorities for major project approvals.

AUSTIN PERMIT SERVICE, INC., our individual and collective professional experience affirms our skills in mediating the intricacies of the complex interaction between our clients and the local agencies that regulate their projects.


Lorel Dowden Hoffman, a 1978 graduate of Rice University, Lorel founded the Company in 1984 in order to meet a need in the development community for responsible and highly detailed life-safety codes, and ordinance consultation. She prepares and conducts seminars for architects, municipalities, and educational facilities planners on the 2003 and 2009 International Building Code. Lorel maintains currency in the code development process, in continuing education, and re-certification. She represents cities and other public entities in Texas, Arkansas, and other states in varying contractual capacities. Additionally Lorel serves as a contract Building and Zoning Official, Fire Code Official and Floodplain Administrator for select Texas and Arkansas communities. She maintains Governmental licensure. Ms. Hoffman has spent almost thirty years in Building Code Enforcement, and first earned certification as a Plans Examiner with the International Conference of Building Officials in 1982.

Current professional involvement


  • Guest Lecturer, Council of Educational Facilities Planners, Southern District annual meeting, San Antonio, Texas Design of Educational Occupancies under the 2000 International Building Code, 2001 Albuquerque 2002, Arkansas 2009.
  • Professional development seminar, Building Design under the 2003 IBC, Austin, TX, June 2003-2009. Formatted as an introduction to the 2003-09 revisions and highlights for Architects, 1.5-5 hour CEU's credit hours through AIA.
  • Guest Lecturer, University of Arkansas School of Interior Design, 2007-10: 5th year studio.
  • Code Officials of Arkansas, ICC Chapter; appointed vice president to state board of directors, Education Director 2008-present. Active in Chapter ICC Chapter X leadership.
  • Refer to Lorel's personal resume for greater detail regarding her 30 years of professional activity and service.


    Melissa Whaley Hawthorne joined Austin Permit Service in 1986. She has wide ranging experience in all aspects of development management, including building and site plan permit submittal and expedition, site and parking plan analyses, license agreements and easement vacations, and Certificate of Occupancy inspection coordination assistance. She regularly serves on all task forces and committees, charged with streamlining the Land Development Process, and has throughout her career been a strong advocate for responsible, customer service-oriented governmental review. Ms. Hawthorne participated as a member of Council Member Bob Larson's Site Plan Improvement Process Team in 1992. She also was a consultant for Architectural Design Guidelines for the Sixth Street National Register District in 1994 and is a member of the Austin Real Estate Council. Ms. Hawthorne has served the City of Austin by participating on the following - Zoning and Platting Commission, August 2002 through July 2006, Urban Transportation Commission, January 2007 through August 2008, the Waterfront Overlay Taskforce, July 2008 through April 2009. Melissa currently services on the Board of Adjustment.


    Steve Cattaneo, MCP, LEED®-AP joined APS as a code consultant in 2006 and has recently retired from the City of Fayetteville, AR where he served as an inspector; then plans examiner; and as Building Official since 1994. Steve maintains over 36 certifications including Certified Building Official (CBO-1998), Master Code Professional (MCP-2002), Commercial and Residential Energy Code Plans Examiner, Accessibility Plans Examiner, and Fire Inspector; is a member of the USGBC as an accredited professional (AP-2008) and has produced and conducted seminars on the Building and Fire Codes, Energy Code and LEED. He is presently the Chapter President of the Code Officials of Arkansas; Vice President of ICC Region X (AR, TX & OK) and chairman of the local USGBC Professional Development Committee.

    Dorance "Ran" Miller, joined Austin Permit Service in 2004 as our plan submittal coordinator. Ran comes to us with a background in graphic design and audio engineering. His expertise with APS is as an excellent customer service representative.

    Blane Todd joined Austin Permit Service in 2015. Blane's background is in construction and customer service. He is our front-line interface with the city reviewers for submittals and quick-turn projects.

    References and Major Project List Available Upon Request