RequirementsA building permit is required before:
- Constructing, moving, altering, or demolishing a building or structure.
- Changing the use of a building where the new use requires different structural strength, fire protection, exits, or sanitary provisions.
- Installing or altering any equipment which is regulated by the building code.
Projects that Require A Building Permit
Example projects that require a building permit:
- Add or replace an existing deck
- Replace or repair of roofing substructure (plywood, trusses)
- Any roof work on a commercial building
- Finish an unfinished area or basement
- Replace water or sewer lines
- Set up or install a swimming pool (more than 24 inches deep)
- Install new electrical circuits
- Install gas fired heaters or fireplace logs
- Storage building or detached garage greater than 256 square feet in size
- Changes to heating and ventilation ducting, water and wastewater piping, appliance vent systems and gas piping (other than when reconnecting to replace equipment)
- Modification of interior or exterior wall framing
Projects Exempt from A Building Permit
Example projects that may be exempt from requiring a building permit:
- Residential re-roof
- Replacement windows and doors, except those in fire-rated assemblies
- Repairs or replacement of interior walls and wall coverings
- Floor coverings and porch flooring
- Cabinet installation
- Repair or replacement of existing plumbing and electrical fixtures
- Replacement of common appliances
- Installation of residential exterior siding
- Low-voltage lighting systems (less than 50 volts)
Most permits can be issued while you wait, assuming that all required information and fees are included. Permits involving plan review may take several days. The applicant will be contacted when a permit is ready to be picked up. Permits are not written after 4:30 p.m.
Obtaining By Mail
Building permit applications are available at the Building Inspections office, or you can download the Building and Zoning Permit Application. You may also request an application be mailed to you.
If you are confident that the application is complete, with all information and correct payment included, you may submit it to our office by mail. Normally, however, we recommend that you bring the application and supporting information to our office so we can verify all required information is included and to determine the correct fee amount.
Who May Apply
Permits may be applied for by the owner or lessee of the building, or by the licensed engineer, architect, contractor, or subcontractor employed in connection with the prospective work. Engineers, architects, contractors, or subcontractors must be licensed to practice in Virginia.
A permit remains valid for six months from the date it is issued. Each time an inspection is performed, the permit is extended for another six months. If an inspection is not requested within six months the permit may be suspended and may require you to re-apply and pay additional fees to reactivate it.
A 2% State Levy fee is added to all permit fees. View the complete fee schedule (PDF).