When a Permit is Required
- Building plans may be required and if so, must be designed under the current building code and local design criteria. A site-related plan may be required based on the land disturbance activity of your construction on your property.
- Use the list below to help you determine if your project requires a building permit. If your project is not listed or you need help determining if a permit is required, please contact the Permit Application Center by email or telephone at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.
- If a permit is not required, setbacks and other zoning requirements may still apply. Contact Zoning at 703-222-1082, TTY 711, for more information regarding zoning requirements.
Watch the video! When Do I Need a Building Permit?
A permit IS required for...
- New buildings, additions and structures
- Interior alterations (including finished basements) except new floors, carpet, paint, trim work
- Porches and decks (including alterations to existing)
- New and replacement gas appliances
- New and replacement HVAC equipment
- New plumbing fixtures
- New electric appliances
- Sheds and playhouses over 256 square feet
Swimming pools except those meeting all of the following:
- 150 square feet area or less
- 5,000 gallons capacity or less
- 24 inches deep or less
- Retaining walls over 3 feet
- Roof sheathing replacements over 100 square feet
- New exterior stairs or stoops
- Demolition of buildings and structures
- Sump pumps
- Tents over 900 square feet
- Electric car charging equipment
- Changes of occupancy or use group of a commercial space
- Movement of a lot line
A permit IS NOT required for...
Fences except those used as a barrier around a swimming pool or
required for pedestrian safety
- Verify setback requirements with Zoning Permit Review Branch at 703-222-1082, TTY 711
- Residential window or door replacements
- Residential reroofs
- Residential roof sheathing replacements of 100 square feet or less
- Residential residings
- Low voltage (50 volts maximum) wiring systems and equipment that are not a component of any fire protection system, access control system, egress control system, located in a plenum or penetrate fire rated or smoke protected construction.Call 703-246-4803, TTY 711, for more information.
- Kitchen cabinets
- Playground equipment
- On-grade patios (including wood patios)
- A land disturbance permit may be required. Email or call 703-222-0801, TTY 711 for more information.
- A VDOT permit may be required. Call 703-383-2888, TTY 711 for more information.
- Flagpoles 30 feet or less in height
- Temporary ramps serving residential dwellings that are no more than 30 inches high
Replacement of above-ground LP-gas containers which meet the
- Installed in the same location
- Capacity of the containers are the same
- Installed by the serving gas supplier