Land Development Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our offices are open to the public by appointment only from 9 a.m. - noon. Regular hours for calls and emails are 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9:15 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Friday.

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035

Bill Hicks,

Finished Basements

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations


This information is the most common for how to obtain the necessary permits for your project and is not representative of all the conditions you may encounter.


You will be required to obtain an interior alteration residential building permit and an electrical permit.  If you are installing or modifying plumbing, for example to install a bath or bar sink, you will be required to obtain a plumbing permit. A mechanical permit is not required for extending ducts in a basement.

Fees vary depending on the scope of your project; use the online fee estimator to help determine your costs.

Typical Finished Basement Details

Standard finished basement plans are available from Fairfax County that can be used in lieu of a plan submission during permit application if you agree to finish your basement in strict conformance to the standard plans.

Permit Process

Follow the steps below to obtain the necessary approvals and permits for your project. Vienna and Clifton residents require additional approvals from their respective towns. You may obtain the status of your permit application or obtain the status of your plan review, if applicable, at any time online.

  • Step 1) Permit Application

    Permit Application

    Obtain permits online using FIDO. If you are a first-time user, you must first follow the prompts to create an account. Additional steps are required for your ePlan upload process, if you are not using the typical details. Once the application is complete, you will be invited by email to upload your required documents to ProjectDox for submission to the county.

  • Step 2) County Review

    County Review

    County staff from the Permit Application Center, Health Department (if on septic), Building Plan Review and Zoning will review your package for completeness and compliance with the building code and county ordinances.

    * Finished basement permits fall into the fast track plan review category. The amount of time it will take you from submission to permit issuance is dependent on the accuracy and completeness of your submission and if you are installing a second kitchen. For accurate and complete submissions, you can expect a review cycle to last for 2 - 5 days. If you have a Resource Protection Area (RPA) or Floodplain present on your lot, additional reviews will be required. 

    Plan corrections, resubmission fees and additional supporting documents may be required.

  • Step 3) Permit Issuance

    Permit Issuance

    Once all county reviews are approved and outstanding fees have been paid, you can access your approved plans in ProjectDox and permits in FIDO.

    All permits must be printed and posted at the job site, and the approved plans must be printed in full-size and available to the inspector and on the job site for the duration of the job.

  • Step 4) Trade Permits

    Trade Permits

    Electrical and plumbing permits (if required), can be obtained online only after the building permit has been issued. Separate electrical and plumbing plans are not required.



You are required to obtain inspections from the county for your project. You must notify the county when the stages of construction are reached that require an inspection; see the table below. Ladders, scaffolds and other equipment necessary to access construction must be provided to the inspector. Schedule, cancel or modify an inspection online or use the Fairfax County smartphone app.




Combined inspection:

  • Building framing
  • Plumbing concealment
  • Electrical concealment

Interior Alterations



  • Vents and sewer and/or water pipe installed, tested.
  • Electrical wiring and boxes installed.
  • Ductwork installed.
  • Platform for HVAC equipment installed.
  • Fireblocking and draftstopping installed.
  • New windows and/or doors installed.  

Combined inspection:

  • Building final
  • Plumbing final
  • Electrical final

Interior Alterations



  • Plumbing fixtures and piping installed.
  • Roughed-in plumbing fixtures permanently capped.
  • Appliances, fixtures, outlets, panels, switches, etc. installed.

Building Plans

When applying for a permit, the plans must meet or show the following, if applicable:

  • Minimum scale of ¼ inch = 1 foot; fully dimensioned.
  • Minimum sheet size: 8 ½ x 11 inches.
  • Code year used for the design.
  • Name, address and occupation of the designer.
  • Layout of the finished basement showing rooms and their functions, dimensions, stairs, furnace, water heater and electrical panel.
  • Location of bathroom exhaust, smoke alarms and/or carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Ceiling heights.
  • Emergency escape and rescue opening location meeting the following requirements:
    • Width ≥ 20 inches.
    • Height ≥ 24 inches.
    • Area ≥ 5.7 square feet.
    • Floor to window sill ≤ 44 inches.
  • Location and size of window well serving the emergency escape and rescue opening (minimum 36 inches by 36 inches).
  • Fixed ladder into window well when deeper than 44 inches. Manufacturer’s specifications for prefabricated window wells.
Fairfax Virtual Assistant