A permit, when required, is a document, required by state law, granting legal permission to start construction.
The information below is the most common process for obtaining a permit; it does not reflect all the conditions you may encounter.
Step 1: The permit application center
Staff at the Permit Application Center can provide you with the resources and information necessary to make your project a success and to avoid potential problems which could cost you time and money. Be prepared to discuss your project with permit staff who will ask you questions such as "What are you planning to do?” and "Where are you planning to do it?" The permit staff will discuss the specific process for your project with you. To contact permit staff, call 703-222-0801. TTY 711 or email.
Fairfax County issues separate building permits and trade (electrical, mechanical and plumbing) permits. Therefore, depending on your project, you may need multiple permits.
Begin your permit application process online using FIDO, and follow the prompts to create your account. When applying for your permit you will be asked to answer “who” will perform the work and “what,” “where,” and “how” the work will be completed. When the application process is complete and you have paid for all or part of your permit fee, you will be invited by email to upload your plans and related documents, if required, to ProjectDox for submission to the county. Learn more about the eplans process.
Step 3: The Review Process
During the review process, county staff will from the Permit Application Center, Health Department (if on well or septic), Building Plan Review and Zoning will review your package for completeness and compliance with the building code and county ordinances. You will be notified of any deficiencies. Plan corrections, resubmission fees and additional supporting documents may be required. The length of the review process will depend on the type and complexity of the project. Many small residential projects can be reviewed within 24 hours of plan acceptance. Posted plan review timeframes are kept online.
Step 4: Permit Approval
When compliance with the building code, fire code (subset of commercial construction), zoning ordinance and other applicable statutes are determined, the permit application is ready for issuance. Once all final permit fees are paid, you can access your approved plans in ProjectDox and permit in FIDO.
Step 5: Construction
During the entire construction phase, all permits must be placed in a window or other prominent place at the project site and a full-size copy of the county-approved building plans and related documents must be maintained at the site.
Step 6: Inspections
Each major phase of construction must be inspected by a county inspector to make certain the work conforms to the code, the permit and the approved plans. Inspection requests for each permit may be made online.
If an inspector finds that work does not conform to the approved plans, the inspector will fail the inspection and provide comments. Another inspection will be necessary before work is resumed.
Step 7: Field Changes
Many field changes can be made with the concurrence of your inspector. However, some changes will require a review and approval in the same manner as the original application. Please submit your proposed revisions or alterations in ProjectDox before making changes in the field.
Step 8: Project Completion
When the project is completed and code compliance is determined, the inspector issues a final inspection. The final inspection marks the completion of your project and, if required, the then issued Certificate of Occupancy grants permission to occupy a building with the knowledge that it has met the minimum safety standards as required by code.