Land Development Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Friday, 9:15 a.m. - 4 p.m. Please note that visitors may not be added to in-person queues past 3:45 p.m.

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035

Bill Hicks,

When a Permit is Required

All building and site-related permits are applied for through the Planning and Land Use System (PLUS). Building plans and other reviews are required for many permits. For more information on plans, reviews, fees, land disturbance and current building code, visit Permits and Review.

  • See all the record (permit) types offered by Land Development Services (LDS) to determine which ones you need for your project.


Residential Infographic thumb  Residential Infographic thumb


Please note that this is not a comprehensive list; it is meant to provide general guidance for homeowners and others. Visit the codes and standards page, for confirmation or contact Land Development Services.


Is a Permit Required?

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 256 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
  • New and replacement backflow prevention assemblies
  • Chemical dispensers connected to a water supply or plumbing fixture

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 Services Branch at 703-222-1082, TTY 711
  • Residential window or door replacements
  • Residential reroofs
  • Residential roof sheathing replacements of 256 square feet or less
  • Residential residing
  • 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.
  • Gutters
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Playground equipment
  • On-grade patios (including wood patios) 1
  • Driveways 1, 2 
  • 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 following:
    • Installed in the same location
    • Capacity of the containers are the same
    • Installed by the serving gas supplier


1 If a building permit is not required, a land disturbance permit may still apply depending on the size of the disturbance. For more information see the Site-Related Plans publication, Land Disturbance 101 web pageemail, or call 703-222-0801, TTY 711.

2 A VDOT permit may be required. Call 703-259-1773, TTY 711, for more information.



Post-Disaster Recovery Process Guide

Recovery and reconstruction after a disaster can feel overwhelming. This guide is to assist you through the process of rebuilding, including:

  • Initial Actions
  • Property Assessment
  • Project Scope Determination
  • Permits and Construction
If your project is not listed or you need help determining if a permit is required, please email or call 703-222-0801, TTY 711.
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