Land Development Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: 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,

When a Permit is Required

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.
  • A land disturbance permit may still apply depending on the size of the disturbance. Email staff, or call 703-222-0801, TTY 711, for more information.  
  • Separate county approval may also be required if the proposed improvement is located within a floodplain or Resource Protection Area (RPA). For more information, call 703-324-1720, TTY 711.

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.

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 Review 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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