Land Development Services

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.
703-222-0801 TTY 711
12055 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035
Bill Hicks
Director

Does My Project Require a Permit?

To assure that the county harbors safe and sustainable communities, it grants permission in the form of a “permit” that allows a given use on a property and its associated construction.

Land Development Services (LDS) issues several types of permits for construction including building permits, trade permits (electrical, mechanical and plumbing) and stormwater and/or land disturbance permits. The type of permit you require depends on the scope of work. Additional permits or approvals may be required by other agencies, even when an LDS permit is not. For more information, see the Additional Permits May Be Required section below.

Permits are applied for in the Planning and Land Use System (PLUS) where applications are commonly referred to as records.

Please note that the below is not an exhaustive list; it is meant to provide general guidance for homeowners, business owners and others. For more information, please review the codes and standards page to confirm permit and other code-related requirements for your project or reach out to Land Development Services directly if you have questions.

A permit IS required for...

  • Direct replacement of household appliances
    • Includes stoves, ovens, water heaters, HVAC, etc.
  • New, repair or relocated electrical fixtures
    • Includes lights, outlets, switches, panels, ovens, dryers, EV chargers, etc.
  • New, repair or relocated mechanical or gas fixtures
    • Includes duct work, range hood, fireplace, propane tanks, HVAC, etc.
  • New, repair or relocated plumbing or gas fixtures
    • Incudes disposals, grinder pumps, sinks, tubs, showers, hose bibs, wet-bars, water heaters, stoves, ranges, water closets, connecting or disconnecting to sewer or water, etc.
  • Interior alterations/renovations
    • Includes kitchen renovations, finished basements, bathroom remodels, removing an existing wall, building new wall(s), creating a bedroom, installing new window openings, new door openings, etc.
  • New addition to an existing home
    • Includes decks, sunrooms, screen porches, front porch/stoops, bump outs, second story additions, dormers, garages, carports, etc.
  • Detached buildings/structures
    • Includes sheds, garages, carports, barns, gazebos, pool houses, etc.
  • New homes
    • Includes detached single-family homes, duplexes and townhomes.
  • Miscellaneous work (both interior and exterior)
    • Includes areaways, asbestos removal, chimney repairs, foundation repairs, waterproofing, roof repairs, etc.
  • Swimming pools
  • Solar panels
  • Retaining walls
  • Removal of a building or structure
    • Includes the demolition of an entire home and/or removal/filling-in of swimming pools.

A permit is NOT required for…

  • Fences*
    • except those used as a barrier around swimming pools
  • Direct replacement of existing windows and doors
  • Direct replacement of electrical, plumbing and mechanical work (no change in location and must be a like-for-like replacement)
  • Re-siding of building/home with similar material
  • Replacement of roof shingles
  • Replacement of less than 256 square feet (9 boards) of roof plywood (unless required to be fire rated, such as townhomes)
  • Detached storage sheds under 256 square feet in size and no more than one-story in height*
  • Gutters
  • Kitchen cabinets and/or countertops
  • Bathroom countertops and/or vanity
  • Replacement of tiles
  • Replacement of flooring material
  • Painting and/or wallpaper
  • Playground equipment installation*
  • On-grade paver and concrete patios (including wood patios)*
  • Driveways*
  • Concrete and/or masonry walls that do not exceed 6 feet in height*
  • Retaining walls holding less than 3 feet of dirt/earth*
    • Cannot have additional surcharge/weight (i.e., supporting a driveway or patio)
    • Cannot be tiered
  • Temporary ramps that are no more than 30 inches high*
  • Direct replacement of above-ground liquefied petroleum (LP) gas containers
  • 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
  • Flagpoles 30 feet or less in height
  • Tents that are less than 900 square feet with less than 50 persons*

*NOTE: Depending on the size and location of your project, additional approvals may be necessary. For more information, please contact one of the following:

  • 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
  • Direct replacement of plumbing fixtures (no change in location and must be a like-for-like replacement)
  • Detached prefabricated buildings housing the equipment of publicly regulated utility services that do not exceed 150 square feet*
  • Tents that are less than 900 square feet with less than 50 persons*
  • Fences unless used as barrier for a swimming pool or public safety per section 3306 (of the Virginia Construction Code)*
  • Concrete and/or masonry walls that do not exceed 6 feet in height*
  • Retaining walls holding less than 3 feet of dirt/earth*
    • Cannot have additional surcharge/weight (i.e., supporting a driveway or patio)
    • Cannot be tiered
  • Direct replacement of above-ground LP-gas containers
  • Flagpoles 30 feet or less in height
  • Minor renovations: floor finishes, paint/wallpaper, trim, cabinetry
  • Billboards*
  • Replacement of less than 100 square feet of roof covering
  • Manufacturing equipment
  • Parking lots and sidewalks, that are not part of an accessible route*
  • Outside playground equipment installation*
  • Automotive lifts

*NOTE: Depending on the size and location of your project, additional approvals may be necessary. For more information, please contact one of the following:

PERMIT PROCESS OVERVIEW

The information below is the most common process for obtaining a building permit; it does not reflect all the conditions you may encounter.

permit process flowchart
Click to Enlarge

 

For more information about the permitting process in Fairfax County, checkout our upcoming education and outreach events on the Education and Outreach webpage.

Upcoming Events

Jul
16

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Aug
07

2:00PM, The Fairfax County Exception Review Committee (ERC) will hold a public…
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16

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