When Do I Need a Permit?
Permits are required for most construction and maintenance work of buildings and structures, including:
- New buildings and structures
- Alterations, demolitions, renovations, additions and change of occupancy in existing buildings and structures
- Maintenance of existing buildings and structures
What Type of Permit Do I Need?
There are two general permit categories, Residential and Commercial:
Residential- Detached single, two-family, and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses only) not more than three stories above the grade plane in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures, including but not limited to:
Townhomes, Rowhouses, Townhouses
Private Garages and Fixed Carports
Accessory Structures (Sheds, Garages, Playhouses, etc.) greater then 200 ft2
Decks, Porches, Stoops
Fences (greater than 6ft in height)
Retaining Walls (holding 2ft or greater of soil)
Commercial - any residential or commercial occupancy not defined as a "residential occupancy" as stated above, including but not limited to:
Restaurants, Cafes, Night-clubs, Taverns, Bars
Retail - Markets, Stores
Professional Offices - Doctor, Dental, Attorney, Banks, Dry-cleaning/laundry pick-up/drop-off
Schools (kindergarten - 12th grade)
Multi-family Dwelling Units, 3 or more dwelling units (Apartments, Condominiums)
High-hazardous Material Storage/Fabrication
Hospitals, Assisted Living, Congregate/Convalescent Facilities
Required Documentation to Submit for Plan Review
Points to Remember When Submitting Plans and Documents for Review:
Provide Contractor’s information (as applicable - state license number, City of Alexandria business license number and contact information). If no contractor will be conducting the work, then a Property Owner's Affidavit must be submitted.
- Provide five copies of construction documents (plans and reports), including all proposed trade work. Six copies should be submitted if the project requires Health Department review and approval.
- Maximum Plan Size is 24”x36” (unless waived by the Director) and minimum dimensions for plans are 1/8” = 1’-0” for plan view sheets and ¼” = 1’-0” for section details
- Residential permits subject to the requirements of the International Residential Code (1 &2 Family Dwellings) shall provide complete building and trade drawings. Note: To reduce the amount of time it takes an applicant to obtain a building permit for small residential projects, Code Administration no longer requires trade plans for residential 1 & 2 family dwelling additions up to 3 stories and a maximum area of 1,200 sq.ft. per floor. New Construction inspectors will review mechanical, electrical and plumbing work for code compliance on site during construction. To take advantage of this exception, applicants shall complete the following checklist available in the Permit Center:
- 1 & 2 Family Residential Dwellings – No Trade Review Document Submission Checklist
- 1 & 2 Family Residential Dwellings – No Trade Review Plan Submission Checklist
- Plans must be signed and sealed by a registered design professional (RDP) licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia (1 original plan set) if they are responsible for the construction documents (regardless of whether Virginia law requires the plans to be prepared by an RDP) or if it is required by the Code of Virginia Section 54.1-400 administered by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
- Plans not prepared by an RDP, and not required to be by the Code of Virginia, shall contain:
- The name of the person who prepared the plans
- Contact information
- The Site Plan or Grading Plan must accompany each Building Permit set upon building permit plan submittal when required.
- 35% Deposit is required for plan review – based on estimated permit fee (Refer to Department of Code Administration Fee Schedule ). The deposit is non-refundable and is deducted from the total permit fee when the permit is issued.
- Additional building and trade plan submission requirements
Certificates of Occupancy
Transportation & Support Services Permits
Planning & Zoning Permits