Hover here for Site Tools
When a Permit is Required Building Inspection
Building Inspection

Commercial Construction
Residential Construction
Property Maintenance
Quick Links
FacebookTwitterYouTubeMedia CenterRSS
Contact Us

Building Inspection Director
Richard C. Witt

(804) 748-1057
(804) 751-4713 Fax

Get complete contact info 

Email us with questions about
Permits and Fees 

Residential code requirements 

Commercial code requirements 

Residential inspection requirements 

Commercial inspection requirements 

Office - M-F, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Inspectors M-F, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Mailing Address
Chesterfield County Department of Building Inspection
P.O. Box 40
Chesterfield, VA 23832-0040

Street Address
9800 Government Center Parkway
Chesterfield, VA 23832
Map this 

When a Permit is Required

Whenever you construct, reconstruct, enlarge, alter, or demolish a structure, a permit is required prior to starting the work. There are several types of permits that might be necessary for any residential project depending on the scope of work being done. The list of work described in this document is not all inclusive. An overview of what is on this page includes:

If you are doing any emergency repairs or equipment replacement, you may obtain a permit the next working day following the emergency.

Building Permit  

building permitThese types of projects require a Building Permit:

  1. Building a new house
  2. Building an addition onto an existing house or attached garage
  3. Converting an existing deck or screened porch to Florida room (sunroom)
  4. Building, replacing, adding to and making structural repairs to a deck whether it is attached to the main structure or not
  5. Building an attached or detached garage or carport
  6. Converting a garage to a habitable space
  7. Building a porch, screened porch, deck, associated steps or ramp
  8. Building or installing a tool shed 257 square feet or larger in area
  9. Finishing off an unfinished attic, basement or room over a garage
  10. Moving, adding or removing a wall or partition
  11. Repairing, altering, enlarging or modifying any structural element of the house, including:
    1. Any damaged structural element, such as load bearing stud walls, columns, piers, footings, foundations, floor joists, rafters, beams or girders
    2. Enlarging or adding a door opening or window opening
  12. Changing the use of the structure (example: change from residential use to a business use)
  13. Installing a pool (permanent or storable), hot tub or spa that is greater than 150 square feet, 5000 gallons in capacity and greater than 24 inches deep
  14. Building, replacing or repairing (structurally) a retaining wall that is greater than 36 inches in height or that supports load from a structure

Electrical Permit  

electrical permitThese types of projects require an Electrical Permit:

  1. Providing new electrical service or wiring
  2. Upgrading electrical service
  3. Adding a permanent generator back-up to an existing electrical panel, service equipment, and similar devices
  4. Installing or replacing any electrical wiring, panel board, service equipment or disconnecting means
  5. Any wiring that penetrates a fire rated assembly, and any wiring that is installed in a plenum or both

Gas Permit  

gas permitThese types of projects require a gas permit.

  1. Any new construction that requires
    1. Removing, replacing or installing any gas appliances or equipment, including piping, gas logs, water heaters, furnaces. Appliances that are not required to have a permit for replacement are cook tops, stoves, ranges and dryers.
    2. Installation of new propane tanks or replacing a propane tank of a different capacity or location

Mechanical Permit  

mechanical permitThese types of projects require a Mechanical Permit:

  1. Any new construction...
  2. Installing new mechanical equipment (e.g. new air conditioner, heat pump, furnace, etc.)
    * Exception: when replacing a like for like electric heat pump, permits are not required.
  3. Replacing any furnace, hydronic piping (hot water piping), or its associated ductwork
  4. Installing or replacing any flue or new vent associated with mechanical equipment
  5. Replacing an existing furnace with one that utilizes a different fuel
    * Note: A chimney reline requires a building permit, not a mechanical permit. If the mechanical work involves gas, a gas permit will also be required. If the mechanical work involves electrical work, an electrical permit will also be required.

Plumbing Permit  

plumbing permitThese types of projects require a Plumbing Permit:

  1. Any new construction...
  2. Installing any new piping or fixtures
  3. Replacing any plumbing pipe, such as hot and cold water supply, County water and sewer connections, well connections, septic tank connections, drainage piping
  4. Installing lawn irrigation backflow prevention device

Demolition Permit  

demolition permitA demolition permit is required any time a structure is being razed and returned to original grade. It includes all demolition on houses, detached buildings, decks, etc.

This permit is not intended for the removal of interior walls (renovation work) or for situations when the existing structure is being razed so that a new structure can replace it - in this situation, a new building permit will include the demolition of the old structure.

For the Demolition Permit, the homeowner/contractor shall:

  1. Complete a Building Permit Application
  2. Provide a plat showing the location of the building on the property
  3. Complete the Asbestos and Demolition Certification Form acknowledging that he/she has obtained a release from all utilities and given written notice to the adjoining neighbors

An inspection will be made to ensure that the demolition is complete, all demolition debris is removed, and the grade has been restored to the point where the land will drain.

Work that does NOT require a permit  

work toolsThe building code allows work to be done without obtaining a permit. While a permit is not required, the work must be in compliance with the code. The following information pertains to single family dwellings only; it does not pertain to apartments, condominiums or townhouses. (See the Commercial New Construction and Renovation section for information on these types of dwellings.) Some examples of work that does not require a permit include:

  1. Making ordinary repairs and improvements, including, but not limited to:
    1. Painting the inside or outside of the house or detached structures
    2. Repairing drywall, plaster, siding, etc.; re-roofing
    3. Installing new floor coverings, such as vinyl, carpet, or hardwood
    4. Installing or refurbishing cabinetry
    5. Repairing or replacing porch flooring or deck flooring. Note: A permit is required to repair or replace the joists or girders
    6. Repairing or replacing handrails on a porch
    7. Installing or replacing doors and windows, including storm windows, where no structural change is performed
    8. Installing or replacing gutters and downspouts
  2. Installing driveways or sidewalks
  3. Constructing or installing a storage shed, playhouse, etc., 256 square feet or less in area
  4. Adding a fence (which is not part of a swimming pool enclosure) and which is 6' or less in height - refer to subdivision covenants (if applicable)
  5. Building recreational equipment, such as swings, skateboard ramps, jungle gyms, etc.
  6. Adding insulation
  7. Installing any wiring or equipment which operates at less than 50 volts
  8. Installing a security alarm system
  9. Replacing an electrical water heater with a new electric water heater
  10. Replacing electrical fixtures, such as switches and receptacles
  11. Replacing a ceiling fan to a pre-wired switch, that has a ceiling fan rated and supported box
  12. Replacing plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, toilets, faucets, etc.
  13. Retaining walls that are for landscaping purposes only
  14. Replacing electrical cook top stoves, ranges, and dryers

If you should have questions about whether a permit is required please call the Building Inspection office at 804-748-1057.

Related Information

Featured Content

Automated Phone System
(804) 751-4444

Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code Facts
Virginia DHCD 

Download 2012 Virginia Code Books for Free 

Purchase Virginia 2012 Code Books
International Code Council 

Look up Contractor Licenses
DPOR - State of Virginia Contractor License Look-Up