When a Permit is Required

There are several types of permits that may be necessary for a commercial project depending on the scope of work being done. The following projects require a permit. The list of work described here is not all inclusive.

Building Permits

  • Construction of a new structure
  • Demolition of a structure, including the removal of any wall, partition, or structural component
  • Reconstruction, alteration, or replacement including:
    • The addition of any wall, partition, or structural component
    • Reconstruction of decks, balconies, porches and similar structures
    • Any required fire or smoke-resistance rated assembly
    • Modification to means of egress
  • Removal or disturbance of asbestos containing materials
  • Replacement of roofing and siding
  • Change of occupancy* requiring a new Certificate of Occupancy (CO) prior to the use of the structure
    • A CO is required when the USBC requires a greater degree of structural strength, fire protection, means of egress, ventilation or sanitation.
    • Typical examples: new restaurant (A-2) locating in an existing mercantile shopping center (M); business (B) operating from an existing residence (R).

      *Change of occupancy was formerly referred to as "change of use".
  • Tents or air-supported structures greater than 900 square feet or with more than 50 occupants
  • Modifications to the Exterior Accessible Route: Modifications to an exterior accessible route i.e.: accessible parking and sidewalks leading to an accessible building/site
  • Converting a single family dwelling into a business office - A permit is required even if no alterations are proposed.

Trade Permits

  • Installations or alterations involving:
    • The water supply and distribution system, sanitary drainage or vent system
    • Electric wiring greater than 50 volts, or less than 50 volts where wiring penetrates a fire rated or smoke protected assembly, is located in a plenum or is associated with an elevator fire safety control system, egress control system or fire protective system
    • The fire protection system, mechanical systems or fuel supply systems
    • Equipment regulated by the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code
  • Replacement of above-ground existing LP-gas containers when any of the following occur:
    • Tank capacity changes
    • Tank location changes
    • Tank regulator changes

Other Permits

  • Elevators/conveyance equipment installation - Elevator/conveyance equipment permit
  • Temporary and permanent signs - Sign permit
  • Amusement devices - Amusement Device permit

For a complete listing of required permits and exceptions, view the Virginia Construction Code (PDF).

You can also call the Building Inspection office at 804-748-1057.