Residential Permits and Inspections Processes
Permits and Inspections for Residential Projects
The type of permit application you submit and inspections you need depends on the scope of your project. Whenever you construct, reconstruct, enlarge, alter or demolish a structure, a permit is required before starting the work. If you are doing any emergency repairs or equipment replacement, please obtain a permit the next working day following the emergency. Be aware that the specific circumstances of a project may require that other inspections be performed. If you have further questions, call the office at 804-748-1057 or ask your inspector.
View information regarding when building permits are required, when inspections are required and when to schedule an inspection.
Projects that Require a Building Permit
Building permits are requited for the following projects:
- Building a new house.
- Building an addition onto an existing house or attached garage.
- Converting an existing deck or porch to Florida room (sunroom).
- Building, replacing, adding to and making structural repairs to a deck whether it is attached to the main structure or not.
- Building an attached or detached garage or carport.
- Converting a garage to a habitable space.
- Building a porch, deck, associated steps or ramp.
- Building or installing a tool shed 257 square feet or larger in area.
- Finishing off an unfinished attic, basement or room over a garage.
- Moving, adding or removing a wall or partition.
- Repairing, altering, enlarging or modifying any structural element of the house, including:
- Any damaged structural element, such as load bearing stud walls, columns, piers, footings, foundations, floor joists, rafters, beams or girders.
- Enlarging or adding a door opening or window opening.
- Changing the use of the structure (example: change from residential use to a business use requires a commercial permit).
- 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.
- Building, replacing or repairing (structurally) a retaining wall that is greater than 36 inches in height or that supports load from a structure.
- A demolition permit any time a structure is being razed and returned to original grade, including houses and detached garages.
Building Permit Required Inspections
|Project Type||"X" = Required Inspection|
Drainage & Waterproofing 2
Poured Wall 4
Floor Slab 4
Monolithic Slab 4
Fireplace Throat 4
|3-season room (not heated)||X||X||X||X||X|
|4-season room (heated)||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Additional living space||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Adding a porch||X||X||X||X||X|
|Garage with living space||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Porch (roof only)||X||X||X|
1 See our third party inspection policy for when a footing inspection is required to be designed by an engineer
2 Waterproofing and drainage is required when the interior grade of the structure is at a lower than the exterior grade.
3 A foundation inspection is not required if the supporting structural members are proper posts or piers.
4 A floor slab, monolithic slab or fireplace masonry inspection is not required if the project does not include a floor slab, monolithic slab or masonry fireplace.
When to Schedule a Building Permit Inspection
- Drainage and Waterproofing - Prior to backfilling the foundation
- Final Building - After all sub-trade final inspections and other required departmental inspections are approved
- Fireplace Throat - After the smoke chamber is constructed and prior to completion of the chimney above the smoke chamber
- Floor Slab - After the vapor barrier and perimeter insulation (if required) are installed, and prior to the placement of concrete. If there are any pipes wires or vents that are being installed below the slab those sub-trade inspections are to be approved and backfilled prior to the slab inspection.
- Footing - After the trench is dug and reinforcement is installed, and prior to placement of the footing material
- Foundation - After backfilling the crawl space and prior to placement of foundation sill plates
- Framing - After all structural members are installed and all sub-trade rough-ins are approved, and prior to concealment by insulation or drywall
- Insulation - After the framing inspection is approved and prior to concealment
- Monolithic Pour - After the trench is dug and reinforcement, vapor barrier and perimeter insulation (if required) are installed, and prior to placement of concrete
- Poured Wall - After the reinforcement is installed and prior to placing concrete in the forms
- Projection - At any point after the first course of block is laid and before the foundation is backfilled
- Veneer - After the exterior sheathing, flashing, windows and doors are installed, and prior to the installation of exterior wall coverings
View information regarding when electrical permits are required, when inspections are required and when to schedule an inspection.
Projects that Require an Electrical Permit
Electrical permits are requited for the following projects:
- Providing new electrical service or wiring.
- Upgrading electrical service.
- Adding a permanent generator back-up to an existing electrical panel, service equipment and similar devices.
- Installing or replacing any electrical wiring, panel board, service equipment or disconnecting means.
- Any wiring that penetrates a fire-rated assembly and/or is installed in a plenum.
Electrical Permit Required Inspections
|Project Type||"X" = Required Inspection|
Electrical Slab 1
Release Service Change 4
Release Service New
Pool Potting 3
Pool Bonding 3
Pool Underground 3
|Adding lights, switches or receptacles||X||X|
|Installing or adding yard lights||X||X||X|
|Installing a generator||X||X||X|
|Installing a whirlpool or spa||X||X|
|Installing an above-ground pool||X||X||X||X|
|Installing an in-ground pool||X||X||X||X||X|
|Upgrading service or replacing a panel||X||X|
|Installing wiring for an addition||X||X|
|Installing wiring for a new house||X||X||X|
|Installing wiring for a shed or carport||X||X||X|
|Installing a new heat pump||X||X|
|Installing wiring for a solar panel||X||X|
|Installing wiring for a windmill||X||X|
|Adding for appliances or equipment||X||X|
|Wiring for a storable pool||X|
|New service for a detached structure||X||X||X|
1 An electrical slab inspection is required when any wiring is installed below a concrete slab.
2 A trench inspection is required when wiring is installed below the surface of the ground.
3 Pool potting, bonding and underground inspections are very important to prevent electrical shock.
4 A change of service will not be needed if the service equipment is not modified.
When to Schedule an Electrical Permit Inspection
- Electrical Slab - After the conduit is placed and before the excavated area is backfilled
- Final Electrical - After all the fixtures and permanent equipment are installed and operational
- Release of Service - After the service equipment is installed and wired to the point that the neutrals are properly placed
- Rough-in Electrical - After all wiring and cable assemblies are installed and prior to the installation of building insulation and wallboard
- Trench - After the in-ground wiring is installed and prior to backfilling
View information regarding when gas permits are required, when inspections are required and when to schedule an inspection.
Projects that Require a Gas Permit
Gas permits are requited for the following projects:
- 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.
- Installation of new propane tanks or replacing a propane tank of a different capacity or location.
Gas Permit Required Inspections
|Project Type||"X" = Required Inspection|
Propane Tank 1
Product Line 1
|Adding appliances and equipment for an addition||X||X|
|Installing new appliances and equipment for a new house||X||X|
|Replacing gas-fired equipment (water heater, furnace, boiler, etc.)||X|
|Supplying gas for a generator or pool heater||X||X|
|Installing gas logs||X||X|
|Installing a propane tank where one did not exist||X||X|
|Installing a larger tank than what was originally there||X|
|Replacing or altering gas piping||X||X|
1 Tank and product line inspections are required when a new (temporary or permanent) is installed.
2 A groundwork inspection is required for any gas piping installed below grade including under a concrete slab.
When to Schedule a Gas Permit Inspection
- Final Gas - After all appliances have been installed and are operational
- Gas Rough-in - After all piping that is to be concealed is installed and tested, and before the building insulation and wall board are installed
- Propane Tank & Product Line - After the tank and piping to the building (product line) are installed
View information regarding when mechanical permits are required, when inspections are required and when to schedule an inspection.
Projects that Require a Mechanical Permit
Mechanical permits are requited for the following projects:
- Installing new mechanical equipment (e.g. new air conditioner, heat pump, furnace, etc.). An exception to this is when replacing a like-for-like electric heat pump; in this scenario, permits are not required.
- Replacing any furnace, hydronic piping (hot water piping) or its associated duct work.
- Installing or replacing any flue or new vent associated with mechanical equipment.
- Replacing an existing furnace with one that utilizes a different fuel.
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.
Mechanical Permit Required Inspections
|Project Type||"X" = Required Inspection|
Rough In Mechanical
Above Ground Tank Install*
Underground Tank Install*
|Adding 3 or more ducts to any forced air system||X||X|
|Installing a system for an addition||X||X|
|Installing one or more systems for a new house||X||X|
|Replacing a system with a larger system||X|
|Installing a system where one did not exist||X||X|
|Installing an oil tank||X||X|
|Installing a wood stove||X|
|Replacing a fuel-fired furnace or boiler||X|
* The tank inspections are for fuel oil and kerosene tanks. Propane is in the gas inspections section.
When to Schedule a Mechanical Permit Inspection
- Final Mechanical - After all equipment is installed and operational
- Mechanical Rough-in - After all the duct work and associated piping are installed and before the building insulation and wall board are installed
View information regarding when plumbing permits are required, when inspections are required and when to schedule an inspection.
Projects that Require a Plumbing Permit
Plumbing permits are requited for the following projects:
- Installing any new piping or fixtures.
- Replacing any plumbing pipe, such as hot and cold water supply, county water and sewer connections, well connections, septic tank connections and drainage piping.
- Installing lawn irrigation backflow prevention device.
Plumbing Permit Required Inspections
|Project Type||"X" = Required Inspection|
Plumbing Rough-in 2
Water Line 3
Sewer (Septic) Line 3
|Installing a backflow prevention device (lawn irrigation and boiler)||X|
|Installing new piping and fixtures to an addition||X||X|
|Replacing a water service pipe||X|
|Replacing a building sewer||X|
|Installing or relocating fixtures||X||X|
|Adding a yard hydrant||X||X|
|Adding a sewage ejector pump||X||X|
|Plumbing a new building||X||X||X||X|
1 Any plumbing that will be installed below a concrete slab will require a groundwork inspection.
2 A plumbing rough-in is required when piping is to be concealed within any building walls or ceilings.
3 Water and sewer line inspections are required for new piping to a building.
When to Schedule a Plumbing Permit Inspection
- Backflow Preventer - After the excavation is complete and the piping and device are installed, and prior to backfilling or concealment
- Final Plumbing - After all fixtures and equipment are installed and operational
- Plumbing Groundwork - After the piping is installed and tested, and before the piping is backfilled or concealed
- Plumbing Rough-in - After all the piping that is to be concealed is installed and tested, and before the insulation and wall board are installed
- Water & Sewer (Septic) - After an approved rough-in inspection is obtained and the water and sewer pipes are installed, and before backfilling
Residential Projects that Do Not Require a Permit
The 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 or condominiums, which are commercial projects.
No Permit Required Examples
Some examples of residential project work that does not require a permit are ordinary repairs and improvements, including, but not limited to:
- Painting the inside or outside of the house or detached structures
- Repairing drywall, plaster, siding, re-roofing/shingles, etc.
- Installing new floor coverings, such as vinyl, carpet or hardwood
- Installing or refurbishing cabinetry
- Repairing or replacing porch flooring or deck flooring; a permit is required to repair or replace the structural elements or include posts and guard systems
- Repairing or replacing handrails on a porch or deck
- Installing or replacing doors and windows, including storm windows, where no structural change is performed
- Installing or replacing gutters and downspouts
- Installing driveways or sidewalks
- Constructing or installing a storage shed, playhouse, etc., 256 square feet or less in area
- Adding a fence (which is not part of a swimming pool enclosure) - refer to subdivision covenants, if applicable
- Building recreational equipment, such as swings, skateboard ramps, jungle gyms, etc.
- Adding insulation
- Installing any wiring or equipment which operates at less than 50 volts
- Installing a security alarm system
- Replacing an electrical water heater with a new electric water heater
- Replacing electrical fixtures, such as switches and receptacles
- Replacing a ceiling fan to a pre-wired switch, that has a ceiling fan rated and supported box
- Replacing plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, toilets, faucets, etc.
- Retaining walls that retain less than 36 inches of fill/earth or walks less than 3 feet tall for landscaping purposes only
- Replacing electrical cook top stoves, ranges and dryers
Residential Inspections Processes
Residential Inspections General Requirements
Before scheduling any inspections, please be aware of the following requirements:
- The permit must be prominently displayed.
- For all building/structural inspections, the approved plans must be on site for the inspector’s use.
- A not-ready fee may be charged if the work to be inspected is not complete when the inspector arrives.
- A re-inspection fee may be charged for third and subsequent inspections of the same type.
Inspection Process Steps
- After the permit has been issued, the homeowner/contractor may begin the work.
- If changes occur during the course of construction, an amendment or revision may be required.
- At various points along the way, the homeowner/contractor schedules an inspection to verify that the work has been done in compliance with the approved construction documents and the code.
- Inspections can be scheduled up to five business days in advance.
- The inspector will review the work and either approves the inspection or notes defects for the homeowner/contractor to fix.
- The homeowner/contractor can view the results and/or comments of the inspections.
- The homeowner/contractor makes the noted corrections and schedules a re-inspection.
- Once the inspection is approved, the construction can advance to the next phase.
Based on your residential construction project, view what inspections are required and the order in which to schedule them. To schedule an inspection, cancel an inspections or check inspection results:
- Call the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System (PDF) at 804-751-4444.
- Schedule online through the Enterprise Land Management (ELM) citizen access portal.
For all scheduling methods, a permit number will be required.
Certificate of Occupancy and Letter of Completion
Certificate of Occupancy
For new houses, a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) will be issued.
Letter of Completion
For work on houses that already have a Certificate of Occupancy, a Letter of Completion can be issued upon request.