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Building Permit

Permit Required Projects
The 2009 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC) identifies when an application for permit is required according to section 108.1. The list below is not all inclusive, but examples of typical projects where permits are required. If you are unsure if your project requires a building permit please contact the Department of Public Works, Building Division, for clarification at (540) 658-8950.

VUSBC 108.1 When applications are required. Application for a permit shall be made to the building official and a permit shall be obtained prior to the commencement of any of the following activities, except that applications for emergency construction, alterations or equipment replacement shall be submitted by the end of the first working day that follows the day such work commences. In addition, the building official may authorize work to commence pending the receipt of an application or the issuance of a permit.

  • Building a new house 
  • Building a new commercial building
  • Amusement devices (Moon bounces, Ferris wheels, etc…)
  • Adding or removing bulkheads
  • Adding or removing piers
  • Adding or removing docks
  • Building a porch, screened porch, deck, associated steps, ramp or handicap ramp
  • Guardrail reconstruction or repalcement
  • Adding or removing stoops or small landings to existing or new doors
  • Increasing the size openings of windows or doors
  • Building an addition onto an existing house, attached garage, commercial building 
  • Building an attached or detached garage or carport
  • Changing the use of the structure (Example: Residential use to business use, changing from an “A”-3 to an “A”-4, etc…)
  • Converting an existing deck or screened porch into a sunroom
  • Converting a garage to a habitable space
  • Converting a carport to a garage
  • Finishing off an unfinished attic, basement, or room over the garage
  • Re-roof  of a commercial building
  • Installing a pool, hot tub, or spa greater than 150 square feet, 5,000 gallons, or 24 inches deep
  • Moving or removing a load bearing wall or partition
  • Building a new or removing an existing retaining wall, which supports two or more feet of unbalanced fill
  • 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
  • Installation of new gas equipment or appliances in commercial or residential buildings
  • Replacement of fuel-fired equipment or appliances in commercial or residential buildings  
  • For change of occupancy, application for a permit shall be made when a new certificate of occupancy is required under VUSBC Section 103.3.
  • Movement of a lot line that increases the hazard to or decreases the level of safety of an existing building or structure in comparison to the building code under which such building or structure was constructed.
  • Removal or disturbing of any asbestos containing materials during the construction or demolition of a building or structure, including additions.
  • Demolition of a building
  • Low voltage (50 volts or less) wiring and equipment when any such installations are located in a plenum, penetrate fire rated or smoke protected construction or are a component of any of the following:
    • Fire alarm system.
    • Fire detection system.
    • Fire suppression system.
    • Smoke control system.
    • Fire protection supervisory system.
    • Elevator fire safety control system.
    • Access or egress control system or delayed egress locking or latching system.
    • Fire damper.
    • Door control system
  • One story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses or similar uses, provided the floor area exceeds 200 square feet (18 m2) and any structures of this type located and/or classified as a Group F-1 or H occupancy no matter the size. If less than 200 square feet, a zoning permit is required.
  • Detached prefabricated buildings housing the equipment of a publicly regulated utility service provided the floor exceeds 150 square feet (14 m2).

No Permit Required
The building code allows some work to be done without obtaining a permit. While a permit is not required, the work must be in compliance with the code.