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. Use the list below to help you determine if your project requires a building permit. If your project is not listed or you need help determining if a permit is required, please contact our office 804-717-6427. The following projects require a permit:

Building Permits

  • Construction of a new structure (building or non-building)
  • 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 Certificate of Occupancy 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.
  • Construction trailer permit
  • Demolition permit
  • Swimming pool permit
  • Retaining wall permit
  • Cell tower, flag pole, and other non-building structure permit

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

  • Sign permit
  • Elevators/conveyance equipment installation – Elevator/conveyance equipment permit
  • Amusement devices – Amusement device permit

For a complete listing of required permits and exceptions, view the Virginia Construction Code (Chapter 1).

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