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.

Building Permits

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.

Electrical Permits

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.

Gas Permits

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.

Mechanical Permit

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.

Chimney Relines
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

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.

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.