Permit Requirements

Find out whether a permit is required, what type of permit is needed, and what requirements are necessary for a building permit.

Page updated on Jan 25, 2022 at 2:28 PM

When Do I Need a Permit?

SF Development 

Permits are required for most construction and maintenance work of buildings and structures, including:

  • New buildings and structures
  • Alterations, demolitions, renovations, additions and change of occupancy in existing buildings and structures
  • Maintenance of existing buildings and structures 

What Type of Permit Do I Need?

   Online Permit Center 

There are two general permit categories, Residential  and Commercial:

  • Residential- Detached single, two-family, and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses only) not more than three stories above the grade plane in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures, including but not limited to: 

    Townhomes, Rowhouses, Townhouses
    Private Garages and Fixed Carports
    Accessory Structures (Sheds, Garages, Playhouses, etc.) greater then 200 ft2
    Private Pools
    Decks, Porches, Stoops
    Fences (greater than 6ft in height)
    Retaining Walls (holding 2ft or greater of soil)
  • Commercial - any residential or commercial occupancy not defined as a "residential occupancy" as stated above, including but not limited to: 

    Restaurants, Cafes, Night-clubs, Taverns, Bars
    Retail - Markets, Stores
    Professional Offices - Doctor, Dental, Attorney, Banks, Dry-cleaning/laundry pick-up/drop-off
    Schools (kindergarten - 12th grade)
    Daycare, Childcare
    Multi-family Dwelling Units, 3 or more dwelling units (Apartments, Condominiums)
    Hotels, Motels
    Public Pools
    High-hazardous Material Storage/Fabrication
    Hospitals, Assisted Living, Congregate/Convalescent Facilities 

Required Documentation to Submit for Plan Review

         Other Permits       


Commercial Projects

       Commercial Project Data Form 

      Checklist- Commercial and Multi- Family Building Plan Submission 

      Checklist- Existing Commercial Tenant Improvements

       Checklist- Demolition Permit 

      Checklist- Fire Protection Systems (FPS) 

      Checklist- Generators 

      Checklist- Industrialized Buildings 

      Checklist- Restaurant Smoking Inspections 

      Checklist- Solar Panel Installation


Residential Projects 

         Memo to Industry 2020-01

         Checklist- Kitchen Renovations 

         Checklist- Deck Construction 

         Checklist- Demolition Permit 

         Checklist- Finishing a Basement 

         Checklist- Generators 

         Checklist- One & Two Family New & Additions

         Checklist- Residential One and Two Family Trade Permits 

         Checklist- Retaining Walls 

         Sign Permit Checklist

        Checklist- Solar Panel Installation

        Soil Evaluation 1&2 Family Dwelling Construction 

Points to Remember When Submitting Plans and Documents for Review:

Plan Approve Stamps 

Provide Contractor's information (as applicable - state license number, City of Alexandria business license number and contact information).  If no contractor will be conducting the work, then a  Property Owner's Affidavit must be submitted.

Provide five copies of construction documents (plans and reports), including all proposed trade work. Six copies should be submitted if the project requires Health Department review and approval.

Maximum Plan Size is 24"x36" (unless waived by the Director) and minimum dimensions for plans are 1/8" = 1'-0" for plan view sheets and ¼" = 1'-0" for section details

Plans must be signed and sealed by a registered design professional (RDP) licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia (1 original plan set) if they are responsible for the construction documents (regardless of whether Virginia law requires the plans to be prepared by an RDP)  or if it is required by the  Code of Virginia Section 54.1-400 administered by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation 

Plans not prepared by an RDP, and not required to be by the Code of Virginia, shall contain:  

  • The Site Plan or Grading Plan must accompany each Building Permit set upon building permit plan submittal when required.
  • The name of the person who prepared the plans
  • Occupation
  • Contact information 
  • 35% Deposit is required for plan review – based on estimated permit fee (Refer to  Department of Code Administration Fee Schedule ). The deposit is non-refundable and is deducted from the total permit fee when the permit is issued.
  • Additional building and trade plan submission requirements 

Certificates of Occupancy

Transportation & Support Services Permits

Planning & Zoning Permits