How to Obtain a Building Permit

When do you have to get a building permit?

1. When you are constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing or demolishing a building or structure.

2. When changing the use of a building either within the same use group or to a different use group when the new use requires greater degrees of structural strength, fire protection, exit facilities, ventilation or sanitary provisions.

3. When installing or altering any equipment which is regulated by the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.

4. When removing or disturbing any asbestos containing materials during demolition, alteration, renovation of or additions to buildings or structures.

5. When you move a lot line which effects an existing structure’s continued compliance with the building regulations under which it was built.

Why do you need a permit?

It is required by the Code of Virginia to provide minimum standards for the protection of life, limb, health, property, environment and for the safety and welfare of the consumer, general public and the owners and occupants of residential and commercial buildings.

Who can get a permit?

A homeowner may obtain a permit, but if you are hiring a contractor he should get the permit as whoever signs for the permit is responsible for the work.

Can you get the permit for the contractor?

This is not recommended. If a contractor asks a homeowner to get a permit, there may be a chance that the contractor is not properly licensed.

Do you need other approvals?

New buildings or additions that will increase the number of bedrooms to a structure require approval from the local health department. The Health Department’s phone number is 757-824-6211, ext. 271.

When an applicant wishes to alter, modify, construct or change the use of a commercial building and/or property. A commercial entrance is required. You must contact Mr. Mike Cosby, Public Works Director at 757-336-3366 for the required permits.

A flood elevation certificate is required on new residential and commercial structures.

If an addition is to be constructed onto an existing building and the new construction cost exceeds 50% of the assessed value of that structure, a flood elevation certificate is required and the entire structure would be required to be elevated to meet FEMA regulations.

If your new structure will be placed on piles, a pile plan must be submitted by a licensed Virginia Architect or Engineer for review.

You must obtain approval from the Corps of Engineers, Virginia Marine Resource Commission and the Accomack County Wetlands Board for structures to be built on or near wetlands. The above approval is also required for docks, bulkheads and piers.

Phone numbers for the above agencies are: Virginia Marine Resource Commission- 757-414-0710, Accomack County Wetlands Board- 757-824-5223 & the Corps of Engineers- 757-787-3133

After you get approvals, what do you do?

Bring the necessary approvals to the building department office. Present your site plans & building permit application. They will direct you to the person in the building department who will issue the permit after a review of the building plans.

What inspections are required for building permits?

1. Inspection of footing excavations and reinforcement material for concrete footings prior to placement of concrete.

2. Inspection of foundation systems during phases of construction necessary to ensure compliance with the VUSBC.

3. Inspection of preparatory work prior to placement of concrete.

4. Piling foundations; must call to have inspector observe the first pile being driven to determined the length of pile required. The inspector will observe several piles during installation.

5. Inspection of structural members and fasteners prior to concealment. This includes sheathing for roof and walls. Also a flashing inspection must be conducted.

6. Inspection of electrical, mechanical, and plumbing materials, equipment and systems prior to concealment.

Note: The Town obtains the services of an independent electrical inspector, to obtain a electrical permit or to arrange for an inspection please call 757-665-6260 , Clinton Bundick.

7. Inspection of energy conservation material prior to concealment.

8. Final inspection.

9. Additional inspections as determined by the Building Official.

Note: The permit holder requesting an inspection shall provide the code official with any ladder, scaffolding or test equipment necessary to conduct or witness the requested inspection. All request for inspections must be called in a minimum of 24 hours in advance. Failure to request the required inspection shall result in the removal of any covering for inspection.

What is required to obtain the required inspection?

1. You must call the Town Office at 757-336-6519 a minimum of 24 hours in advance.

2. You must identify the name in which the building permit is issued.

3. You must identify the proper address or parcel number of the lot the requested inspection is to be conducted.

4. The building department has only one employee that reviews and conducts all zoning matters and inspections, therefore plan your inspections ahead in case of illness or vacation.

What can I do without a building permit?

1. Installation of wiring and equipment which operates less than 50 volts, except when the installation is located in a noncombustible plenum or penetrates a fire-resistance rated assembly.

2. Tents and air-supported structures that cover an area of 900 square feet or less, including all connecting areas or spaces with a common means of egress or entrance and with an occupant load of 50 or less.

3. Ordinary repairs which include but are not limited to: replacement of mechanical or plumbing equipment and appliances, except those fueled by gas or oil, within a dwelling unit . Replacement of floor coverings and porch flooring in residential dwellings.

4. Painting any portion of a structure, repair of plaster, interior tile and other wall coverings.

5. Replacement of windows and doors and electrical switches, outlets, light fixtures or ceiling fans, within a dwelling unit.

Note: Ordinary repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or loadbearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, oil, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.