- What are the hours of operation for the Building Safety Office?
The Division of Building Safety office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
- What is a building permit?
The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC), established criterias for building permits. In addition to permits for new construction, permits are needed for renovation, demolition, plumbing, gas, mechanical, electrical, fire protection and asbestos removal. Section 108 of the VUSBC specifies when a application and building permits are required.
VUSBC Section 110.5 states, "A permit shall be considered authority to proceed with construction in accordance with this Code, the approved construction documents, the permit application and any approved amendments or modifications. The permit shall not be construed to otherwise authorize the omission or amendment of any provision of this Code.
- When is a building permit required?
Building permits are required for most construction activity. VUSBC Section 108 requires a permit to be issued by the building code official when:
- Above and in-ground swimming pools.
- 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 or sanitary provisions. Constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing, or demolishing a building or structure. Fences associated with swimming pools.
- Installing or altering any equipment which is regulated by this code.
- Removing any asbestos containing material. When erecting a tent greater than 900 square feet in size and intended to be used by fifty or more persons.
- When installing or extending any plumbing, electrical, or mechanical systems.
- When moving a lot line that increases the hazard to or decreases the level of safety of an existing structure in comparison to the building code under which the structure was built.
- Who reviews building plans?
All building plans are reviewed by the Division of Building Safety subsequent to Planning & Development Services and Stormwater reviewing and approving their respective requirements.
A building permit can be issued when all the reviews have been completed, approved and all applicable fees been paid. Many projects will also require reviews by Public Works Utilities Operations and the Department of Fire and Life Safety. The reviews ensure that the project can be built within the code requirements and will reduce field inspection delays.
The Department of Fire and Life Safety reviews plans with the Division of Building Safety for fire alarms, commercial kitchen range hoods and sprinkler systems. Although building plans are jointly reviewed, the Department of Fire and Life Safety does not issue building permits. All construction plans should be submitted to the Division of Building Safety who in turn will forward them to Fire and Life Safety for review. Fire and Life Safety can be at (757) 890-3600.
In many cases, the above reviews may not be required or may be completed in a shorter time frame. The larger the projects the greater the impact and more reviews and approvals are required. It is always best to plan ahead for any size projects.
Commercial projects require an approved site plan before building permits can be issued. Building plans can be submitted for review before site plan approval and it is recommended that they are submitted simultaneously.
The plan review also includes the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Before a permit is issued all local and Hampton Roads utility connection fees must be paid. Standard fees may be obtained and can be paid through either the Division of Utility Billing in our Finance Department or the Utilities Operations Division of Public Works.