Process for Submittal of Building Permit Application

To provide plans for your proposed construction project, you will need to complete a building permit application and pay for the plan review and/or submittal fees.  Click here for building permit applications   or they may be picked up from the Town Hall.

The application requires such information as the project’s street address; description of the work to be performed; an estimate of the value of the construction which includes labor and materials; name, address and phone number of the property owner; name, address and phone number, license numbers of the architect/engineer; name, address and phone number of a  contact person.  Additionally; on the second page contractor(s) license information must be provided.

Incomplete, damaged, illegible, or faded plans will not be accepted.  Additionally, if your project is located in our historical district or a flood zone, those plans must be approved by the Planning and Zoning Department prior to starting the building permit process.

Dumfries Staff Review Process

There is a process we follow for all types of permitting.  When preparing to submit your plans you should be aware these steps will occur.

  1. Zoning will check the site plan to verify the zoning is correct for the project and the project meets the guidelines of the Dumfries Zoning Ordinance.
  2. Public Works will examine your plans to verify the project does not have any environmental impacts and check for any possible land disturbance as a result of the project.
  3. Plan Review for the Town of Dumfries is performed by a staff but if the project is of sufficient size to require professional review.  You may take your plans directly to a third party Peer Reviewer for approval.  For an accepted list of Certified Peer Reviewers see: Your project might require reviews by multiple trades.
  4. After the above steps are performed and the project approved, the Building Permit Application can be submitted.
  5. It is your responsibility to check with Miss Utility to verify utilities are aware of your project and you are aware of utility locations.  Miss Utility can be contacted by dialing 811.  Location of utilities is required by law.  Don’t dig blind!

The above departments and agencies make reviews in accordance with codes, ordinances, regulations and standards applicable to its specific area of responsibility.

Minimum Requirements for Building Plans and Drawings

Plans should be professional in appearance and on blue/black lined or photocopied on substantial paper a minimum of 11” X 17”.  The minimum scale used on most architectural plans is 1/8” = 1’-0”.  Civil and site plans can be a smaller scale, such as 1” = 30’.  All architectural and engineering plans shall be sealed and signed by a certified professional architect or engineer responsible for the design and licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, except where exempted by the Uniform Statewide Building Code 2009, edition.  (For small projects the Building Official may exempt part or this entire requirement). Check with the Building Official.

Building Permit Requirements and Exceptions

There are a few construction projects which can be completed without a permit.  Items where permits are required and those that are exempt are listed below.

Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code Section 108, Application for Permit

108.1 When Applications are required. Except as specified in Section 108.2, no building, structure or building service equipment regulated by this code and the adopted amendments shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted, or demolished unless a separate, appropriate permit for each building, structure or building service equipment has first been obtained.

108.2 Exemptions from Application for Permit. Notwithstanding the requirements of Section 108.1, application for a permit and any related inspections shall not be required for the below listed items.  Exemption from the permit requirements of this code (USBC) shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in violation of provisions of the USBC or any other law and ordinances of the Town of Dumfries as follows.

  1. Installation of low voltage wiring and equipment (i) which operates at less than 50 volts, (ii) network powered broadband communications systems, or (iii) is exempt under Section 102.3(1), except installations are located in a plenum, penetrate a fire rated or smoke protected construction or a component of the following:

a)      Fire alarm system.

b)      Fire detection system.

c)      Fire suppression system.

d)     Smoke control system.

e)      Fire protection supervisory system.

f)       Elevator fire safety control system.

g)      Access or egress control system or delayed egress locking or latching systems.

h)      Fire dampers.

i)        Door control systems.

  1. Detached accessory structures (only one per property) used as tool sheds, playhouses or similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet.
  2. Tents or air-supported structures (e.g. bounce house), or both which cover an area of 400 square feet or less, including within that area all connecting areas or spaces with common means of entrance and egress.  Such tents or structures shall have an occupant load of 50 or less.
  3. Fences not part of a building, structure or of the barrier for a swimming pool, provided such fences do not exceed (6) six feet in height above finished grade.  Posts are not considered part of the height and may extend a few inches above the six foot height.
  4. Retaining walls supporting (2) two feet of unbalanced fill.  This exemption shall not apply to any wall impounding liquids or surcharge other than ordinary unbalanced fill.
  5. Swimming pools that have a surface area not greater than 150 square feet, not to exceed 5,000 gallons, and are less than 24 inches in depth.
  6. Replacement of above-ground existing LP-gas containers of the same capacity in the same location and associated regulators when installed by the serving gas supplier.
  7. Replacement windows which are not required to be fire rated where serving a one and two family dwelling.
  8. Replacement of general use light switches, dimmers, and control switches, 125 volt, 15 ampere receptacles, luminaries (light fixtures), and ceiling fans in a single dwelling unit.

10.  Replacement of mechanical appliances provided such equipment is not fueled by gas or oil where serving a single family dwelling.

11.  Replacement of an unlimited amount of roof covering (e.g. shingles) or siding provided there are no wind shear zones involved.

12.  Replacement of 100 square feet of roof sheathing unless the deck to be replaced is part of the structures fire rating systems.

13.  Installation of replacement floor finishes all occupancies.

14.  Replacement of interior wall or ceiling finishes.

15.  Application of wallpaper.

16.  Other repair work deemed by the building official to be minor and ordinary which does not adversely affect public health or safety.

Exception: Application for a permit may be required by Ordinance for the installation of replacement siding, roofing, and windows in buildings within a historic district designated by locality pursuant to Section 15.2-2306 of the Code of Virginia.  Please refer to Part II – Code of Ordinances, Chapter 70 – Zoning, Article III – Districts, Division 10 – Historic Overlay District H1, within the Dumfries, Virginia, Code of Ordinances.

For questions regarding the Building Permit process please contact the Public Works Department at (703) 221-3400.