How to Apply for a Non-Residential Certificate of Occupancy

Opening a new business within the Town of Dumfries requires a Certificate of Occupancy prior to getting a new business license.  A Certificate of Occupancy is required to ensure the business use is permitted and the building is safe to occupy. For more information please visit the Town of Dumfries business license page

What are the steps to obtain a certificate of occupancy? 

If you are taking over an existing business, ask the previous owner for the current Certificate. If one does not exist, you can inquire if there is one on file with the Town. If one does not exist or you are opening a new business and/or changing the use of the business (e.g.: office to daycare), you must follow the instructions below. 

Steps to Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy:
  1. Complete a Commercial Certificate of Occupancy permit application found on the Document Center under Building & Trade Permits and pay the fee. Applications and fees (checks only) can be dropped off at the Town Hall black drop box located on the exterior wall next to the main doors or on the second floor in the "drop off plan" box.
    1. Fill out the application ENTIRELY, including a clearly written valid email address and phone number. 
    2. A floor plan of the interior of the building or space you intend to occupy must be included with the application.
    3. You must include the dimensions of each space on the floor plan 
    4. The floor plan must show all shelving, storage, equipment, tables, chairs, exit signs, fire extinguishers, etc. To see a full list of what is required on the plan please download this list of Certificate of Occupancy requirements
    5. The plan must also show the numbered of required parking spaces. 
  2. Once the application, plan & fee have been received, it will be processed and review by the Zoning and Building  & Inspections plan review department separately. 
    1. If changes needed, you will be notified separately via email. Your application will be rejected if  any information is missing.
  3. Two separate inspections are required:
    1. Zoning Inspection:
      • If no changes are needed on your plan, you will be notified you are ready for an inspection of the property by Zoning. 
      • Call to schedule a Zoning inspection at 703-221-3400 ( press 3 at the prompt.)
      • Once you pass inspection, you will be notified of your zoning approval. 
    2. Building Inspection:
      • Your plan must contain the proper square footages for the space to calculate the occupancy load. 
      • An Occupancy load will be calculated for the space and emailed to you to post next to the main exit of the business prior to your inspection.
      • If no changes are needed on your plan, you will be notified you are ready for an inspection of the property by the Building & Inspections Department.
      • Your space may require improvements to meet basic code requirements if so a building permit may be required.
      • Call for a building inspection at 703-221-3400 (press 112 at anytime.)
Once you pass your inspections, you will be notified when and where to pick up your new Certificate of Occupancy. The business license office will also be notified. You must contact the Business license office to complete the business license application process at 703-221-3400 (1 at the prompt.) 

For questions on the application process, zoning plan review or inspections please call 703-221-3400 (press 3 at the prompt).
For questions about the building plan review process or inspection please call 703-221-3400 (press 4 at the prompt)