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Residential projects: building permits are required to remove drywall, construct new partition walls or bearing walls, relocate walls, install new framing, change the roof pitch, construct decks, build room additions, screen porches, cover porches, build any accessory structure over 256 square feet, install pre-manufactured carports, install above ground swimming pools deeper than 2 feet, install hot tubs/spas, and construct masonry walls with a footing.
Commercial projects: building permits are required to remove drywall, construct new partition walls or bearing walls, relocate walls, install new framing, re-roof, side or cover exterior walls, complete tenant build-outs, complete change in use, obtain a change in occupancy, build additions, construct commercial accessory structures, install fences taller than 6 feet in height, install fire suppression equipment, install 5 foot run-ins, elevators, install paint booths, construct service station islands and canopies, and install pre-manufactured steel buildings.
For further clarification, please call the Development Services Center at 757-664-6565.
Certain documentation is required to apply for a building permit. Please refer to our Applications and Forms page for Building Permit Form that provides plan submittal instructions and a list of required documentation.
If a contractor is performing work on your property, it is highly recommended that they obtain the permit and be listed as the responsible party. A property owner may choose to perform the work and obtain a permit themselves; but will also need to submit an affidavit accepting responsibility for all work performed under the permit.
Class A, B, or C contractors licensed in the state of Virginia may only obtain permits within their respective trade. Persons holding a master’s license in the state of Virginia may only obtain permits for projects within their trade not to exceed $1,000 in scope.
Residential plan review takes approximately 10 business days to complete for any new construction. Plan review for additions and renovations can be reviewed at the counter immediately (except when further approvals are needed from other offices such as Environmental Services and/or Zoning).
Plans may be emailed to the Development Services Center. Attachments over 50 MB can be uploaded to the City's FTP site or mailed to the Development Services Center. Insufficient plans or incomplete applications will not be assigned check-in tracking numbers. Please refer to the Plan Submittal Checklist. Resubmittals shall include the entire resubmittal bundle including all of the requested items, address, and permit tracking number, or the plans will not be resubmitted for review.
Please note that if the shed is greater than 256 square feet or if the fence is taller than 6 feet, a building permit is required.
In addition, all fences located within a historic district are required to receive a Certificate of Appropriateness by going through the Architectural Review process.
Please contact Zoning at 757-664-6588 to verify setbacks for a specific property and structure.
The location of the fence depends on several factors including the zoning district that you reside and the exact delineation of your property line. In general: •A fence located in the front yard that is considered 50% open (i.e. chain link, wrought iron, picket, etc.) may be up to 4 feet tall. •In the side yards, you may place up to a 6 foot solid fence, unless your property is on a corner lot. If you are on a corner, the fence adjacent to the road may be up to 6 feet, but it must be 50% open (i.e. chain link, wrought iron, picket, etc.) Graphics to illustrate these requirements can be found here. For further clarification, please contact Zoning at 757-664-6588.
A completed application for the specific trade is required. An application can be completed electronically via an online portal at norfolkvapermits.force.com
A Mechanical Permit is required for a gas line.
Inspections can be requested using the online portal with a computer or smart device at Inspections . Additionally, a computer kiosk, located in the City Hall lobby, is available for the purpose of scheduling inspections.
Inspection results are emailed to up to three registered email addresses, designated by the permit applicant.
The price of a permit varies greatly and is dependent on the nature of your project. Please reference our permit fee schedule for further information or call the Development Services Center at 757-664-6565.