Last Updated: 2017-07-31

Richmond VA > Planning and Development Review > Permits and Inspections Bureau

Last Updated: 2020-10-26

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COVID-19 UPDATE: July 15, 2020

Update Regarding Permitting and Inspection Services

The Permit Center has transitioned to a fully electronic service model and will no longer be providing in-person processing of permits and payments. As a result of this change our lobby, located in City Hall Room 108, will remain closed to the public except for customers who have made a prescheduled in-office appointment. To schedule an appointment please e-mail the appropriate address below or directly contact the staff member that you are working with. Appointments are intended to be used on a limited basis for processes that require in person interaction that cannot be duplicated by electronic means. Appointments will not be made for application processing or payment services.

To schedule an appointment or for customer service inquiries e-mail:

Permits and Inspections

Permits and Inspections (P&I)

Permitting and Plan Review:

All services are now being processed through one of two online gateways: the City of Richmond’s Online Permitting Portal (OPP) and our OneDrive document processing system. Processing times for some application types may take as long as 2-3 weeks. Applications and plans are being reviewed in the order in which they are received. We appreciate your patience during this time of change. We anticipate a significant improvement in this area over the next 30-60 days.

Mail and Fax Services:

Applications and payments received by mail are still being accepted, however, we are not currently conducting business by fax.

Residential Trade Applications:

The On-Line Permit Portal (OPP) should be used for Residential Trade Permits (Building, Electrical, Gas Piping, Mechanical, Plumbing), Certificates of Zoning Compliance (CZC’s) and Plan of Developments (POD’s), click here.

Permits Requiring Plan Review and Other Services:

Microsoft OneDrive should be used to submit commercial applications and plans electronically. Other services accepted through OneDrive are permit extensions, cancellations, modifications, contractor changes, amendments to the scope of work, responses to plan review comments and post permit revisions. For information on how to register and use Microsoft OneDrive, click here.

Field inspections are continuing for all project types. Inspections within occupied buildings are being conducted virtually or by a third party inspector per our 48-hour third party inspection policy. Please limit the number of contractors or site representatives meeting an inspector on a jobsite to only one. Please remember to practice safe social distancing and to wear personal protective equipment when meeting an inspector.

Virtual Inspections:

We are putting a greater emphasis on virtual inspections across all disciplines. Use this service option to complete an inspection remotely with a City inspector using Facetime or Microsoft Teams. For more information, click here.

Third Party Inspections:

Limited: Customers may use our limited 48-hour third party inspection policy for individual inspections when the building official is unable to perform a scheduled inspection within two working days of a request or an agreed upon date or if authorized for other circumstances in the building official’s written policy. Third party inspections shall be requested, and the inspection reports submitted, in accordance with the City’s official policy. For more information contact and/or visit:

Full: Customers may use our third party program in part or in full to obtain third party inspection and plan review services. Please click here for more information.

Property Maintenance/Code Enforcement (PMCE):
The Property Maintenance lobby will remain closed to the public until further notice, however, services are ongoing. Citizens may continue to report code enforcement issues within their community by using RVA311 or calling the main number at (804) 646-6398. If a physical meeting is needed, it will be scheduled through an appointment and appropriate “social distancing” measures will be followed.


We will continue to monitor and respond to the ongoing status of the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers are asked to please follow the guidelines and precautions recommended by the CDC as outlined in this link:

The City of Richmond Online Permit Portal (OPP)

  • Customers can register, apply for plans, and search permits using the Online Permit Portal link.
  • More information on registering and utilizing the Online Portal can be found on the OPP web page.

The Bureau of Permits and Inspections reviews applications and construction documents for the construction, alterations and improvements to all new and existing structures in the city of Richmond. After permits are issued, the bureau inspects the work at specific stages through the completion of the job. This process is to ensure the life safety and code compliance of buildings. The process provides safe buildings for citizens, whether they live in, work or are visiting the city of Richmond.

Our staff and department is dedicated to helping you build a better, code-compliant city of Richmond.

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Building Permit Process

A building permit must be obtained prior to commencing any new construction or alterations to a building. In the city of Richmond, a building permit only covers the building and structural portion of a project. The permit is only reviewed for compliance with the building code. Any electrical, mechanical, and plumbing work for a project will be done under a separate trade permit. Reviews for code-compliance will be done as those permits are submitted.

Building permits are typically reviewed by multiple agencies. In addition to the Building Code review, permits may be forwarded to some or all of the following departments.

These agencies would review a specific aspect of the proposed construction to verify compliance with their regulations.

Building Codes for Richmond, Virginia
(Adoption Date: September 4, 2018)

One and Two Family Building Codes

Codes                                                                             Document    Year                                                   
Elevator Code ASME17.1 2013
International Residential Building Code Virginia Edition 2015
Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code Virginia Edition 2015

Commercial Building Codes

Accessible and Useable Buildings and Facilities ANSI A117.1 2009
Elevator Code ASME17.1 2010
Fire Sprinkler Code 2010
Flood Resistant Design and Construction ASCE 24-05 2005
International Building Code Virginia Edition 2012
International Energy Conservation Code Virginia Edition 2012
International Fire Prevention Code Virginia Edition 2012
International Fuel Gas Code Virginia Edition 2012
International Mechanical Code Virginia Edition 2012
International Plumbing Code Virginia Edition 2012
International Property Maintenance Code Virginia Edition 2012
International Rehabilitation Code Virginia Edition 2012
National Electrical Code 2011
National Fire Alarm Code 2010
Standard for Single & Multiple Station Carbon Monoxide Alarms UL2034 2008 with revisions through February 2009
Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code 2012

Structural Design Requirements

The following are Structural Design Requirements specific to Richmond, Virginia

  • Frost Depth - 18 inches
  • Design Wind Speed - 90 mph, 3-second gust
  • Ultimate Design Wind Speed For Risk
    • Category I Buildings - 105 mph
    • Category II Buildings - 115 mph
    • Category III & IV Buildings - 120 mph
  • Snow Load - 20 psf
  • Seismic Design Category - B

Construction Document Submission Requirements

Submitting a Building Permit

There are a number of ways to submit for a building permit, such as in person or by mail. If submitting your application by mail, please include a completed application, construction documents, and payment. You may not submit your request by fax if the permit requires plans. Be sure to include a Credit Card Payment Form along with your completed Permit Application.

You can bring in your completed application, construction documents, and payment. Contractors should have copies of their contractor's license and business license.

Bureau of Permits and Inspections City Hall, Room 110
900 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Fax: (804)646-1569

You will need a city of Richmond Business License if the value of the work is more than $25,000 or if the total value from permits exceeds $25,000 during the calendar year.

Checking Permit Status

The easiest way to check the status of a permit is through the city's Permit Web Inquiry System. When you arrive at the main screen choose "Search Existing Permits". You can look up permits by the permit number, address, contractor's license number or city tax parcel id number. When you have selected a permit choose "Permit Approvals". This will allow you to see what agencies are reviewing your permit, who the reviewers are and the status of their review. In most instances there will be a phone number for the reviewer so that you can contact them directly with any questions that you might have.

You can also check the status of a permit by calling the city's 311 Call Center. Your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate reviewer and they will contact you.

Policies and Procedures Handouts

NEW Policy for Inspections Involving Exposed, Energized Electrical Parts

As of March 1, 2015 City of Richmond Department of Building Inspection will require the installing electrician or qualified representative to be on site for the inspections listed below in order to de-energize, open and close the equipment for the inspection:

  • Release service change
  • Generators
  • Any inspections related to service equipment after the utility connection is complete

We encourage you to contact your inspector prior to 7:00 a.m. on the morning of your inspection to arrange a time to meet on site for the inspection. Or, when scheduling your inspection, you may request that the inspector give you a thirty (30) minute call ahead. Please contact George (Rick) Paul Electrical Inspections Supervisor, at (804) 646-6959 with any questions regarding this matter.


The city of Richmond has been recognized as a Silver designee by SolSmart, a national program to assist communities in fostering the growth of strong local solar markets by taking key steps to reduce barriers and make it faster, easier and less expensive to go solar. Find solar specific permit and zoning information.

Contact Information:

Permits and Inspections
  - Planning and
    Development Review
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St., Room 110
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: (804)  646-4169
    Fax: (804)  646-1569

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If you have any questions, please call the City's Customer Care Center at 3-1-1 or (804) 646-7000

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