Last Updated: 2017-07-31

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

Last Updated: 2020-03-20

City Of Richmond
** COVID-19 UPDATE - Please Read **

Corona Virus Update Regarding Permitting and Inspection Services for the City of Richmond - March 20, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak the following changes to our Permitting and Inspections services will take effect on Monday, March 23rd. City Hall Room(s) 108 and 110 are closed to the public until further notice. We are attempting to make as many services available to you as possible while keeping the public and City staff safe from potential exposure.

Permitting and Plan Review:
Priority permit processing will be given to emergency permit applications pertaining to life safety and/or habitability concerns (e.g. water, sewer, power and gas) as well essential facilities applications. Plan review services will continue by staff at remote telework locations. Communications with customers will be handled via e-mail or telephone. Plans will be reviewed in the order in which they are received.

Mail and Fax Services:

Drop off and fax related services are not available at this time. Mail-in services are limited to what can be sent via the United States Postal Service (USPS). We are not able to receive mail from UPS, FEDEx or Amazon until further notice. Any documents received by mail will be processed as staffing resources allow.

Residential Trade Applications:

Our on-line portal will continue to be available at the link below for Residential Trade Permits (Electrical, Gas Piping, Mechanical, Plumbing), Certificates of Zoning Compliance (CZC’s) and Plan of Developments (POD’s). https://energov.richmondgov.com/EnerGov_Prod/selfservice#/home

Permits Requiring Plan Review:

We will be utilizing Microsoft OneDrive to receive 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.

Inspection:
Field inspections will resume for all unoccupied new commercial and residential construction projects. Inspections pertaining to life safety and/or habitability concerns (e.g. water, sewer, power and gas) as well as essential facilities will be given priority status. Inspections within occupied dwelling units are suspended until further notice. Please limit the number of contractors or site representatives meeting an inspector on a jobsite to one.

Third Party Inspections:

Limited: Customers may use our limited 48-hour third party inspection services 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 david.alley@richmondgov.com for thirdpartyinspections@richmondgov.com

Full: Customers may use our third party program in part or in full to obtain third party inspection and plan review services. This option may be a good option for new projects should the COVID-19 outbreak continue long term. Please see: http://www.richmondgov.com/PlanningAndDevelopmentReview/ThirdPartyProgram.aspx

Property Maintenance/Code Enforcement (PMCE):
Citizens can continue to report code enforcement issue within their community by using RVA311 and inspections will be scheduled once the City of Richmond is operational.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: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

Our staff will be taking common sense precautions to follow the CDC guidelines while delivering permitting and inspection services. This will include refusal to inspect buildings occupied by individuals that have either tested positive, been exposed to, or are symptomatic of the COVID-19 virus.


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: July 14, 2014)

One and Two Family Building Codes

Codes Document Year
Elevator Code ASME17.1 2010
International Residential Building Code Virginia Edition 2012
Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code Virginia Edition 2012

Commercial Building Codes

CodesDocumentYear
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.

Solar

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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