The City of Richmond has been recognized as a Gold 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 at RVAgreen.
Permits & Inspections is committed to providing a timely review of solar PV permit applications. Best efforts are made to review completed residential solar permit applications within 3 days and commercial/non-residential solar permit applications within 8 days. These turnaround times are typical, not guaranteed. The City of Richmond has a staff of dedicated individuals, but workloads, staffing levels, vacations, and sick leave can cause unforeseen delays that may impact turnaround time.
Certain circumstances can prolong the permit turnaround time including:
- Applicant does not submit all required information
- Contractor applying for a permit is not licensed or properly licensed
- Equipment is not listed
- Job address is located within an environmentally sensitive area
Permits and Inspections
Updates from the Commissioner of Buildings - David L. Alley III
Please contact CSSHelp@richmondgov.com if you need help with the portal. If you need a permit to restore power, water, or heat, or other emergencies please contact email@example.com and CC firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to schedule an inspection on the portal, please call [PDR] (804) 646-1628 for assistance.
New Directory: This new Directory has been added to provide another level of customer service for our community to utilize. Please use this Directory to easily locate specific staff members associated with your project. Located on the Quick Links tool bar at the left of your screen.
New - Early Start Authorization Form: This new process has been created to provide our customers with the ability to start work prior to a permit being issued. Read below for complete details and limitations.
Conditions of Early Start Authorization
The Contractor listed must agree to the following:
- Early start Authorization is for interior work only, unless special consideration is granted by the Commissioner of Buildings.
- A Building Permit must be in plan review status at the time of the request for Early Start Authorization.
- Work shall not be concealed and must remain open for all necessary inspections. At the time of inspections any work shall be exposed.
- The Early Start Authorization does not guarantee that the construction plans will be approved as submitted. All work started with this authorization, prior to the issuance of the required permits, shall be at the applicant’s, property owner’s and contractor’s risk.
- Compliance with Asbestos Neshap, DEQ and other regulatory agencies must occur for any demolition work.
- The contractor acknowledges that all subcontractors are properly licensed and have current workers compensation coverage.
- The contractor acknowledges that City inspections of work for any construction trade will not occur until after the City permit has been issued for the building and all applicable trades.
- The contractor agrees to indemnify and hold the City of Richmond or its officers , agents and employees, free and harmless from any and all claims, causes of action, damages, losses, penalties or costs, including, but limited to, all attorney fees ( whether from litigation or administration proceedings, including cost and fees on appeal), with respect to any person or government authority arising out of, either directly or indirectly, the construction or operation at the premises covered by this Early Start Authorization, whether the liability, loss or damage is caused by, or arises out of, the negligence of the City of Richmond or its officers, agents, employees, or otherwise.
- If the City of Richmond or its officers, agents, and employees, shall be subject to any claim, demand or penalty or become a party to any suit or other judicial or administrative proceeding by reason of any claimed act or omission by any party, or by reason of any act occurring on the subject premises, or by reason of any omission with respect to the construction or operation on the subject premises, the contractor shall indemnify and hold the City of Richmond or its officers, agents and employees, harmless against all judgements settlements, penalties, and expenses, including attorney fees, court cost and other expenses of litigation or an administrative proceeding, incurred by or imposed on the City of Richmond or its officers, agents and employees, in connection with the investigation of defense relating to such claim or litigation or administrative proceeding, and at the election of the City of Richmond or its officers, agents and employees, the contractor shall also defend the City of Richmond.
- It is understood and hereby acknowledged between the parties hereto that the City of Richmond or its officers, agents and employees, shall not be liable for any act or other obligation to the contractor.
- The approved Early Start Authorization Form must be posted on site for review.
Please contact the Commissioner of Buildings at email@example.com for more information, procedures and the official form.
New Permit intake status (Updated 4/12/2022): This website will be updated weekly with the latest permit submittal information. All submittals will be processed in the order that they are received, unless they are a part of the Expedited Submittal Program (see below). In order for us to better serve you, please limit your permit inquiry so that we may focus on actually getting the permits processed. Your patience is greatly appreciated.
Residential online trade submissions are being processed within 11 calendar days,
Commercial online trade submissions are being processed within 20 calendar days.
Residential online building submissions are being processed 4 calendar days out.
Commercial online building submissions are being processed 4 calendar days out.
New Customer Service Line: Call 804-646-4169 to ask a question or to check on the status of a permit.
• Emergency permits to restore electrical, gas, or water service for an existing occupied structure
• Small business projects and associated trade permits
• City of Richmond interdepartmental projects
• City-approved third-party agency plan review projects
• Solar projects
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: PDRPermitsAndInspections@rva.gov
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.
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. Please contact your inspector directly.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com
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.
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.
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:
- Planning and Preservation
- Land Use Administration
- Commission of Architectural Review
- Public Works
- Public Utilities
- Water Resources
- Code Enforcement / Property Maintenance
These agencies would review a specific aspect of the proposed construction to verify compliance with their regulations.
Building Codes for Richmond, Virginia
Applicants submitting for permit between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 shall be permitted to choose whether to comply with the provisions of VUSBC-2018 or the provisions of VUSBC-2015 per Section 103.2 VCC-2018.
One and Two-Family Building Codes
|Virginia Residential Code||Virginia Edition||2018|
|Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code||Virginia Edition||2018|
Commercial Building Codes
|Accessible and Useable Buildings and Facilities||ANSI A117.1||2009|
|Fire Sprinkler Code||2016|
|Flood Resistant Design and Construction||ASCE 24-14||2014|
|Virginia Construction Code||Virginia Edition||2018|
|Virginia Energy Conservation Code||Virginia Edition||2018|
|Virginia Fuel Gas Code||Virginia Edition||2018|
|Virginia Mechanical Code||Virginia Edition||2018|
|Virginia Plumbing Code||Virginia Edition||2018|
|International Swimming Pool and Spa Code||2018|
|Virginia Existing Building Code||Virginia Edition||2018|
|National Electrical Code||2017|
|National Fire Alarm Code||2016|
|Standard for Single & Multiple Station Carbon Monoxide Alarms||UL2034||2008 with revisions through February 2009|
|Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code||2018|
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
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.
Mail and Fax Services:
Applications and payments received by mail are still being accepted, however, we are not currently conducting business by fax.
Online Permit Portal:
The Online Permit Portal (OPP) should be used for Commercial and Residential Building permits, Commercial, Electrical and Mechanical permits, all Residential trade permits (Electrical, Gas Piping, Mechanical, Plumbing), Certificates of Zoning Compliance (CZC’s), and Plan of Developments (POD’s).
Microsoft OneDrive should be used to submit documents and applications that cannot be submitted through the Online Permit Portal. This includes permit extensions, cancellations, modifications, contractor changes, amendments to the scope of work, responses to plan review comments and post permit revisions.
Verifying Business Licenses:
The City Finance Business Unit has Customer Service Representatives available with access to MUNIS to verify if a business has a valid business license in the City of Richmond. They can be reached by telephone at (804) 646-6662. The door to Room 103 is open, please come in and ask for assistance should you have additional questions or concerns, or wish to speak to a Customer Service Supervisor.
Construction Document Submission Requirements
- Building Plan Submittal for Commercial Construction
- Residential Building Permit Application Procedures and Requirements for One- & Two-Family Dwellings
- Deck Construction Guide
The City of Richmond Bureau of Permits and Inspections has initiated a new Third-Party Plan Review and Inspections Program that will allow developers and property owners the ability to contract directly with qualified Third-Party Plan Review and/or Inspection Agencies to perform building plan review and inspections as an alternative to the City’s standard process. The program sets forth the minimum qualifications, administrative guidelines and procedures established and implemented by the City of Richmond for Third-Party Agencies to ensure that all plan reviews and/or inspections conducted by Third-Party Agencies are at the highest professional level and to ensure a process for verification and auditing of the Third-Party Agencies. The program also establishes an application process for Third-Party Agency certification.
Click here to learn more about the Third-Party Program.
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
- Any inspections related to service equipment after the utility connection is complete
We encourage you to contact your inspector after 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 Eugene (Tab) Crumpton, Electrical Inspections Supervisor, at (804) 646-5748 with any questions regarding this matter.
The city of Richmond has been recognized as a Gold 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 at RVAgreen.