Permit Arlington: Online Submission Guidelines

The Arlington County Permit Office is CLOSED for in-person customer service. Many services are available online. Learn more.

In addition to submitting completed permit applications, Permit Arlington customers may be required to upload digital files as attachments to supplement their applications.

For many permits, the Plan Review page of the Permit Arlington customer portal features:

  • A tabbed page design, with tabs for:
    • Plan Set Documents
    • Supporting Documents
    • Comment Response Letters
      NOTE: Tabs will be displayed based on requirements for the application you are submitting. For example, if your application does not require a comment response letter, you will not see the Comment Response Letter tab.
  • A Required Documents button, if there are specific requirements for your submission.
    • If the Required Documents button is displayed, click it to view the requirements, which may include plan set documents, supporting documents, and comment response letters.
    • You can keep the Required Documents window open and move it around as you upload your documents.

See the following instructions for attaching supporting documents and plan set documents.

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents consist of files other than plans and drawings that are submitted with the completed permit application for staff review. Staff will not use electronic plan review tools to review supporting documents. Examples: affidavits, certifications, letters, forms, reports, maps, product specifications, photos, and other non-drawing files.

Submission Requirements

Supporting Document Requirements

  • Maximum individual file size: 250 MB
  • File type: Most file types are accepted for supporting documents, including PDF, Microsoft Office, and images (pdf, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, jpg, jpeg, gif, tif, tiff, bmp, msg, eml). Upload each document as a multi-paged, searchable file.
  • Typical page sizes:
    • 8.5 in. x 11 in.
    • 8.5 in. x 14 in.
    • 11 in. x 17 in.
  • Page orientation: Portrait or landscape
  • No encryption or passwords: Placing encryption or passwords on files generates an error that prevents staff from viewing the files.
  • Do not delete files: Never delete supporting documents that have been submitted, unless directed to do so by the County.
  • Revisions: If you need to revise submitted documents, refer to the guidelines on permit revisions.

Plan Set Documents

Plan set documents consist of files required as part of the permit application submission that present proposed design, layout, and/or construction practices. Staff will use electronic plan review tools to review, make comments on, and mark up these files. Examples: demolition plans, architectural plans, landscape plans, traffic control plans, civil plans, mechanical plans, and construction details.

Submission Requirements

Plan Set Document Requirements

  • Maximum individual file size: 250 MB
  • Typical sheet sizes:
    • Any plan or drawing sized 24 in. by  36 in. or smaller is acceptable.
    • After the application is submitted, staff will resize any plan or drawing smaller than 11 in. x 17 in. onto an 11 in. x 17 in. template frame.
    • Staff will resize any plan or drawing between 11 in. x 17 in. and 24 in. x 36 in. onto a 24 in. x 36 in. template frame.
    • Plans or drawings over 24 in. x 36 in. will be rejected.
  • Sheet orientation: Landscape only
  • No encryption or passwords: Placing encryption or passwords on files generates an error that prevents staff from viewing the files.
  • Scalable vector plans: While scanned sketches are acceptable in some cases, every effort should be made to submit scalable vector plans.
  • Upload as individual PDF files: Upload each sheet within a drawing set as a separate, searchable PDF file. Plans or drawings that are bundled and uploaded as a single, multi-page PDF document will be rejected. Vector-based PDFs are preferred.
  • Do not delete files: Never delete plans or drawings that have been submitted, unless directed to do so by the County.
  • Utilize naming conventions: To facilitate rapid recognition and retrieval of files by our plan review teams, we strongly recommend that each sheet within the drawing set follow the recommended naming conventions below.
  • File names: Name your files so they will display in the desired order alphanumerically. Upon approval, your plan set will be ordered exactly as displayed.
  • Best practicesRefer to the best practices listed below.
  • Revisions: If you need to revise submitted plans or drawings, refer to the guidelines on permit revisions. Include a comment response letter (PDF or Microsoft Word document) every time you resubmit plan or drawing files to the County for review. The letter should describe how outstanding County comments have been addressed and should identify any additional changes made to the plan or drawing files since the last review cycle.
Required Plan Sheet Layout

Online plan review accepts sheets sized 24 in. x 36 in. or smaller. Each plan sheet must use a required layout that reserves specific locations for the title block, approval stamps, and signatures.

Consult the layout templates and instructions below. Staff will reject applications containing plan sheets that do not follow the proper template.


11 in. x 17 in. Plan Sheet Layout(PDF, 78KB)

  • Reserve a 2.5-in.-wide space along the right side of all sheets for a vertical title block.
  • Reserve a 3-in.-wide by 1-in.-high space at the bottom of all sheets, to the left of the vertical title block, for County approval stamps and signatures.

24 in. x 36 in. Plan Sheet Layout

  • Reserve a 3.5-in.-wide space along the right side of all sheets for a vertical title block.
  • Reserve a 6-in.-wide by 2-in.-high space at the bottom of all sheets, to the left of the vertical title block, for County approval stamps and signatures.

Recommended Naming Conventions

When preparing plan set documents for upload, utilize the naming conventions below and assign a discipline code, sheet number, and a descriptor. The electronic plan review system will automatically display sheets in alphanumeric order based on this naming convention. Standardizing both file names and their display order facilitates efficient search, retrieval, and review by County staff. Use three digits for sheet numbering to ensure correct order based on series sorting.

Naming Convention Examples

Example 1

  • Discipline code: A
  • Sheet number: 001
  • Descriptor: Cover Sheet
  • File name: A-001 Cover Sheet.pdf

Example 2

  • Discipline code: A
  • Sheet number: 200.1
  • Descriptor: Elevations
  • File name: A-200.1 Elevations.pdf

Example 3

  • Discipline code: C
  • Sheet number: 101.1
  • Descriptor: Existing Conditions Plan
  • File name: C-101.1 Existing Conditions Plan.pdf

Example 4

  • Discipline code: L
  • Sheet number: 102
  • Descriptor: Tree Protection Plan
  • File name: L-102 Tree Protection Plan.pdf

Discipline Codes

Discipline Code
Architectural A
Architectural Demolition AD
Architectural Interiors AI
Civil C
Contractor / Shop Drawings Z
Electrical E
Energy EN
Equipment Q
Fire Protection F
Food Service FS
General G
Hazardous H
Landscape L
Mechanical M
Other Disciplines X
Plumbing P
Process D
Signage / Graphics SG
Structural S
Survey / Mapping V
Telecommunications T


Sheet Number Series Descriptors

Sheet Number Series Descriptor
000-099 General and site information
100-199 Plans, floor plans
200-299 Elevations, sections
300-399 Enlarged plans and sections, vertical circulation, core plans and details
400-499 Reflected ceiling plans
500-599 Exterior envelope and details
600-699 Interiors
700-799 Schedules and diagrams
800-899 User defined
900-999 3D modeling and representations

 

Registered Design Professional (RDP) Electronic Seal

Registered Design Professional (RDP) Electronic Seal

A Registered Design Professional (RDP) has historically been defined as a Virginia-licensed architect or professional engineer. More recently, landscape architects, land surveyors, and certified interior designers have been recognized as RDPs. The Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA Board) oversees the certification and licensing procedures for these design professionals. The Board has instituted rules governing the use of electronic seals and signatures by RDPs identified in §18 10-20-760 of the Virginia Administrative Code. All submissions shall abide by these provisions when including electronic seals and signatures on drawing files.

Not all plans require a RDP seal. However, if the plans have been drawn by a RDP, then those plans must be sealed.

Certain construction types and drawings associated with them always require a RDP seal. Construction types requiring a RDP are identified in §54.1-402 of the Code of Virginia. The charts below (General Design, Electrical Installation Design, and Plumbing and Mechanical System Design) provide a quick reference to determine if an architect’s or engineer’s seal is required on drawings for the proposed construction type.

Licensed architect or professional engineer seal on construction documents

Use the three charts below to determine whether your construction documents require a seal. Under certain circumstances, Groups B and R-2 may not require a RDP seal. Learn more.

Disclaimer: The Inspection Services Division may require a seal even if one of the following three charts does not. A seal may also be required upon inspection. 

Best Practices

Best Practices

The following best practices will help facilitate acceptance and efficient review of plans and drawings:

  • Include a sheet index on the cover sheet.
  • Ensure all sheets have been uploaded per the sheet index.
  • Clean and purge all extraneous layers from drawings.
  • Minimize the number of layers included in drawings.
  • Minimize the amount of hatching and/or convert to a less processor-intensive format type.
  • Ensure reserved space for County approval stamp is located in the required area.