Residential Building Permit

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

Building permits are required to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents. Failure to obtain the required permit is a violation of the law.

Some residential properties (example: apartment buildings with three or more dwelling units) are considered commercial per the Building Code and therefore require Commercial Building Permits. If you’re unsure, determine whether your project is considered Residential or Commercial before proceeding.

Types of projects that require a residential building permit:

  • Adding, removing or relocating walls or fixtures.
  • Building a new house.
  • Additions: including projects such as adding finished square footage to your home or building a porch. Exterior work such as building a deck or adding a window well for egress may also be considered an addition.
  • Alterations: including projects such as renovating a kitchen, refinishing or waterproofing a basement and remodeling a bathroom. If you’re planning to alter your kitchen or bathroom and you’re only replacing cabinets or appliances (as long as they’re not fueled by gas or oil), or fixtures (without relocating any pipes or dry wall), in the exact same location, there are no permits required and you may begin work immediately.

For information about when a permit is not required, see §108.2 of the Building Code or contact the Inspection Services Division (ISD): 703-228-3800.

Residential Submission Requirements

Residential building permit applications must be submitted online via ePlan Review.

Residential Plan Review Process

Scheduling Inspections

Once a building permit is approved, construction can proceed. You must schedule an inspection to ensure the safety and proper progress of the project.

Fees

Fee Schedules provide the range of fees charged for each type of application or activity related to land development in Arlington. Fees cover permitting, plan review, enforcement, inspection, service delivery, performance agreements and conditions. There are separate fee schedules for Inspection Services Division (ISD), Zoning and the Department of Environmental Services (DES). Some permits involve fees from more than one schedule.

Quick Tips

  • Learn more about how to determine your property setbacks.
  • Demolition of an existing structure or building is a separate process from the building permit. Learn more about a Demolition Permit.
  • A development plan is required if the total land disturbance exceeds 2,500 sq. ft. Learn more about Land Disturbing Activity.
  • Permits expire 6 months after the last approved inspected activity on-site.
  • A wall check must be submitted upon completion of foundation walls – but before the framing inspection takes place. For new single-family dwellings, the established first floor elevation must be shown on the wall check plat. Submit all surveys to contactzoning@arlingtonva.us, including the address and permit number. 
  • A final survey is required for new single-family dwellings prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. A final survey for additions may be requested by the plan reviewer. As-built main building footprint/lot coverage certification and height certification may be requested by the reviewer as well. Submit all surveys to contactzoning@arlingtonva.us, including the address and permit number. 
  • If another party is submitting an application(s) on the property owner’s behalf, the property owner must complete a Permit Authorization Affidavit.
  • Additional permits may be required. Other permit information that may be related, required or of interest: