Property, Permits & Zoning
- Report a Problem
- Animals & Pets
- Courts & Jury Duty
- Elections & Voting
- Emergency Preparedness
- Homes & Neighborhoods
- Housing & Homelessness
- Human Services
- Launch Virginia Beach
- Leisure & Recreation
- Map Center
- Property, Permits & Zoning
- Public Safety
- Transit, Transportation & Parking
- Trash & Recycling
- Water & Sewer Utilities
- Volunteer Resources
State and city codes regarding building and property maintenance are designed to keep the places you live, work, and play safe and attractive. Housing & Neighborhood Preservation's Code Enforcement Division preserves the safety and appearance of the city's existing structures and properties through routine inspections and responds to complaints about code violations.
Permits & Inspections
Administers the Uniform Statewide Building Code and associated laws and ordinances. The Permits & Inspections division also administers regulations to the Department of Environmental Quality Stormwater and Erosion and Sediment Control for private development and franchise utilities.
The Virginia Beach City Council has been studying possible regulations for short-term home rentals, like those promoted on Airbnb and other sites, out of concern for how rentals affect quiet residential neighborhoods as well as the safety of visitors who rent homes, apartments, or rooms.
To apply for a permit or to request inspections, register and create a user account on the city’s Citizen Access System. No registration is required to view information, however.
- Installation of wiring and equipment that operates at less than 50 volts *Includes commercial installation provided it is not located in a noncombustible plenum or penetrating a firewall.
- Construction of detached sheds less than 250 square feet of building area and requiring no electrical wiring or equipment
*All sheds are required to be anchored down and meet zoning setback requirements.
- Swing sets
- Tents and air-supported structures that cover an area of 900 square feet or less
- Trim and soffit work
- Ordinary repairs
- Fire protection: ordinary repairs or direct replacement of minor components with like equipment
*A report of repair or replacement is required to be kept on the premises and available for inspection upon request.
Like-for-like replacement of:
- Residential plumbing and electrical fixtures, fixture fittings or appliances, including electric water heaters
- Residential fans, humidifiers, air cleaners, and similar mechanical equipment
- Windows and doors with those of similar capacity in the same location in one- and two-family dwellings, townhouses, apartments, and condominiums
If a contractor is performing the work on a property, the contractor should obtain the permit and schedule all required inspections. If property owners are performing the work themselves, or with assistance, they are responsible for the permit and inspection scheduling.
Property owners may obtain a building permit to construct a new house for their occupancy; however, only one house may be built by a property owner in 24 months. A state contractor's license is required to build more than one house in 24 months.
A registered contractor is required to perform all work on a commercial property and must obtain the permit and schedule all required inspections. In some cases, a property owner or tenant may be allowed to obtain the permit if approved by Planning & Community Development’s Division of Permits & Inspections.
A permit is valid for six months from the date it is issued. Any permit that requires multiple inspections (new construction, building addition, etc.) is automatically renewed for six months after each inspection. If more time is needed to complete work, an extension may be requested in writing to Permits & Inspections.
Yes, and all structural permits and permits that require a site plan require customers to come into the office, which is located at 2875 Sabre St.
- Provide a copy of Class A, B, or C state contractor's license
- Provide a copy of the master tradesman cards for everyone in the company who is authorized to sign permit applications as a master for that trade
- Provide a copy of a business license
*If the company is based in Virginia Beach, a Virginia Beach business license is required. If the company is based outside of Virginia Beach, permits may be obtained if there is a business license for another Virginia municipality (Norfolk, Fairfax, Richmond, Chesapeake, etc.); however, if more than $25,000 worth of business is conducted in Virginia Beach in a calendar year, a Virginia Beach business license is required.
Note: The company name must be the same on both the business license and state contractor's license.
A state contractor's license has limitations on contract values:
CONTRACT VALUE PER JOB
TOTAL BUSINESS IN ONE CALENDAR YEAR
Permits may only be obtained for the classifications listed on the state contractor's license AND for which the company has a master tradesman (if applicable).
Classifications required to obtain permits:
If only performing small repairs and similar jobs with contract values less than $1,000 (labor AND materials), permits may be obtained with the following information:
- Copy of the master tradesman cards for everyone in the company who is authorized to sign permit applications as a master for that trade
- Copy of a signed contract with the customer showing charges less than $1,000 (a receipt of a paid invoice will suffice)
- Copy of a business license
Note: When registering with Permits & Inspections, a number will be assigned for the company on the contractor system. Use this number for reference when applying for permits.
A state contractor's license is renewed every two years, and a city business license is renewed annually. Copies of updated licenses should be provided to Permits & Inspections so that all records are current, which will help prevent delays when submitting applications for permits.
Building plans, site plans, and property surveys for residential new construction, additions, garages, sheds, decks, fences, pools, and driveways; and commercial new construction, additions, fences, decks, and alterations, are kept on file during construction. Building plans are copyrighted and are therefore public information for viewing purposes only. Plans are the property of the City of Virginia Beach, the architect and/or engineer of record, and the contractor.
The files are sent to storage after a final inspection of construction and destroyed three years later, in accordance with the Library of Virginia’s records management policies. Permits & Inspections will only have building and site plans or surveys on file if they were submitted for a permit within the last three years.
The Certificate of Occupancy fee is $75; typically, it is included in the building permit fee.
For residential properties, the Certificate of Occupancy is automatically generated upon final inspection approval and after all other necessary approvals (for example, from the Health Department) have been submitted to Permits & Inspections.
If the building permit is in the general contractor's name, a copy of the certificate is automatically faxed to the general contractor's office. If the building permit is in the owner's name, and the owner's fax number is not on file, a copy of the certificate may be requested from Permits & Inspections.
For commercial properties, a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy can be requested once all final inspections have been completed and any other necessary approvals and/or reports (from Civil Inspections, Public Utilities, Health Department, final Special Inspections, EIFS, etc.) have been submitted to Permits & Inspections.
Existing structures (commercial): If there has been no change of use or tenant within the past three years, the Certificate of Occupancy fee is $117.20, and a commercial building application, parking plan, and tenant space layout are required.
Note: New tenants and changes of use require plan review and standard permits to be issued by counter personnel.
Register and create a user account through Virginia Beach’s Citizen Access System.
Yes, re-inspection and stop-work order fees can be paid online.
Section 8-26 of the Code of the City of Virginia Beach adopts the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC). The current code books adopted by the USBC are:
2015 International Commercial Code (ICC)
2015 International Residential Code
2014 National Electrical Code (NEC)
2015 International Mechanical Code
2015 International Plumbing Code
Copies of these codebooks are available for reference at Virginia Beach Public Library branches.
Code Enforcement handles complaints on private property only relating to exterior property maintenance and building maintenance; graffiti abatement; unsafe equipment/structures; hoarding; parking restrictions; deck, balcony, and porch safety; swimming pool safety; and rental inspections.
Types of property maintenance violations include overgrown grass, open storage of junk, and inoperable vehicles.
Types of building maintenance violations include exterior issues such as broken windows and gutter, roof or siding disrepair, as well as interior issues such as electrical hazards, damaged plumbing, and improper venting.
The time allowed for correcting code violations ranges from 24 hours to 30 days, depending on the nature and severity of the violation(s). Extensions can be requested in writing. Failure to comply within the time allowed may result in the city taking action to abate code violations or legal action.
Submit a Board of Zoning Appeals application to the Department of Planning and Community Development in person or online. There’s a $400 application and advertising fee for residential applications and a $500 application and advertising fee for all commercial applications. (The fee covers the cost of notifying the public and adjacent property owners of an appeal.)
The Board of Zoning Appeals is a seven-member body appointed by the City Council to review variance requests to the Zoning Ordinance and appeals of decisions of the zoning administrator. The application review can take up to 60 days and it can be two to three months for a hearing date.
Uniform Statewide Building Code, which contains regulations for new construction as well as for changes, repairs, or renovations to existing structures. It’s made up of three parts: Virginia Construction Code, Virginia Existing Building Code, and Virginia Maintenance Code.