Building Permit

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A building permit is required for any new construction, alterations, additions, demolitions, accessory buildings, swimming pools, and/or other types of construction, which will improve or upgrade any property in the City of Harrisonburg. The City of Harrisonburg enforces the 2012 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code along with the 2012 family of the International Codes.

If you are applying for a Building Permit, ensure that you also fill out and submit the Building Permit checklist and Building Permit Impervious Square Footage Form with the Building Permit Application.

PDF[74KB] Building Permit Application Checklist

PDF[77KB] Lista De Control De Solicitud De Permiso De Construccion

PDF[43KB] Building Permit Application

PDF[34KB] Affidavit Form (Owner/Developer)

PDF[23KB] Building Permit Impervious Square Footage Form

PDF[44KB] Fire Suppression System Permit Application

PDF[48KB] Roofing Permit Application

Questions regarding building permits can be answered by the Building Inspections Division at 540-432-7700.


Design Criteria

Roof live load is 30 pounds per square foot minimum, non-reduced.

Roof dead load is 10 pounds per square foot, non-reduced.

Note: These are minimum design loads.  Loads exceeding these minimums shall require a registered design professional to address the actual loads.

Wind speed is 90 miles per hour, frost depth is 30 inches, seismic category is B, and the ground snow load is 42.5 pounds per square foot.


Seal Required

An architect's and/or engineer's seal is required on all drawings for assembly, educational, high hazard, institutional, apartment, hotel-motel and dormitory uses regardless of size. Other uses not listed above may require an architect's and/or engineer's seal depending on the square footage and/or height of the structure.


Information Required on Application

  1. The owner's complete name, present mailing address, and phone number.
  2. The contractor's complete name, present mailing address, phone number, copy of state class "A", "B", or "C" contractor's registration, and city business license number.
  3. The appropriate fee, based on total value- including labor and materials for building, plumbing electrical and mechanical work. Checks should be made payable to the City of Harrisonburg.


Accompanying Information

Site Plan submit one:

  1. A north indicator.
  2. The actual dimensions of the lot drawn to a scale of 1"=20' and drawn to the actual bearings of the lot.
  3. The actual location and dimensions of any existing structures on the lot.
  4. The actual location and dimensions of any structures being erected.
  5. The actual dimensional setbacks from the lot lines to the structure, including but not limited to: covered porches, decks, stairwells, etc.
  6. The actual square footage of the lot.
  7. All easements contained within the lot or which cross the lot at any location.
  8. All required off-street parking.


Building Plans

Submit two sets of the following, one set will remain on the record of the Building Inspection Office and the other will be stamped "approved" and returned to the owner or contractor and shall remain on the job site at all times during construction:

  1. A floor plan for each floor drawn to 1/4" scale.
  2. A typical wall or specific wall section drawn to scale.
  3. At least two elevations of the structure drawn to scale.
  4. All drawings shall show the overall dimensions of the structure, the internal dimensions of each room located within the structure, and the dimensional height of the structure.
  5. All rooms on the floor plans shall be labeled as to their use, e.g., bedroom, kitchen, etc.
  6. All bathrooms and kitchens shall show the location of all fixtures and appliances to be installed.
  7. All doors, windows, and stairways shall be sized on the drawings.
  8. All registered design professionals additional requirement from the building official - PDF[96KB] View notice for electronic plans.
  9. If applicable, a copy of the Certificate of Asbestos Inspection.  All structures built prior to January 1, 1985 must submit an asbestos inspection certificate for buildings being renovated or demolished.  For exemptions view the Virginia Construction Code and go to Part 1 Section 110.3.


Supplemental Plans

Supplemental plans may be required. Such supplemental plans would include, but not be limited to: Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical, Fire Sprinkler Systems, and other supplemental plans as may be deemed necessary by the Building Inspection Office.


Application Processing

Once an application has been submitted, it is forwarded to the Planning, Zoning and Engineering Divisions for review for compliance with zoning requirements and any site plans issues. It is then returned to the Building Inspections Division for final review, approval and issuance of the building permit.


Posting of Permit

The building permit shall be displayed on the outside of the building or premises where it is plainly visible from the street, and shall not be removed until the building or renovation is complete and ready for occupancy.


Inspection Information

Following is a list of required inspections:

  1. Building: Footers, slab, foundation, framing, insulation, drywall, chimney, firewall, fire separation wall, final and others as necessary.
  2. Plumbing: Under slab, rough-in, service lines, final and others as necessary
  3. Electrical: Under slab, rough-in, final and others as necessary
  4. Mechanical: Under slab, rough-in, gas lines, gas fireplaces or logs, final and others as necessary

All listed inspections shall be scheduled by the contractor, owner, or owner's authorized agent. The permit number, address, and type of inspection to be made must be given to the permit clerk in order to schedule an inspection. 


Required Occupancy Certificate

Once the final building inspection has been completed and approved, a Certificate of Occupancy shall be issued prior to any occupancy.


Additional Notes

  1. In addition to the building permit, separate permits are required for electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work.
  2. For commercial work, a sign permit is required for the installation of any sign. (See procedure for obtaining a sign permit.)
  3. If desiring to do so, the owner may do the work as long as the proper permit has been obtained, all required inspections are called for, and an affidavit is signed by the owner.
  4. When submitting supplemental drawings for fire suppression systems, four (4) sets of drawings and four (4) sets of calculations are required.


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