As you plan your residential or commercial project, you’re likely to have some construction code questions. For these questions related to architectural and systems designs, Arlington County offers a free code consultation service with Inspection Services Division (ISD) staff. This consultation is highly recommended for small businesses and project representatives, especially those who aren’t familiar with Arlington County permitting, plan review and inspection processes.
What is ISD’s Code Consultation Service?
This is a voluntary code conference with Inspection Services staff to discuss construction code issues during the preliminary/schematic design phase for residential and commercial projects. It is intended primarily for discussing code issues related to architectural and systems designs. Please note that this consultation service covers only questions regarding the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code – questions regarding the requirements of the Zoning Office or the Department of Environmental Services cannot be addressed.
This consultation is also highly recommended for small businesses and project representatives that are not familiar with Arlington County permitting, review and inspection processes.
What is the benefit of a Code Consultation?
A preliminary code consultation affords the designers, homeowners, and business owners a venue to discuss with code officials elements of a construction project before the project design reaches the final construction documents.
Projects that are comparatively large or complex in scope; involve a special use or occupancy; employ a novel design; or constitute an enlargement of or change of use of an existing building are likely to benefit the most from a preliminary code consultation.
Who may request a Code Consultation?
Anyone contemplating a residential or commercial building construction project may request a preliminary code consultation. However, meetings involving the project architect/engineers tend to be the most productive, thus, it is highly recommended that the design professional(s) attend the meetings.
It is not mandatory to have a preliminary code consultation.
What is the Code Consultation Process?
Consultations must be scheduled by submitting a Code Consultation Request Form. Please complete the form with as much detail as possible. Code Consultation Request Forms may be submitted in person, by mail, or via email.
Since there are a limited number of available slots on the weekly consultation calendar, early scheduling of appointments is recommended.
Normally, you will be discussing your architectural design with a building code official. If you want engineering consultation on a systems design, please specify which type of system (e.g., mechanical, pluming, fire, etc…), and a specialist will be available.
Is there a consultation service fee?
No. This service is offered as a courtesy to encourage early contact with code officials to discuss a building’s proposed design relative to the requirements of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.
Are there any limitation or conditions?
The preliminary code consultation is not a formal part of the permit process; as such, the results of the discussions are not official or binding.
This consultation service covers only questions regarding the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code – questions regarding the requirements of the Zoning Office or the Department of Environmental Services cannot be addressed.
Each scheduled code consultation appointment is allocated one hour. In order to gain the maximum benefit from this process, it is important that you are prompt for your appointment.
Code consultation appointments are conducted at the Inspection Services Division’s office; requests for job-site consultations cannot be accommodated.
Typically, these discussions do not require the whole hour and one meeting is sufficient. Depending on the degree of design development or the project’s complexity, additional consultations may be requested.