Several terms and phrases in the construction world may be unfamiliar. Learn more here and check back often as new information is added.
Affidavit of Permit Authorization
The Affidavit of Permit Authorization is used when a party other than the property owner is acquiring a permit from the Inspection Services Division.
All structural work requires a permit from the Inspection Services Division except construction of a storage shed (of less than 200 square feet), tents of less than 900 square feet , construction of a patio flat on the ground, residential cabinets, backyard recreational play equipment or the installation of gutters. A temporary building permit may be issued at the discretion of the building official
Uses and development standards which are determined in advance and specifically authorized by the Zoning Ordinance. The Zoning Ordinance, as a result, involves no flexibility and no discretion in its administration. For Example, a single-family zone would allow single-family detached residences by-right so long as the site development requirements are met (e.g. height, yards, bulk).
Certificate of Occupancy
A certificate of occupancy is required for any occupancy, change of occupancy, use or change of use of any land or building (new or existing), or change of ownership of any business or building, or condo/coop conversion of a building. This document states that the building or proposed use of a building or land complies with all provisions of law and of County ordinances and regulations.
Certificate of Occupancy – SHELL & CORE
The Shell and Core Certificate is required for elevator buildings. It is required for any new elevator building or a multiple-family dwelling with elevator(s) converting to condominiums or a cooperative. No Shell and Core Certificate shall be issued until the building support systems such as the fire alarm system, elevators, restrooms, ventilating system and exit-ways have been inspected and approved. The Shell & Core can only be issued when the owner has also applied for a M.C.O.
Certificate of Occupancy – CERTIFICATE FOR PARTIAL OCCUPANCY
The Certificate for Partial Occupancy is required for portions of a multiple-family dwelling or hotel and tenant spaces in an office, commercial or industrial building. No Certificate for Partial Occupancy shall be issued unless the space is approved for occupancy and the master certificate of occupancy or the shell and core certificate of occupancy for the building have been issued.
Fire Protection Permit
All installation of and changes to fire protection systems such as sprinklers, standpipes, fire alarm, fire mains, kitchen hoods and other suppression systems and components require a permit. Since these permits require shop drawings. Submissions should be made by the owner, designer, and contractor and should be timed to meet deadlines and to schedule the necessary time for review and approval to order and install equipment and to arrange testing and final approval by the Inspection Services Division. At any time, specific questions are encouraged and can be addressed by the Fire Protection Engineer, Plan Review Section Supervisor or the Building Official at 703-228-3800.
The percentage determined by dividing (a) the area of a lot covered by the total (in square feet) of: (1) the footprint of the main building; and (2) the total footprints of accessory buildings [counting only buildings with footprints larger than one hundred fifty (150) square fee, or with heights of two stories or more]; and (3) parking pads and driveways; by (b) the gross area of that lot.
The permit number is supplied to the customer by ISD during the permit review process.
A document given to the customer by ISD after applying for a permit which states that any given area is legally permitted to build. This should be displayed prominently at any construction site.
A plat is a map, drawn to scale, showing the divisions of a piece of land. The plat can be acquired from the Zoning Department or a Contractor and must be reviewed by Arlington when applying for a permit.
Plumbing and Gas Permits
All new plumbing and gas work requires a permit from the Inspection Services Division, except minor repair which includes only the following: repairs involving only the working parts of a valve or faucet; the clearance of stoppages; repair of leaks or replacement of defective valves or faucets, provided that no changes are made in the piping to the fixture or appliance.
Resource Protection Areas (RPAs)
Extremely sensitive areas, such as streams, rivers and watersheds, including a 100-foot buffer area around them.
A site/grading plan is a drawing of your construction site showing existing and proposed topography, environmental controls, demolition and improvements to the land
A Special Inspection is an inspection required by Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code for material testing, installation, fabrication, erection or replacement of components and connections requiring special expertise to ensure compliance with approved construction documents and codes. Special Inspection is required for items listed in the International Building Code or the Arlington County Special Inspections Program Manual.
Statement of Special Inspection
This statement is used by the structural engineer for identifying the structural items that require special inspection. This is a legal statement must be filled out by the Structural Engineer of Record. This statement must contain signatures from the following parties:
- Structural Engineer of Record (SER)
- Geotechnical Engineer of Record (GER)
- Precast Concrete Engineer of Record (PER) (if applicable)
- Special Inspection Engineer of Record (SIER)
- Testing Agency Engineer of Record (if different from SIER)
- General Contractor (GC)
The County’s Zoning Ordinance distinguishes between uses permitted “by-right” and uses allowed by “special exception.” The use permit is one form of special exception. Use permits are required for land and building uses which are permitted in some zoning districts, but which may have undesirable impacts if appropriate safeguards are not imposed. The use permit offers a process for considering and approving such uses, subject to special conditions particular to the character of the use. These conditions assure that the use complies with all requirements and conditions of use permit approval.
All special exception use permit requests are required to be scheduled for a public hearing before the County Board. The County Board meetings to consider use permit requests are generally held once a month. The Planning Commission may also hold a public hearing to consider use permit requests if the County Manager or the Zoning Administrator determines that the proposed use has sufficient impacts.
Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code
Minimum construction standards to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents as related to new construction, additions, alterations and repairs, as well as changes in occupancy or use of structures; the maintenance code establishes standards for the preservation of those preapproved standards to ensure the continued safe use and occupancy of existing structures. Every existing structure in Arlington is subject to compliance with the provisions of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code
The Zoning Office interprets the regulations contained in the Zoning Ordinance, including what buildings may be constructed on lots, the placement and height of structures, the land uses and density of development permitted, the number of parking spaces required, the size and placement of signs, and other land use regulations. The office also accepts applications at its services counter for rezoning requests, special exceptions including use permits and site plans, sign permits and comprehensive sign plans, variances, home occupation permits, certificates of occupancy, and subdivision plat review
The Zoning Ordinance is enforced by the Zoning Administrator with the assistance of inspectors in the Zoning Office and the Code Enforcement team. No building or other structure may be erected, reconstructed, enlarged, moved or structurally altered without an appropriate permit.
No structure may be used without a certificate of occupancy issued by the Zoning Office. The use of any land or building may not be changed, without a certificate of occupancy. The Zoning Administrator may not grant a permit or certificate of occupancy for the construction, alteration, use, or change of use, of any building or land, if the building or land, as proposed to be constructed, altered or used, would be in violation of the Zoning Ordinance.
If the Zoning Administrator finds that any of the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance are being violated, the person responsible for such violation will be notified in writing. This notice will state the nature of the violation, and order the action necessary to correct it. The Zoning Administrator may take any other action authorized by law to ensure compliance with the Zoning Ordinance or to prevent violation of it.