Applications for all building and land disturbance permits may be submitted through the ePlan Review portal. These include commercial new construction, additions and renovations, residential new construction, and land disturbance.
Below, you will find a step-by-step overview of the Commercial Building Permit review process.
Commercial building permits are reviewed under a commercial express review or a commercial route-through review, depending on the complexity of your project. Commercial express reviews can usually be done same day. Commercial route-through reviews require more time, usually 2-3 weeks.
Commercial Express Reviews are available Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
While the criteria below are generally used to determine a project’s routing, please be aware that our staff ultimately makes this determination.
Commercial Express Review Criteria
- The project is an interior alteration in an existing commercial building
- The space is on a floor other than the 1st floor or below ( garage levels), top floor, penthouse, roof tops or the project does NOT include trailers or cranes
- The project is Business (B) or Mercantile (M) use
- The project does NOT increase the gross floor area
- There are NO site changes, such as required parking or ant exterior changes
- The project does NOT have a change of IBC use group
- NO structural modifications are made to the building
- The project work area is only on one floor of the building (multi-level alterations may be submitted as commercial express permits as separate, single floor submissions)
- The project does NOT include a commercial kitchen or water feature
- This review process usually only takes two (2) business days
NOTE: Alterations that, because of the complexity of design, require an extensive review may be put into the regular plan review process.
Commercial Route-Through Process Criteria
- The space is on the 1st floor or below (garage levels), top floor, rooftop or penthouse levels. Or the project includes a trailer or a crane
- The project involves an increase in gross floor area
- The site has any changes, such as required parking or any exterior changes
- The project has a change in IBC use group
- Structural modifications are being made to the building or more than one floor of the building (multi-level alteration may be submitted to fast track permitting process on a single-floor basis)
- The project use group is other than Business (B) or Mercantile (M)
- The project includes a commercial kitchen or water feature
- This process could take up to 2-3 weeks depending on the workload of the reviewer and the extensiveness of the renovation
Commercial Review Process (Express and Route-Through)
- Permits are started and issued at the Inspection Services Department (ISD), located on the 10th floor of Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Blvd. Commercial express and route-through permits may be submitted electronically through Arlington’s ePlan Review portal. Learn more about the electronic plan submission process.
- For a successful permit application, follow the Commercial Permit Submission Requirements.
- Upon receipt of your ePlan submission, an ISD specialist will enter the application information and generate a permit number for the plans.
- Commercial route-through permits require a filing fee equal to 35% of the total building permit review fee before review begins. If plans need to be reviewed by the Health Department (DHS), a fee is required. No filing fee is required for commercial express permits.
- Pay filing fees with a check made out to the Arlington County Treasurer, debit card or credit card. Pay for ISD, Zoning and DES permits in person at the customer service counters on the 8th and 10th floors of Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Blvd. All credit card transactions include a 2.5% fee, charged by the card processor. There is no fee for PIN-based debit card transaction. No American Express credit cards are accepted, and only MasterCard and Visa debit cards are accepted. At this time electronic payments are not accepted. Phone: 703-228-3800
- Electronic notifications will be sent to applicants informing them of fees due and plan submission routing.
- The ePlan submission will be routed automatically to all appropriate review groups including ISD, Zoning, DES and DHS as required. Separate submissions to each department are not required.
- Commercial express reviews will take approximately two (2) days, while commercial route-through reviews may take 2-3 weeks.
- After all departmental reviews have been approved, the customer will return to ISD to pay for the permit and receive their permit and placard. An ISD specialist will compile your permit set. Approximately 24 hours after permit issuance the compiled approved permit set will be available for download from the ePlan Review portal.
- The permit applicant is responsible for printing the approved permit set to have available on the project site for inspections. Commercial construction drawing sets should be printed on a minimum sheet size of 18” x 24.” When printed the plans should be of a legible and easily readable scale. Other than site plan drawings, no drawing should be printed at a scale smaller than 1/8” = 1’-0.” Supporting documentation such as project specifications, manufacturer’s product data sheets and structural calculations are permitted to be printed on 8 ½” x 11” sheets.
- If the plans are rejected by Zoning, ISD, DHS or DES, the customer must make the required edits to their plans and submit plan revisions through the ePlan Review portal for all subsequent reviews. Only the revised drawings will need to be uploaded through the ePlan portal. The sheet file names MUST remain the same as the originally submitted files. The revised set will require reviews from all reviewers and review groups regardless of which department or reviewers rejected or approved the original plan set.
- Once the permit is issued, the customer can begin their construction.
- Most building permits require additional trade permits (mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire) to complete construction. These permits require separate submission and review. At this time, these permits are reviewed through a paper process. Trade permits are started and issued at the Inspection Services Department (ISD) which is located on the 10th floor of 2100 Clarendon Blvd.