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.
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 the same day. Commercial Route-Through Reviews usually takes between 2-3 weeks.
While the criteria below are generally used to determine a project’s routing, County staff ultimately makes the determination.
Commercial Paper Walk-Thru and Electronic Express Review Criteria
* Commercial walk-thru and express reviews are intended to be accomplished in a short amount of time. Alterations that require an extensive review because of the complexity of the design or special exception may be classified as a route-through review even though it meets the following criteria:
- The project is an interior alteration in an existing commercial building
- There are NO site changes, such as changes to parking, windows, doors, exterior vents, etc.
- The project does NOT have a change of use per the Virginia Construction Code or the Zoning Ordinance
- The project is Business (B) or Mercantile (M, retail) use per the Virginia Construction Code; this means that apartments and other multi-family buildings do not qualify for walk-thru or express review
- The space is not located on the 1st floor, top floor, penthouse, roof top, or below the 1st floor
- The project does NOT include trailers or cranes
- NO structural modifications are being made to the building
- The project work area is only on one floor of the building
- The scope of work does NOT include a commercial kitchen, food handling, or interactive water feature, such as pool, spa, hot tub, or splash pad
- If the project is located on a property with a site plan, depending on the scope of work and the condition of the site plan, the project may not qualify for express
Commercial Review Process (Express and Route-Through)
- Permits are started and issued at the Inspection Services Division (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 Paper 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 the 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 a 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. View Fee Schedules.
- 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 (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/drawings and submit plan revisions through the ePlan Review portal for all subsequent reviews. 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 by the Inspection Services Department (ISD).