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, additions and renovations, and land disturbance.
Below, you will find an overview of the Residential Building Permit review process and criteria for Residential ePlan Review process.
Residential building permits require an express review or a route-through review, depending on the complexity of the project. Residential express reviews can usually be done same day. Residential route-through reviews require more time, usually 1-2 weeks.
Residential express reviews are available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 2 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. Before you submit your application, please review Common Plan Rejection Reasons to ensure your plan’s acceptance.
Express Review Criteria
* A residential express review is intended to be accomplished in a short amount of time. If the nature or complexity of the proposed work precludes a quick review, the project may be classified as a route-through review even though it meets the following criteria.
- The space must be less than 750 sq. ft.
- Work is limited to one story only and must be located on the ground floor or basement of the house
- Basements must have the minimum code required ceiling height for a basement
- The house must have a maximum of three toilets; including any new toilets in the proposed work; or the house must have an existing 1” water service line
- Must be less than 2,500 square feet of land disturbance
Route-Through Review Criteria
*Extending the footprint requires the submission of a scaled plat to the Zoning office and the elevation must be documented on the submitted plans.
- The space is greater than 750 sq. ft.
- The space needs alteration to the ceiling height
- The basement is considered a story above grade
- The project extends beyond the original building foot print*
- The project includes all new floor joists at any one story
- The dwelling is not habitable during the period of construction
- The habitable space of the dwelling square footage increases 100% or more
- The project adds a fourth (4th ) toilet in the house
- The elevation drawings demonstrate that the outside appearance of the dwelling bears little or no resemblance to the existing structure
- The estimated cost of the new construction is 75% or more of the improved value of the existing dwelling and the calculated value of the new construction is 100% or more the value of the existing dwelling
Residential Review Process (Express and Route-Through)
- For a successful permit application, follow the submission requirements.
- Upon receipt of your ePlan submission, an ISD specialist will enter the application information and generate a permit number for the plans.
- Residential Route-Through Permits require a filing fee equal to 27% of the total building permit fee before the plans will be forwarded for review. No filing fee is required for Residential Express Permits.
- Filing fees can be made with a check made out to the Arlington County Treasurer, cash, or a credit or debit card. Pay for Inspection Services Division (ISD), Zoning and DES permits in-person at our service counters. 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.
- 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 as required. Separate submissions to each department are not required.
- Residential Express Reviews will take approximately two (2) days, while Residential Route-Through Reviews may take 1-2 weeks.
- Once all three departments have approved the documents, 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. Residential construction drawing sets should be printed on a minimum sheet size of 11” x 17.” 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 plans are rejected by Zoning, ISD 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 Review 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 now begin their construction.
- Many residential building permits require additional trade permits (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing) 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.
- Throughout your construction process you will need to complete different inspections depending upon your project’s scope. See Residential Inspections for more information.