While every project will have its own timeline and requirements, here’s an outline of the basic workflow that guides planning, permitting, inspecting, occupation and maintenance.
Determine the Zoning District in which your project is located. The Zoning Division can help with this determination. If you come to the Zoning office, bring a scaled plat of your property.
Check the Zoning Ordinance to determine if your project is allowed by-right or requires additional approval.
In addition to the Zoning Ordinance, the County Code, and requirements set by the Department of Environmental Services (DES), all new projects must follow the current Building Code. If you have questions about the Building Code, you may wish to request a free Code Consultation.
Most projects require permits. The Permit Library lists permits issued by Arlington County and allows you to search by permit name or by a keyword or key phrase.
Homeowners may wish to check the permitting requirements for various common residential projects.
All permits have fees and guidelines. See Fee Schedules to determine which fees apply to your permits.
- Apply for permits online or on paper, depending on the permit type.
- Stay updated on the status of your permits.
Leave time for the review process(es) associated with your permits, which are critical to ensure that proposed construction projects meet safety and code requirements. Also, leave time for correction and resubmission of your permit applications.
To find the permit history of a property,
- Search by address (if the permit was issued in the past five (5) years)
- Submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (if the permit in question was issued more than five (5) years ago, or if you don’t find the permit by an address search)
Most projects require Inspections at certain milestones in the building process. You have the responsibility to schedule inspections.
After an inspection, you can check the results and make comments.
Many projects require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO), which ensures that a building or proposed use of a building/land complies with all Arlington laws and regulations. Obtaining the CO is crucial; no occupancy can take place until its issuance.
Completing a project is cause for celebration. When the excitement dies down, it’s time to turn your attention to maintenance.
Some completed projects may require regular inspections by Arlington County entities such as the Department of Environmental Services (DES), the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Fire Marshal’s Office.