A building permit is required for any new construction, alterations, additions, demolitions, accessory buildings, swimming pools, and/or other types of construction, which will improve or upgrade any property in the City of Harrisonburg.
The City of Harrisonburg enforces the
Roof live load is 30 pounds per square foot minimum, non-reduced.
Roof dead load is 10 pounds per square foot, non-reduced.
Note: These are minimum design loads. Loads exceeding these minimums shall require a registered design professional to address the actual loads.
Wind speed is 90 miles per hour, frost depth is 30 inches, seismic category is B, and the ground snow load is 42.5 pounds per square foot.
Pre-approvals from City departments are required. Completed checklist must be submitted with Building Permit Application.
The Asbestos Questionnaire is required to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Code of Virginia and the most recently adopted edition of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. It must be completed for all permit applications for existing buildings and structures, such as building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire protection, and sign permits. It is not required for new free standing buildings or structures.
[159KB] Asbestos Questionnaire
If applicable, a copy of the Certificate of Asbestos Inspection. All structures built prior to January 1, 1985 must submit an asbestos inspection certificate for buildings being renovated or demolished. For exemptions, view the Virginia Construction Code, Part 1 Section 110.3.
[500KB] Building Permit Application - also submit required site plan, building plans, etc. described below.
Required Information on Building Permit Application
- The owner's complete name, present mailing address, and phone number.
- The contractor's complete name, present mailing address, phone number, copy of state class "A", "B", or "C" contractor's registration, and city business license number.
- The appropriate fee, based on total value- including labor and materials for building, plumbing electrical and mechanical work. Checks should be made payable to the City of Harrisonburg.
The Impervious Square Footage Form is required for all building and demolition permits.
Once an application has been submitted, it is forwarded to the Planning, Zoning and Engineering Divisions for review for compliance with zoning requirements and any site plans issues. It is then returned to the Building Inspections Division for final review, approval and issuance of the building permit.
Submit one (1) site plan. The site plan must include:
- A north indicator.
- The actual dimensions of the lot drawn to a scale of 1"=20' and drawn to the actual bearings of the lot.
- The actual location and dimensions of any existing structures on the lot.
- The actual location and dimensions of any structures being erected.
- The actual dimensional front, side, and rear yard setbacks from the lot lines to the structure, including but not limited to: covered porches, decks, stairwells, etc. Information on minimum setback requirements are available in the City's Zoning Ordinance. If questions, contact the Planning & Zoning Division at 540-432-7700.
- The actual square footage of the lot.
- All required off-street parking. See Zoning Ordinance Section 10-3-30, Off-Street Parking for requirements. If questions, contact the Planning & Zoning Division at 540-432-7700.
Submit two (2) sets of the following, one set will remain on the record of the Building Inspection Office and the other will be stamped "approved" and returned to the owner or contractor and shall remain on the job site at all times during construction:
- A floor plan for each floor drawn to 1/4" scale.
- A typical wall or specific wall section drawn to scale.
- At least two elevations of the structure drawn to scale.
- All drawings shall show the overall dimensions of the structure, the internal dimensions of each room located within the structure, and the dimensional height of the structure.
- All rooms on the floor plans shall be labeled as to their use, e.g., bedroom, kitchen, etc.
- All bathrooms and kitchens shall show the location of all fixtures and appliances to be installed.
- All doors, windows, and stairways shall be sized on the drawings.
An architect's and/or engineer's seal is required on all drawings for assembly, educational, high hazard, institutional, apartment, hotel-motel and dormitory uses regardless of size. Other uses not listed above may require an architect's and/or engineer's seal depending on the square footage and/or height of the structure.
Supplemental plans may be required. Such supplemental plans would include, but not be limited to: Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical, Fire Sprinkler Systems, and other supplemental plans as may be deemed necessary by the Building Inspection Office.
The building permit shall be displayed on the outside of the building or premises where it is plainly visible from the street, and shall not be removed until the building or renovation is complete and ready for occupancy.
Following is a list of required inspections:
- Building: Footers, slab, foundation, framing, insulation, drywall, chimney, firewall, fire separation wall, final and others as necessary.
- Plumbing: Under slab, rough-in, service lines, final and others as necessary
- Electrical: Under slab, rough-in, final and others as necessary
- Mechanical: Under slab, rough-in, gas lines, gas fireplaces or logs, final and others as necessary
All listed inspections shall be scheduled by the contractor, owner, or owner's authorized agent. The permit number, address, and type of inspection to be made must be given to the permit clerk in order to schedule an inspection.
Once the final building inspection has been completed and approved, a Certificate of Occupancy shall be issued prior to any occupancy.
- In addition to the building permit, separate permits are required for electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work.
- For commercial work, a sign permit is required for the installation of any sign. (See procedure for obtaining a sign permit.)
- If desiring to do so, the owner may do the work as long as the proper permit has been obtained, all required inspections are called for, and an affidavit is signed by the owner.
- When submitting supplemental drawings for fire suppression systems, four (4) sets of drawings and four (4) sets of calculations are required.
Demolition, electrical, fire suppression system, mechanical, plumbing, roofing, and other permits related to construction can be found on the Permit Directory page.
A full list of fees can be found on the Fees Directory page.
Questions regarding building permits can be answered by the Building Inspections Division at 540-432-7700.