Department of Permits & Inspections
City Hall Building
801 Crawford St, 4th floor
Portsmouth, VA. 23704
Emergency after hours assistance please call
Department of Permits &
When is a Permit Needed?
Please contact staff at (757) 393-8531 for any questions
A permit is required for the following activities:
- Construction or alteration of a structure.
- Construction of an addition.
- Demolition or relocation of a structure.
- Making a change of occupancy.
- Installing or altering any equipment which is regulated by this code.
- Moving a lot line which affects an existing structure.
- Converting a duplex or multifamily Residence to a single-family residence.
- Siding, roofing, or replacement thereof in a flood hazard area or historic district.
- Replacement windows in any historic district as determined by the City.
There are design review districts in Olde Towne, Port Norfolk, Truxtun, Cradock, Park View and the Downtown area that require review and approval of ALL exterior modifications by the appropriate reviewing authority. Please contact the Planning Department at 393-8836 for further information.
Installation of wiring or equipment which operates at less than 50 volts provided the installation is not located in a noncombustible plenum or penetrating an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating.
Construction of a one story detached utility shed, playhouse, or similar use provided the floor area does not exceed 256 square feet does not require a permit unless classified as an F-1 or H occupancy. Tents and air-supported structures that cover an area of 900 square feet or less, including all connecting areas of spaces with a common means of egress or entrance and with an occupant load of 50 or less persons. Please note: Even if a building permit is not required, a zoning clearance is required! Please contact the Planning Department at 393-8836 for more information.
Replacement of plumbing and electrical fixtures, fixture fittings, plumbing and electrical appliances including electric water heaters, fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air cleaners and similar mechanical equipment, windows and doors with similar capacity and in the same location in Use Groups R-2 (four stories or less), R-3 and R-4. Changes to duct systems, plumbing supply, drain, waste and vent piping, electrical circuits, appliance vent systems (other than re-connection to replacement equipment, appliances and fixtures) require a permit.
Application is not required for ordinary repairs. Such repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety. Replacement of roofing or siding does not require a permit provided the structure is not located in a flood hazard zone or historic district.
Work which the Department of Permits & Inspections official has authorized pending receipt of application.