Permits & Inspections

The Department of Permits and Inspections encompasses the divisions of Building Inspections, Property Maintenance/Zoning, and Rental Inspections. The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code mandates all services performed by the Department of Permits and Inspections.
*Attention: Building Fee Schedule Changes*
As of July 1st, 2017, an ordinance amending Appendix A of the Code of the City of Portsmouth, Virginia (Building Fee Schedule) shall take effect.


Services Provided

The Building Inspections Division enforces the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) as it relates to the construction, alterations, renovation, or the change of use of buildings. Services provided are:
  • Permit application review and approval
  • Plan review
  • Permit issuance
  • Inspections
  • Enforcement of floodplain regulations
  • Issue stop work orders
  • Issue notices of violation
  • Issuance of certificates of occupancy
We strive to ensure that a structure is sound and reasonably safe from structural failure, accidental fire, and other hazards.

 Property Maintenance/Zoning and Rental Inspections Division

The Property Maintenance/Zoning and Rental Inspections Division enforces the Virginia Maintenance Code, as well as pertinent local ordinances as set forth in the Code of Virginia. This division performs inspection of all existing properties, owner-occupied or rental, to ensure that they meet the minimum code requirements and standards for structural safety, ventilation, heating, sanitation, protection from the elements, fire safety, and other hazards to protect the health, and welfare of our citizens. Inspectors also respond to nuisance complaints such as inoperable motor vehicles, weeds and debris, and enforce the Derelict Structures Ordinance.

Inspectors also perform zoning investigations. Through this program the division provides oversight of the City’s Historic Districts and Downtown Design Districts, citing owners who perform exterior alterations without proper approval and/or building permits. This division also enforces the sign ordinance. Properties that have been illegally converted in use also come under the purview of this division for notification of violations of the City’s zoning code.


The Department will endeavor to provide services in a professional, courteous, and timely manner, as well as provide efficient response to citizen concerns and requests for information. Our business is to enforce the code in a fair and equitable manner while providing for consumer protection, public safety, sustainable new construction, and preservation of the city’s neighborhoods and historic character.