When is a building permit required?

Uniform Statewide Building Code

Building permits are required for most construction activities. Uniform Statewide Building Code Section 108 requires a permit to be issued by the building official when:

  1. Constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing, or demolishing a building or structure.
  2. Changing the use of a building either within the same use group or to a different use group when the new use requires greater degrees of structural strength, fire protection, exit facilities, or sanitary provisions.
  3. Installing or altering any equipment which is regulated by this code.
  4. Removing any asbestos-containing material.
  5. When erecting a tent greater than 900 square feet in size and intended to be used by ten or more persons.
  6. When installing or extending any plumbing, electrical, or mechanical systems.
  7. When moving a lot line which affects an existing structure’s continued compliance with the building regulation under which it was built.

Ordinary Repairs & Exceptions

Ordinary repairs and exceptions are:

  1. Installation of wiring and equipment which operates at less than 50 volts, except when the installation is located in a noncombustible plenum or penetrates a fire-resistance-rated assembly.
  2. One-story detached accessory structures not exceeding 256 square feet (23.78 meters squared) of building area, except when accessory to Use Group F or H structures. The Williamsburg Architectural Review Board may require approval.
  3. Tents and air-supported structures that cover an area of 900 square feet (84 meters squared ) or less, including all connecting areas or spaces with a common means of egress or entrance and with an occupant load of 50 or less persons.
  4. Work which the code official has authorized pending receipt of an application.
  5. Ordinary repairs which include, but are not to be limited to, the following:
    1. Replacement of mechanical or plumbing equipment and appliances, except those fueled by gas or oil, within the dwelling unit in occupancies of Use Group R-2, which are four stories or less in height and in occupancies of Use Groups R-3 and R-4.
    2. Replacement of roof coverings or siding in Groups R-3, R-4, or R-5 structures, provided the structure is not in an area where the design wind speed is greater than 100 miles per hour and replacement of 100 square feet or less of roof covering in all groups and all wind zones.
    3. Installation of cabinets in all occupancies.
    4. Installation or replacement of floor finishes in all occupancies.
    5. Painting any portion of a structure, repair of plaster, interior tile, and other wall coverings in all occupancies.
    6. Replacement of windows and doors and electrical switches, outlets, light fixtures, and ceiling fans within the dwelling unit in occupancies of Use Group R-2, which are four stories or less in height and in occupancies of Use Groups R-3 and R-4.
  6. Ordinary 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 the addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas or oil, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.

When a permit is required, it must be obtained before work begins. Only in emergency situations will work be allowed to start before obtaining a permit. These situations would include needs for emergency heat, hot water, or replacement safety glass. Permits, notifications, and inspections must be obtained the next working day.

You do not need a permit for ordinary repairs and specific exceptions to the code.

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1. When is a building permit required?
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4. What is a building permit?
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