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Website updated by

Anthony McMahan

9/20/13

 

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Staff 


Paul Koll
Building Official
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Celeste DeSimone
Permit Technician II
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Theresa Soles
Permit Technician

Tom Hodges
Building Inspector
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Anthony McMahan
Combination Inspector
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George Seely
Combination Inspector

Frequently Asked Questions
When is it a requirement to obtain a permit?
What permits do I need to build a house?
How much does a permit cost?
Do I need a permit for a swimming pool?
Do I need plans to build a deck?
What about inspections after obtaining a permit?
Can I apply for my own permit as a homeowner?
How do I know if my contractor has a license?
How do I know what the codes are?
Do I need a permit for a fence?
Do I need a permit to demolish a building?
When can I speak to an inspector?
What if I don't 'build' something, just do interior work?
What is the wind load for Gloucester County?
How can I get information about my septic system?
How can I find out if my property is located in a flood zone?
What if my building is only temporary?
What about woodstoves?
What's the difference between a manufactured home and a modular?




When is it a requirement to obtain a permit?
Whenever constructing, adding to, altering, removing, or changing the use of a structure.  Also whenever installing or altering equipment regulated by the Virginia USBC, and removing or disturbing any asbestos or lead containing materials.

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What permits do I need to build a house?
After obtaining your septic and well permits from the Health Department, you will first need a land disturbing permit issued by the Environmental Department and a zoning permit issued by the Planning and Zoning Department.  Application may be made for all permits simultaneously or individually in stages.  After the building permit is issued, subsequent permits will be needed such as the trades permits, including electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits.  Click here for a list of steps.

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How much does a permit cost?
Fees are calculated after the plan review is complete.  Some fees are based on the size of the structure (square footage) and others are based on the cost of the project, such as alterations and renovations.  All permits have a $35.00 minimum permit fee.  Click here for a complete fee schedule.

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Do I need a permit for a swimming pool?
Pools, spas and hot tubs require permits and safety barriers if they meet any of the following conditions: Exceed 24" in depth, 5000 gallons of water, 150 sq. ft. in area (14' diameter).  Find more information in our residential swimming pools brochure.

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Do I need plans to build a deck?
Plans are required for review prior to issuance of a deck permit.  You may draw your own plans, have your design professional draw them, or you may use the pre printed deck detail.  If that is the preferred choice, the deck will need to be constructed in accordance with the plan.

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What about inspections after obtaining a permit?
The work needs to be checked by an inspector to ensure that the work is done safely and properly.  The inspector can also offer advice on how to proceed should problems arise.  Other reasons for inspections are legal and financial liabilities.  Follow this link for an inspection procedure.

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Can I apply for my own permit as a homeowner?
Yes.  For residential work, you do not have to be a licensed contractor to build your own house or work on your project if you are the homeowner/property owner.  However, if you hire a contractor, it is your responsibility to ensure they are licensed and the contractor should obtain the permit.

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How do I know if my contractor has a license?
You should ask the person you choose to hire to show you their license credentials.  Be sure they are licensed and insured.  You may also check the website of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) or call them at (804) 367-8511.  A local business license is required in addition to a state license.  If you need additional help, contact this office.

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How do I know what the codes are?
General code questions may be answered in this office by calling (804) 693-2744.  For more in depth code information, consult the 2009 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code and the 2009 International Building Code.

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Do I need a permit for a fence?
Generally fences do not require permits but may if you propose a privacy fence that exceeds 6 feet in height, to ensure it will be properly braced.

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Do I need a permit to demolish a building?
Yes.  A permit is required for both residential and commercial demolition.  It's a good idea to obtain a permit so the structure will be removed from your real estate assessment and you will no longer be taxed for the structure.  Commercial structures may require an asbestos report prior to issuance of the permit.

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When can I speak to an inspector?
The inspectors are routinely on a daily schedule from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in the office and then are out performing inspections until around 3:00 p.m. when they return to the office until 4:00 p.m.  They may be contacted by telephone during the above office times or by email at any time.  Email links are located under staff below the left navigation on the Building Inspection webpages.

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What if I don't 'build' something, just do interior work?
Interior alterations and renovations require permits if structural changes are being made or electrical, plumbing or mechanical changes are being made.  For residential uses, cosmetic changes such as floor covering and sheetrock do not require permits.

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What is the wind load for Gloucester County?
Gloucester is located in the 100 MPH wind zone.  Get more information regarding basic design criteria.

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How can I get information about my septic system?
Permits obtained for septic systems (septic tank and drainfield) and wells are issued by the Gloucester County Health Department and they may be reached at (804) 693-6130.

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How can I find out if my property is located in a flood zone?
Flood maps are available in the Building Inspection office and may be viewed during normal office hours.  You may also visit the FEMA website and print your own FIRMette of your property.

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What if my building is only temporary?
Temporary structures require permits and inspections the same as permanent structures.  "Portable" buildings also require permits.

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What about woodstoves?
Woodstoves require permits and inspections and are to be listed and labeled and installed per manufacturers' installation instructions.  View this guide for more information.

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What's the difference between a manufactured home and a modular?
Manufactured homes, previously known as mobile homes, are designed, constructed, inspected, and certified under a federal program administered by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
These homes are built on a permanent chassis, are transportable in one or more sections, are designed to be used as single family dwellings when connected to the required utilities, may be sited with or without a permanent foundation, and include the plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, and electrical systems contained in the structure.  Follow this link for details and an image of the label.  Modular homes have an industrial seal rather than a 'HUD seal' and are built off site to the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.

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