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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:
Ordinary repairs and exceptions are:
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.
Once a plan is submitted, the zoning administrator must review and approve the plan before the building official reviews the plan. Once the building official approves the plan, a permit is issued if other requirements are met. In addition to the building division review, many projects require review by Planning, Public Works an Utilities and the Fire Department. Plan reviews ensure project can be built within code requirements which cut down on field inspection delays costing time and money.
The Planning Division will review all building permits for new work, additions, change of use, and remodeling. This department will check for compliance with the city zoning ordinance, review erosion and sedimentation control plans, ensure compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, Architectural Review Board, and review other state and local land-use laws. Contact Planning at 757-220-6130.
The Public Works and Utilities Department reviews storm drainage, street, road, and utility construction. They also assist the Planning Department in evaluating environmental and traffic impacts. This department is responsible for inspections of utilities placed in any city right of way. Contact Public Works at (757) 220-6140.
The Fire Department reviews plans with the building official for fire alarms, commercial kitchen range hoods, and sprinkler systems. The Fire Department does not issue building permits. Plans should be submitted to the Codes Compliance, who will forward them to the Fire Department for review. Contact the Fire Department at 757-220- 6220 or 757-220-6226.
In certain areas of the city, approvals may be required from the Architectural Review Board. Certain projects may require approval by the Planning Commission and City Council before the building permit process begins. For information on required Planning Commission or the Architectural Review Board requirements, contact the Planning Department at 757-220-6130.
The larger the project and the greater the impact, the more reviews, and approvals are required. Planning ahead for large projects is best and saves time. Approvals by departments and boards, and an approved site plan, if applicable, are required before issuance of building permits.
As part of the non-residential site and building review, the building official will check for compliance with the applicable provisions, as adopted in the Uniform Statewide Building Code and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Portions of ADA were adopted into the building code in 1992. The standard was adopted to ensure accessibility to persons with physical disabilities to any building.
This code has retrofit provisions in existing facilities and requires documentation at the time of permit application. A copy of renovation/addition compliance worksheet is available in the Codes Compliance Office.
When demolishing or renovating a non-residential building, there are requirements to document proper asbestos inspection and removal. Ask the Codes Compliance Division for a copy of the law to see if it applies to you.
Local and Hampton Roads utility connection fees must be paid before obtaining permits. Standard fees may be obtained and are paid through the Codes Compliance Division.
As a part of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (or USBC), criteria were established for building permits. In addition to permits for new construction, there are permits for:
Code Section 109 deals with permit applications and building permits. USBC Section 110.7 states, "The approved permit shall be a license to proceed with the work in accordance with the USBC, the application for permit and any approved amendments thereto. The approved permit shall not be construed as authority to omit or amend any of the provisions of the USBC, except when modification is granted in accordance with this chapter.
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Contact 911 for Police and Fire emergencies.
Contact 757-220-2331 for Water and Sewer emergencies and for Police non-emergencies. For other non-emergency information and requests, use our staff directory to email or leave a phone message to the appropriate person or department. A drop box for payments is available at the main entrance to the Municipal Building to the left of the door. The Municipal Building is located at:401 Lafayette StreetWilliamsburg, VA, 23185-3617
The City’s business hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. City offices will be closed for the following holidays:
The Williamsburg mailing address contains 3 localities:
Check the Williamsburg Street Listing (PDF) to determine if you reside in the City. If there are questions regarding the crossings of James City County, York County, and the City of Williamsburg, please contact one of our departments and we will assist you in determining your locality.
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