Permit Application Requirements



The purpose of this document is to stipulate the minimum requirements for construction documents to be submitted for the purpose of obtaining residential building permits, so that all of the information needed (plans, documents and supporting information) will be provided at the time of the original application. As a result, the permit application may be processed more efficiently with fewer rejections for insufficient information. These requirements are specifically directed toward permits for construction of new residences, but are also applicable to other construction projects (additions, renovations, decks, etc.), as appropriate to the project.


1. All construction documents shall be coordinated to accurately reflect the specific materials and their intended arrangement when the proposed construction is complete. Unused options not applicable to the specific project shall be purged out of the construction documents prior to submittal. Drawings for mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems, as well as cabinetry and trim details are not required and shall not be submitted.

2. Construction documents, with the exception of shop drawings (i.e., truss layout plans and engineered wood framing plans), shall be submitted in standard architectural scale (1/2”, 1/4”, 3/16”, or 1/8” per foot). Care should be taken when drawings are reduced to fit on a specific size of paper that they remain in a standard scale and that the details and the font remain legible.

3. All plan sheets within the construction documents shall have the same orientation and shall be numbered for easy reference. Reversed or “opposite hand” sets of drawings are permitted provided that all the sheets within the construction document set are consistently oriented.

4. All construction documents shall be legible, and in an easily readable font. Handwritten notes/changes shall be clearly readable and structurally pertinent or otherwise eliminated.

5. The construction documents with the jurisdiction’s original approved stamp must be on site for use by the inspector and contractor for all building inspections. Reproductions will not be accepted.

6. Two copies of a completed Building Permit Application form, and the following documents as applicable to the project:

A. A soil report when required by the Henrico County Soils Policy;

B. A plot (site) plan;

C. A site grading plan/environmental compliance plan when required by Henrico County Department of Public Works Environmental Compliance Manual; Lots shall be graded with a minimum 6″ in 10′ fall away from the foundation and any drainage discharge lines are to be marked. A brochure with further information regarding lot grading and drainage for new residential construction can be viewed here: Lot and Grading Brochure

D. An “Agreement in Lieu of Erosion and Sediment Control Plan” forms as required by Henrico County Department of Public Works;

E. If the application is for construction of a three-story dwelling with a habitable attic or a basement, or for a two-story dwelling with both a habitable attic and a basement, sufficient information shall be provided to determine whether the basement and/or habitable attic constitute a “Story Above Grade”. This information will determine whether the dwelling will be reviewed under the Virginia Residential Code, which is limited to dwellings 3 stories or less in height, or under the Virginia Construction Code (IBC).

F. A foundation plan;

G. A floor plan for each level;

H. The structural framing for each floor level shall be identified. The size, orientation and support of all structural members (joists, beams, headers, etc.) shall be shown on the plan, and the structural members identified as follows:

1. All wood members shall be identified by species, grade, nominal dimensions, and spacing, for example, SPF #2 2×8 @ 16” o.c.;

2. Engineered wood I-joists shall be identified by size, manufacturer, series, and spacing, for example, 14” TJI 360 @ 19.2” o.c.;

3. Engineered wood beams shall be identified by manufacturer, number of plies, size, E value, and product type, for example, TJI, (3) 9-1/2”, 1.9E, LVL;

4. Appropriate engineered wood details, including blocking details for support of concentrated loads, shall be provided;

5. Steel studs, rafters, and joists shall be identified by member designation or size and gauge, and spacing, for example, 350S162-33 @ 16” o.c. or 3-1/2” 20-gage stud @ 16”o.c.;

6. Steel beam shapes shall be identified by shape type, depth, and weight per foot, for example, W12x22;

7. Steel columns shall be not less than 3” diameter schedule 40 pipe or approved equivalent;

8. Beam calculations shall be provided for all steel and engineered wood beams.

I. An attic plan for finished or unfinished attics served by fixed stairs.

1. Habitable attics and attics served with fixed stairs shall have floors designed for a minimum of 30 psf live load.

2. Habitable attics also require that an emergency escape and rescue opening be provided and that smoke detectors be wired for inter-connection with other smoke detectors in the house.

J. A roof plan showing:

1. each individual roof member and its bearing,

2. all overbuilt roof areas, and

3. identification of all hip members and all true valleys.

K. Structural details for tall walls greater than 10’ high and 8’ wide.

L. Elevation plans depicting each side of the finished structure including designation of the building height.

M. A full-height wall section showing:

1. details of the footing, including footing size, depth, and reinforcing;

2. details of the foundation wall, including materials of construction, size, and vertical and horizontal reinforcing size and spacing, if applicable;

3. If a conditioned crawl space is to be constructed, specify the type and R-value of the crawl space perimeter wall insulation. If foam plastic insulation is to be used, provide the brand name and manufacturer and an evaluation report addressing the need for a thermal or ignition barrier for this use.

4. wall stud size and spacing;

5. floor height(s);

6. type, size and spacing of floor and ceiling framing;

7. insulation R-values;

8. type of sheathing and exterior wall covering;

9. roof structure, and roof covering material.

N. Building sections depicting the structural framing for unique framing conditions not shown elsewhere on the plans.

O. A truss layout plan with corresponding truss detail sheets. When required by the jurisdiction, truss detail sheets shall bear the stamp and seal of a Registered Design Professional (RDP).

P. A braced wall plan and calculations identifying:

1. Whether the wall bracing is designed using the “Classic Method” per Section R602.10, or the “Practical Method” per Section R602.12;

2. the braced wall line locations;

3. bracing method(s) used in each braced wall line;

4. braced wall panel locations and lengths; and

5. location of end-condition hold-down devices for braced wall panels.

Where the cumulative length of wall openings of each upper floor wall is less than or equal to the length of the openings of the wall directly below, the analysis of the upper floors, but not the upper floor wall bracing plan nor the actual wall bracing, may be waived by the Building Official.

Q. Deck plans shall specify the materials from which the deck will be constructed, and shall include the following:

1. Overall deck dimensions, including dimensions of cantilevers;

2. the size of and location of footings and support posts;

3. the size, orientation and support of girders;

4. the size, orientation, and spacing of joists;

5. the type and specification of decking boards; and

6. details of attachment to the house structure or, if the deck is to be built freestanding, details of stability bracing.

7. If the deck is attached to the house, it shall be bolted to a treated band board or bolted through masonry composite walls, but not attached to brick veneer.

8. Standard deck details are available on the jurisdiction’s website.

7. “Stick-framed” roof systems

A. A “stick-framed” hip roof can be either balanced or complex. It is defined as complex if any of the following conditions apply:

1. The house is >32’ wide perpendicular to direction of the ridge

2. The house has a nonsymmetrical roof layout (excludes overbuilt roofs and overbuilt dormers)

3. The house has a true valley

4. The roof pitch is less than 3:12

Complex roof framing systems shall be designed by a RDP (See Section III Note 6). If the hip roof system is not considered complex, ridge and hip boards can be used instead of beams.

B. All true valleys shall be sized and supported as beams

C. Ridge beams are required where lower rafter ends are not restrained against lateral thrust, such as stick-framed cathedral ceilings, and for roof pitches less than 3:12.

D. For unbalanced shed/Dutch dormer rafter systems, a ridge board is acceptable if:

1. there is less than 42” of clearance in the attic space,

2. the roof pitch is equal to or greater than 3:12 for both roofs, and

3. the rafter span for the rafter supporting the ceiling joist is at least 20% less than the maximum span allowed by the Virginia Residential Code.

Outside of these parameters, either a ridge designed and supported as a beam, with appropriate calculations provided, or a sealed engineered solution is required.

E. Rafters framed into ridge and valley beams shall be supported by rafter hangers or approved connectors.

8. Point loads and reactions

A. The location of all point loads in excess of 4000 pounds shall be clearly denoted to show the load path from its origin to the foundation and footing.

B. The header sizes in load bearing walls shall be specified.

C. Columns

1. Wood columns shall be identified by grade and species or will be assumed to be SPF stud grade.

2. The number of studs in a built up wood column shall be indicated on the plans.

3. A maximum of five studs is permitted without an engineered design.

4. Engineered wood products or steel shall be identified on the plans. Manufacturer’s load capacity tables shall be provided.

D. Manufacturer’s blocking details for load transfer shall be provided for all engineered wood products

E. The specific make and model of beam, girder, and truss hangers shall be identified on the plans for hangers supporting all multiple-ply trusses or when the supported reaction is over 2500 pounds.

9. The location of fire rated assemblies shall be clearly identified along with the testing lab details/design numbers

10. The location of retaining walls with 3’ of unbalanced backfill or greater shall be noted on plans and appropriate design information shall be provided. See Section III, Note 1.

11. Foam Plastics – An evaluation report for foam plastic insulation that is intended to be left exposed shall be provided. The report shall identify the manufacturer and the product used, and shall describe the conditions of use, designating specific requirements for ignition and thermal barriers.


In accordance with the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code, a building official may require adequate technical detail be submitted to determine the code compliance of a RDP’s submittal. This may include calculations, stress diagrams or other essential technical date. Where a RDP seals plans for a specific structural element, or for the entire house, or submits a letter indicating that the plans have been reviewed for structural adequacy, engineering calculations are not required to be submitted unless requested by the Building Official.

The following plans require the signature and seal of a Registered Design Professional:

1. All retaining walls not laterally supported at the top and that retain in excess of 48 inches of unbalanced fill height.

2. Basement walls without both stone fill and drain tile in accordance with the Virginia Residential Code.

3. Tall walls that exceed 10 feet in height and 8 feet in width, except for the following:

A. Tall walls designed in accordance with the Virginia Residential Code.

B. Tall walls relying on engineered product designs in accordance with their listings contained in research reports prepared by an accredited agency.

4. Truss design drawings, except layout drawings

5. Brick veneer lintel details that do not comply with the provisions of the Virginia Residential Code. Note: All wood construction supporting brick veneer shall be designed for a maximum total load deflection of L/600.

6. Complex roof designs as defined by Section II, note 7 (“Stick-framed Roof Systems) of this document.

7. Structural braced wall systems that do not comply with the Virginia Residential Code, except for engineered product designs in accordance with their listings contained in research reports prepared by an accredited agency.

8. Footing design when required by soils report.

9. Revisions to construction documents that were sealed by a Registered Design Professional (RDP) shall be resealed by the original RDP.

Contact Us

Building Inspections

Physical Address
Department of Building Construction and Inspections
4301 East Parham Road
Henrico, VA 23228

(804) 501-4360
Automated Permit System
(804) 501-7770

Mailing Address
Department of Building Construction and Inspections
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

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