Residential Planning

Who should apply for a permit?

The first step is to determine whether your project requires a permit. If you have any questions, contact Building Permitting Services at 540-994-8606.

Once you have determined that you need a permit you will need to assign a permit holder. The permit holder is ultimately responsible for the work performed under that permit. An owner, contractor, or authorized agent can complete and sign the permit application. The person applying for the permit should understand terms, material requirements, code requirements, and specifications, and be prepared to answer questions to clarify aspects of your project.

If you are a contractor or a homeowner who has hired a contractor, the contractor should be listed as the permit holder. In order for the permit to be put in the contractor's name you MUST provide the following:

1. A copy of the Contractor's Virginia State Contractor's License. You may verify that a contractor has a Virginia State Contractor's License at the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation website. (Note that the Building Permitting Services staff cannot accept print-outs from the website in place of a copy of the original license. 

2. A copy of the contractor's Town of Pulaski business license. You may verify that a contractor has a business license by calling 540-994-8636.
Note: Do not complete the Statement of Exemption. This is only for homeowners completing a project themselves. 

If you are the homeowner, and will be performing the work yourself, you will be the permit holder. You will need to complete the Statement of Exemption, or you may fill one out at the Building Permitting Services counter. The Affidavit is a legal document and needs to be notarized. If you choose to have the permit technician notarize the Affidavit for you, do not sign the Affidavit until you are at the Building Permitting Services counter. This Affidavit signifies that the property owner acknowledges they own the property and have the authority to undertake the improvements or alterations.

If you sign the Affidavit and then knowingly hire an unlicensed contractor you are committing a Class I Misdemeanor under title 54.1-1115 in the Code of Virginia.

If a Contractor is bidding or practicing without a State Contractor’s License they are committing a Class I misdemeanor under title 54.1-1115 in the Code of Virginia.

By hiring a Licensed Contractor you make yourself eligible for monetary relief from the Contractors Transaction Recovery Fund in case of improper and dishonest conduct. 

For further information about the limits of Class A, Class B, and Class C State contractor’s licenses refer to the Contractor Licensing Information handout.

Contact Building Permitting Services at 540-994-8606 if you have any additional questions.

Do I Need a Permit?

Permits Always Required – A permit is always required for any of the following work:

  • Porches or decks where the floor is 16.5 inches or more above the finished grade
  • Accessibility Upgrades (i.e., temporary ramps, permanent ramps, grab bars, widening doors and existing interior openings, wheelchair lifts)
  • Additions
  • Garages or carports
  • Finishing your basement
  • Secondary food preparation area - wet bar and/or food warming kitchen
  • Residential accessory buildings (sheds) greater than 256 square feet in area
  • Any barrier/fence used for pedestrian safety or for a swimming pool
  • All retaining walls supporting more than three feet of unbalanced fill
  • Retaining wall of any height that supports a surge from a structure above (walls, roads, driveways, sidewalks, etc.)
  • In-ground or above-ground swimming pools or spas impounding more than two feet of water, greater than 150 square feet, and greater than 5,000 gallons
  • Removing or altering any structural (support) members and any work involving alterations to the house plumbing, electrical, or heating and air conditioning (mechanical) systems
  • Installing a lawn irrigation system (permit required for backflow device)
  • Installing a prefabricated fireplace, insert, or wood stove
  • Installation or replacement of doors and/or windows when structural alterations are made or required
  • Replacing gas or oil furnaces, gas logs, or appliances (water heater, range, etc.)
  • Installing a new electrical circuit, fixture, or receptacle (see low voltage exception below)
  • New appliances in a new location and upgraded appliances requiring electrical, plumbing, or mechanical systems upgrades

Permits Not Required – Remember that although the work is not subject to permit requirements, the work must be performed in a manner meeting code requirements. The following work does not require permits, or is classified by the code as "ordinary repair" and not subject to permit requirements:

  • Residential accessory buildings (storage sheds) one story and 256 square feet or less in area*
  • Fences (unless required as a swimming pool barrier)*
  • Retaining walls used for landscaping purposes that are less than three feet in height and do not support a surge from any structures above (Note: Retaining wall systems composed of several tiers of individual retaining walls will require a permit of the upper wall is within two times the height of the lower wall and the overall height of the tiered retaining wall system is at least three fee.)*
  • Concrete or masonry walls provided such walls do not exceed six feet in height*
  • Re-roofing or new siding repairs
  • Replacement of 256 square feet or less of roof decking (Note: Permits are required where the decking to be replaced was required at the time of original construction to be fire retardant-treated or protected in some other way to form a fire-rated wall termination. This case is mostly applicable to townhouses.)
  • Concrete (patio) slabs on grade that are not designed to support a future building addition*
  • Temporary ramps where the height of the entrance served by the ramp is no more than 30 inches above grade*
  • Replacing windows and doors with windows and doors of similar operating and opening dimensions that do not require changes to the existing framed opening
  • Re-glazing (glass replacement in the existing windows)
  • Installation or replacement of cabinetry or trim
  • Installation or replacement of floor finishes  
  • Painting (interior or exterior) and wallpapering
  • Replacing gutters or downspouts
  • Flagpoles 30 feet or less in height*
  • Replacing existing plumbing fixtures (water closets, tubs, sinks, garbage disposals, etc.) where no alteration to the supply or drain/waste/vent systems are involved
  • Installation of low-voltage wiring (under 50 volts - door bell or security system)
  • Replacing existing light fixtures
  • Replacing existing electrical appliances when replaced in the same location with units of similar capacity where no alteration to the electrical circuit is involved
  • Replacing an electrical water heater with the same size heater in the same location
  • Replacing an electric furnace, heat pump, or air conditioning condensing unit with the same type unit in the same location
  • Repairing air-conditioners or furnaces by installing replacement parts

Pertinent Forms and Files

Residential Permit Application

Certificate of Occupancy Requirements - Single Family Dwelling Only

Electrical Upgrades

New Single Family Building Permit Application Submittal Requirements 

Required Inspections for Single Family Homes

Residential Deck Submittal Requirements 

Storage Sheds

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