Small Business Permits: Top Tips for Success

Be patient and plan ahead. Construction and build- outs take time and require that you follow all the correct procedures. Hire a professional architect.

Small Business Permits: Top Tips for Success February 2016

Getting started Congratulations! You are preparing to improve your successful small business by moving into new space or renovating your existing location. We’d like to see you back in business as soon as possible – here are our top tips to ensure that your project is a successful one. Be patient and plan ahead. Construction and buildouts take time and require that you follow all the correct procedures.

Hire a professional architect We strongly recommend that you hire a professional architect who is familiar with Virginia Building Codes. It will save you time and money in the long run. Once you have hired an architect and have a conceptual design, you may want to request a code consultation meeting with the technical staff in the County’s Inspection Services Division - so you don’t end up with any unpleasant surprises.

Choose your space wisely If you have a choice, choose the space that is already being used for your same use – it will save you time and money. When choosing your location/space, be aware of building codes and zoning ordinances. - If your use of the space is not permitted by right under zoning ordinances, you will need to: choose another space (location) or apply for a special exception (administrative change, rezoning, site plan amendment, use permit). - To determine if your proposed use is, in fact, a different use of the space, you can obtain a copy of the original Certificate of Occupancy. Come to the Zoning Office, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., 10th floor, Arlington, VA, 703-228-3883. Are you changing the building code use group classification? If so, Virginia state building code requires that a space undergoing a change You need a building in use must comply with the requirements of new buildings for the permit if you are new use. This can be very time consuming and expensive.

Documents required for permits

making any changes to the space – including its use.

All of the following documents are required for your building permit. Items 3-5 must be incorporated into your architect/engineer’s original drawings. Each page must bear the original seal and signature of the responsible Virginia registered design professional. All building permits will be submitted through our ePlan Review portal. All documents should be searchable PDFs. 1. Accessibility Compliance Form. 2. Asbestos Compliance Form. 3.

Architectural Drawings to include Code Analysis (see sample below), scaled and dimensioned floor plans, elevations, sections and details, as appropriate; room/door/window schedules, and partition schedules with fire ratings and test numbers, as appropriate. Provide key plan of floor, showing renovation space and egress to the identified floor exits. Indicate new and existing work (clouds are not an acceptable method to indicate new work).


Electrical Drawings to include riser diagram, panel/light schedules and power/light plans. Indicate new and existing work.

"Arlington will be a diverse and inclusive world-class urban community with secure, attractive residential and commercial neighborhoods where people unite to form a caring, learning, participating, sustainable community in which each person is important."

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5. Mechanical Drawings to show the location of all existing supply and return registers (if the system and ductwork are existing, indicate as such) and complete duct layout with all main and branch sizes, register sizes and CFM at each register (if ductwork is new). In addition, provide schedule for new equipment. 6. Plumbing Drawings to include riser diagrams, schedules and layouts. Indicate new and existing work.

“Express” ePlan Review service Arlington County offers an “express” ePlan Review service. This means that we can review (and potentially approve) your construction documents within 1-2 business days. Projects including any of the following are not eligible for “express” ePlan Review service; - An increase in gross floor area. - Any site change including changes to required parking; any exterior changes. - A change in Building Code Use Group. - Plans that include first floor or below; garage levels; top floor; penthouse; trailers; cranes; roof top. - Any structural modification to the building. - More than one floor of the building (multi-level alteration may be submitted for express ePlan Review on a single-floor basis -- this will require a new submission and permit for each). Please note that complex alterations requiring an extensive review may be put into the regular plan review process.

Sample Code Analysis Code Analysis for your project must be incorporated into your architect/engineer’s original drawings. This sample is not intended to be all inclusive and represents only “minimum requirements” for any plan. For example use only: Existing Building IBC Use Group Construction Type Number of Stories Above Grade High Rise (Y/N) Covered Mall (Y/N) Fully Sprinklered (Y/N) Fully Monitored (Y/N) Floor Area of Renovation

B 2C 2 N N Y N 5000

Proposed Alteration B II B 2 N N Y Y 1200

Unacceptable Bank Wood ? N ? ? ? See plans

Contact us Inspection Services Division, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., 10th Floor, Arlington, VA 22201. 703-228-3800. Visit us online:

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