What type of work requires a building permit?
A permit is typically required for all new construction. Renovations or repairs will require a permit if they involve adding walls, removing walls, constructing or enclosing decks, or adding any accessory structure over 200 sq. ft. Permits are also required to replace gas-fueled appliances and HVAC systems or to perform most electrical work. You do not need a permit for cosmetic work, such as painting, new siding, new roof shingles, flooring, etc. (ref. § 6-1 Code of County of Henrico and 13VAC5-63-80 Virginia Administrative Code)
How long does it take to get a building permit?
If all information is turned in correctly, residential addition permit applications that are dropped off at the Permit Centers should take 1 – 2 weeks. If you have a small single-story addition, deck, patio, or similar structure, or a residential electrical, plumbing, or mechanical permit, you can usually walk your permit through in about an hour (or drop it off for a 2-3 day review). Larger residential reviews, such as new home permits, will take about 3 weeks and will be issued through the Department of Building Construction and Inspections. (ref. 13VAC5-63-100)
How large can an accessory structure be, and where can it be placed on my lot?
In most single-family residential zoning districts:
- Accessory structures cannot be located in the front yard.
- In any R district, the buildings or structures in the aggregate may not occupy more than 30 percent of the required minimum rear yard for the district.
- The maximum allowed height of any accessory structure is 20 feet, measured from average finished grade to the midpoint of the roof line (and can be no higher than the dwelling).
- The structure can be no closer than 10 feet away from the primary building on the lot, and any street or alley lines, nor less than 6 feet away from other accessory structures.
- Structures can be no less than 3 feet away from any other lot line (side/rear). (Note – if located closer than 5 feet, additional regulations from Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) may apply)
Please check with your homeowners’ association to make sure no additional covenants and restrictions apply. (ref. § 24-95(i) Henrico Code)
Where can I place a fence on my property, and what are the height requirements?
Within residential zoning districts, fences can be constructed to (but entirely within) your property line. Maximum height in rear and side yards is 7 feet. In the front yard, the maximum allowable height is 3 and 1/2 feet. Fences cannot be constructed within required buffers and should not be placed within easements without permission from the easement holder. Up to 6 feet in height, no permit is required. (ref. § 24-95(l) Henrico Code and 13VAC5-63-80)
What is the zoning of my property?
To check the zoning of your property, you can use our Street Name Search engine. Choose your street name from the scroll-down menu. Find your address in the list and click the link associated with it. From there you have options to view tax sheets, zoning sheets, and any subdivision plats that may exist. Choose the zoning map option – these maps delineate the zoning of property. A “C” next to the zoning, i.e. “R-4C”, indicates that there are proffers associated with the zoning. For further questions regarding the zoning of your property and any development proffers associated, please contact us at 501-7280.
Can I get a copy of my survey?
The Permit Center can assist you in obtaining a copy of the plat for your subdivision, tax maps/zoning maps, and custom maps from the Geographic Information System (GIS). However, individual mortgage surveys or boundary surveys for a parcel are performed by private land surveying firms and are not on file in this Department. Recorded plats and deeds can be located in the Records Room of the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court (general information about the Clerk’s Office located here).
Does the County have a map showing wetlands?
No, the US Army Corps of Engineers governs the delineation of wetlands on a site-by-site basis. The Engineering and Environmental Services Division of the Department of Public Works can assist you with questions regarding wetlands and RPA (Resource Protection Areas) and can be reached at (804) 501-4396.
Does the County have a map that shows floodplain?
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) maps delineating flood hazard areas can be viewed or purchased at the FEMA map center. The Permit Center also has copies of these maps available. In addition, Henrico County has a floodplain layer in our GIS system showing the approximate limits of floodplains. Many lending and insurance institutions require a homeowner to submit an elevation certificate showing the FEMA Floodplain elevation. Often, this will require contacting a professional engineer or a certified land surveyor.
Are GIS maps or real estate records available via the internet?
Real estate records are not available through remote access. Public computer work-stations that can access these records are located in each of the Permit Centers and in the office of the Division of Real Estate Assessment for the Department of Finance.
GIS with layers relating to basic property information is now available on our website here . Full GIS with many additional layers can be researched at either of the Permit Center locations.