Building Office FAQs

A permit is required whenever any of the following apply:

  • Constructing, enlarging, altering reparing, or demolishing a building or structure.
  • Changing the use of a building either within the same use group or to a different use group when the new use requires greater degrees of structural strength, fire protection, exit facilities, ventilation or sanitary provisions.
  • Installing or altering any equipment which is regulated by the building code.
  • Removing or disturbing any asbestos containing materials during demolition, alteration, renovation of or additions to buildings or structures.

Application for a permit shall be made by the owner or lessee of the building or agent of either, or by the licensed professional engineer, architect, contractor or subcontractor (or their respective agents) employed in connection with the proposed work.

Any permit issued shall become invalid if the work on the site authorized by the permit is not commenced within six months after issuance of the permit, or if the authorized work on the site is suspended or abandoned for a period of six months after the time of commencing the work, however, permits issued for building equipment such as plumbing, electrical, and mechanical work shall not become invalid if the building permit is still in effect. It shall be the responsibility of the permit applicant to prove to the building official that the work has not been suspended or abandoned.

The time varies depending on the caliber and/or complexity of the project but can usually be released within one to three working days.

Application for a single family residence would require 2 sets of plans (to scale), an approved sewage disposal permit (issued by the Department of Health), a site plan indicating the location of the structure from all property lines and also indicating measurements from waterfronts and/or wetlands (if applicable). The plans must indicate a wind zone of 100 mph and a snow load of 20 lbs. They must also have indicated the brace wall lines and method of wall bracing in accordance with section 602.10-602.10.8 of the 2006 Virginia Residential Code.

Refer to the Lancaster County Fee Schedule. After-the-Fact Permit - Double the normal fee

Yes. If your place of residence was in a locality that did not participate in the Tradesman Certification Program you may qualify to become grandfathered in that trade. Contact should be made to the Tradesman Certification Office, DPOR, 3600 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230-4917 or call 804-367-8511.

A Building Permit Application is available by download on this page. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view this file.

To receive additional assistance please contact the Building Official at 8311 Mary Ball Road, Lancaster, VA 22503 or call 804-462-5480.