Welcome to Brunswick County

Building Inspection

The Building Inspection Department controls the issuing of all building, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing permits. This department also handles all required inspections, property maintenance and complaint investigation, along with maintaining required records and annual fire inspections.

228 N. Main St. - Basement
P.O. Box 399
Lawrenceville, VA 23868
Telephone: 434-848-2962/434-848-0882
Fax: 434-848-8234

HOURS OF OPERATION:  Monday - Friday   8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Harrison Jamison, Building Official
Lacy Marks, Jr., Building Inspector
Deborah K. Givens, Planning and Building Services Technician


When do I need a building permit?

Whenever you construct, reconstruct, enlarge, alter, or demolish a structure, a building permit is required prior to starting the work.

There are several types of permits that might be necessary for any residential project depending on the scope of work being done:

The following types of projects require a Building Permit:

  • Building a new house.
  • Building an addition onto an existing house or attached garage,
  • Converting an existing deck or screened porch to Florida room (sunroom)
  • Building an attached or detached garage or carport,
  • Converting a garage to a habitable space,
  • Building a porch, screened porch, deck, associated steps or ramp,
  • Building or installing a tool shed more than 256 square feet in area,
  • Finishing off an unfinished attic, basement or room over the garage,
  • Moving or removing a load bearing wall or partition,
  • Repairing, altering, enlarging or modifying any structural element of the house; including any damaged structural element, such as load bearing stud walls, columns, piers, footings, foundations, floor joists, rafters, beams or girders,
  • Enlarging or adding a door opening or window opening,
  • Changing the use of the structure (example: change from residential use to a business use),
  • Installing a pool, hot tub or spa greater than 150 square feet, 5000 gallons, OR 24"deep.

Work that DOES NOT Require a Building Permit:

The building code allows some work to be done without obtaining a building permit. While a building permit is not required, the work must be in compliance with the code. Some examples of work that does not require a building permit include:

1. Making ordinary repairs and improvements, including, but not limited to:

  • Painting the inside or outside of the house or detached structures,
  • Repairing drywall, plaster, exterior siding, etc.
  • Installing new floor coverings, such as vinyl, carpet, or hardwood,
  • Installing or refurbishing cabinetry
  • Installing or replacing doors and windows, including storm windows, where no structural changes is performed
  • Installing or replacing exterior siding
  • Reroofing: Replacement of the roof covering in groups R-3, R-4, and R-5
  • Installing or replacing gutters and downspouts
  • Repairing or replacing siding

2. Installing driveways or sidewalks,
3. Constructing or installing a tool shed, storage shed, playhouse, etc, 256 square feet or less in area,
4. Fences of any height unless required for pedestrian safety or used for the barrier for a swimming pool - refer to subdivision covenants (if applicable),
5. Building recreational equipment, such as swings, skateboard ramps, jungle gyms, etc.,
6. Adding roof insulation,
7. Installing any wiring or equipment which operates at less than 50 volts,
8. Installing a security alarm system,
9. Replacing existing electrical water heater with a new electric water heater,
10. Replacing electrical fixtures, such as switches and receptacles,
11. Installing or replacing a ceiling fan to a pre-wired switch,
12. Replacing plumbing fixtures, such as sinks,
13. Replacing or repairing existing mechanical appliances including gas dryers, gas stove or gas range.

What is the time-frame for plan review and approval?

It is the goal of the Department of Building Inspection to review residential plans within five to ten working days. Like the other departments, this may fluctuate by season, and other prevailing circumstances.

How long is a building permit valid?

All building permits are valid for six months from the time that the permit is issued. Every time that there is an inspection on the project, the permit extends for another six (6) months.

If the building permit does expire, there will be an administrative fee assessed to reinstate the permit. To obtain the fee please see Commercial Fee Schedule, Multi-Family Fee Schedule or the Residential Fee Schedule.

If the permit does expire, there will be an administrative fee assessed to reinstate the permit. To obtain the fee please see the Fee Schedule.

Do construction plans have to be prepared by an architect or engineer?

For most single-family dwelling, a registered architect or professional engineer is not required, however for special situations they may be the best answer for your particular need. Depending on the complexity of the design, the County however may require portions of the construction documents be "sealed" by an engineer or architect, collectively referred to as "registered design professional".

What is required to install a swimming pool?

The building code requires a building permit for all swimming pools, hot tubs or spas that meet ANY of these conditions:

1. Greater than 150 square feet (approximately 7' in diameter),
2. With more than 5,000 gallons of water,
3. Deeper than 24".

The International Residential Code (IRC) does not distinguish between in-ground or above-ground, indoor or outdoor swimming pools. The code requires spas and hot tubs to conform to the same requirements as swimming pools. Pools for (fish or flora) landscaping are exempt from this section regardless of the size.

Three permits are required:

1. Pool permit,
2. Barrier permit,
3. Electrical permit.

What is required to build or install a storage shed?

A storage shed is defined in the code as:
A one-story, detached accessory structure used as a tool or storage shed, playhouse, and similar uses, and complying with these conditions:

  • The structure shall not be used for any sort of habitable space,
  • Building height does not exceed 12',[and therefore a two story structure will not qualify],
  • The maximum distance from the finished floor level to grade shall not exceed 18",
  • The structure shall be light-frame construction, whose vertical and horizontal structural elements are primarily formed by a system of repetitive wood or light gauge steel framing members.

If the structure does not meet ALL of these criteria, it will not be construed as a shed, and will have to comply with the requirements of a detached structure.

Structures 256 square feet or less do not require a building permit. The requirements for structures over 150 square feet vary with size.

What is required to build a deck?

The Department of Building Inspection has created a How to Build a Deck Guide for simple deck designs, including structural guidelines, and deck details for handrails, stairs, and ramps.

How do I schedule an inspection?

Periodically throughout the construction process, the homeowner/contractor has to request an inspection before the work can proceed. The homeowner/contractor must request an inspection. There are two ways to request these inspections:

1. Call (434)848-2962, the Building Official's office.

2. Call (434)848-0882, the Planning and Building Department.

Please be sure all the work is completed to the point of the requested inspection.