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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Building Code Standards does Wythe County use?

Wythe County, along with all other localities in the State of Virginia, utilizes the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC). This is a set of guidelines produced by the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development. It is based upon the model codes published by the following organizations:

  • ICC - International Building Code-Includes international residential plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, and energy conservation codes (March 01, 2011)
  • ICC - International Fire Code (March 01, 2011)
  • NFPA 70 - National Electrical Code (March 01, 2011)
  • DHCD - Virginia Amendments to International Codes
    • Part I VUSBC - Virginia Construction Code (March 01, 2011)
    • Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code
    • Virginia Building and Fire Code Related Laws Package
    • Virginia Manufactured Home Safety Regulations
    • Virginia Industrialized Building Safety Regulations
    • Virginia Amusement Device Regulations
  • American National Standard - Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities

    To view building codes click here.

Do I need a building permit?

A building permit is required before:

  • Constructing, moving, altering, or demolishing a building or structure.
  • Changing the use of a building where the new use requires different structural strength, fire protection, exits, or sanitary provisions.
  • Installing or altering any equipment which is regulated by the building code.


Examples that REQUIRE a building permit:

  • Add or replace an existing deck (if over 30 inches in height)
  • Replace roofing
  • Finish an unfinished area or basement
  • Replace water or sewer service lines
  • Install a swimming pool (more than 24 inches deep)
  • Install new electrical circuits
  • Install gas fired heaters or fireplace logs
  • Detached garage or utility building greater than 256 sq. ft. in size
  • Changes to heating and ventilation duct systems, water and wastewater piping, appliance vent systems and gas piping, other than reconnection to replacement equipment
  • Modification of interior or exterior wall framing


Examples that DO NOT REQUIRE a building permit:

  • Painting or decorating
  • Decks less than 30 inches in height
  • Repairs to interior walls and wall coverings
  • Detached utility sheds less than 256 sq. ft. in size (no plumbing or electrical)
  • Repair or replacement of existing plumbing and electrical fixtures
  • Replacement of common appliances such as water heaters, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, fans, and similar equipment
  • Replacing kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  • Install exterior siding
  • Replacement doors and windows (no framing changes)
  • Low-voltage lighting systems (less than 50 volts)
  • Construction for agricultural use

How much does a building permit cost?

Building permit costs are based on the square footage of the construction. Remodeling that does not change the square footage of the building is charged the minimum fee.

Description Permit Fee
Residential:
Residential Structures $0.16 per sq.ft.
Manufactured Home $0.16 per sq.ft.
Minimum Fee
$50.00
Multi-Inspection Fee for each Repeat Inspection
$20.00
Commercial Factory-Industrial, Storage Building:
first 20,000 sq. ft. $0.16 per sq.ft.
next 20,001 to 40,000 sq. ft. $0.08 per sq.ft.
next 40,001 to 60,000 sq. ft. $0.04 per sq.ft.
next 60,001 to 80,000 sq. ft. $0.02 per sq.ft.
all over 80,000 sq. ft. $0.01 per sq.ft.
Minimum Fee $50.00
Change of Use for an Existing Structure

$50.00 per hour of plan review
Plus 50% of building fee cost (square footage)

Demolition of Building/Storage Tanks $100.00
Cell Tower $400.00
Co-located on existing cell tower $50.00
Multi-Inspection Fee for each Repeat Inspection
$20.00

Please note: A 2% State Levy Tax will be assessed on the above fees

Soil Erosion & Sediment Application: $100.00 plus $50.00 (Bond Required) per week *


* - for duration of project until permanent stabilization is applied. Applicant must specify project time, and applicant must amend the application and pay additional fee for extended period of project.

Description Permit Fee
Utility building less than 256 sq. ft.  - no plumbing or electrical - 0 -
Agricultural Use - 0 -


The following are exempt from paying building permit fees

  • Agricultural buildings
  • State owned buildings
  • Town owned buildings (must obtain building permit)
  • Church buildings (must obtain building permit)


If you use a contractor to perform the work, the contractor must meet the following licensing requirements:

  • Class "C" license for construction costs from $1,000 to $7,500
  • Class "B" license for construction costs from $7,501 to $70,000
  • Any construction costing over $70,001 requires a Class A license
  • Class "A" license contractors are unrestricted in the dollar amount of contracts they may complete


Click here for a list of all licensed Virginia Contractors.


What information is needed before getting a building permit?

You can save yourself a lot of time, trouble, and extra trips to the building inspection department by making sure you have all of the information needed to get a building permit.

Requirements for building permit application - Manufactured Homes

Requirements for building permit application - All Other Buildings


Who may apply for a building permit?

Permits may be applied for by the owner or lessee of the building, or by the licensed engineer, architect, contractor or subcontractor employed in connection with the prospective work. Engineers, architects, contractors or subcontractors must provide evidence that they are licensed to practice in Virginia or are exempt from the requirements.  To find out if your contractor, engineer, or architect is licensed go to the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations.


May I obtain a building permit by mail?

Building permits can be obtained either in person or by mail. You may call or write the Building Inspector's Office and request an application and requirements be mailed to you. You may also download building permit application from this web site and print it on your home printer.


How long is a permit good for?

A permit remains valid for 6 months from the date the permit is issued. Every time there is an inspection performed, that extends the permit for another six months. If the work is halted or abandoned for at least six months, the permit may be suspended. Extensions may be granted by the Building Official. If the permit is suspended, you may be required to re-apply and/or pay additional fees to re-activate the permit.


How do I schedule an inspection?

Once your permit has been issued, you may call our office at 223-4500 during business hours. You will need to provide us with your permit number and the inspection you want performed. If you call early, we will try to do the inspection the same day. Otherwise, the inspection will be performed the next business day.


Why can't you waive this requirement, just this one time?

The building inspection departments throughout the state of Virginia are required, by law, to provide for the safe construction of all buildings and structures. This responsibility is to the citizens of every community in the state, not to any single person or structure. The building code law does not permit any of its requirements to be waived. The code does contain provisions for modification of its requirements, so long as the spirit and intent of the code are met. If you feel that a code requirement is unreasonable, you may request the Building Official to consider modifying the requirement, but you must provide a reasonable alternative to compliance that meets the spirit and intent of the code.


What is involved in the setup of a manufactured home?

For most people who purchase a manufactured home, this list will cover the majors steps involved in setting up your new home. Some homeowners will have additional steps to follow. Please call if you have questions.

  1. Apply for a building permit.
  2. Obtain for well and septic permits at the Health Department.
  3. Obtain entranceway permit from Virginia Department of Highway and Transportation. Needed if you are putting in a new driveway or changing the existing driveway.
  4. Bring a copy of the well, septic, and entranceway permits to the Building Inspector's office. As long as your application complies with all ordinances, the building permit will be issued.
  5. Drill and test well.
  6. Setup home according to the Uniform Statewide Building Code and manufacturer's installation instructions. Several inspections will be necessary during this process.

Notes: Necessary site preparation, such as grading, drainage provisions and site access for the home, must be considered. All footings, piers, supports and anchoring provisions must comply with manufacturer's instructions and inspectors. Skirting shall be installed to enclose the underside of the home within 60 days of occupancy of the home. A more detailed description for setting up a manufactured home is available here.


Who does the setup of a manufactured home?

Normally, the dealer is responsible for the installation of the homes as stated in the sales contract. Some dealers use their own personnel, while others use contractors to complete the setup. If the sales agreement between the dealer and buyer does not include dealer installation, the buyer should make certain that the person installing the home will follow the Uniform Statewide Building Code and the manufacturer's instructions. Setup contractors should be licensed as required by the Virginia Board for Contractors.


Are there other regulations I have to consider before building?

Yes, if you want to build a house (or locate a manufactured home) on property owned by someone else, you should read over the Wythe County Subdivision Ordinance.

NOTE: There have been several updates this ordinance.  To see the latest information, follow this link to all of the county ordinances and search for Subdivision Ordinance to show only the main document and any amendments.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 March 2017 10:28