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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Code Administration
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Page updated Sep 17, 2014 10:45 AM
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Plan Review Services Division

Plan Review Services reviews building construction documents, for code compliance, under the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC).  Building plan reviews are required for all* new or existing renovated and altered commercial and residential buildings within the City of Alexandria.  Code Administration’s Plan Review Unit is comprised of Structural, Architectural, Mechanical, Plumbing & Electrical disciplines.  * Building construction exempt from permits, please refer to the Virginia Construction Code, Section 108.1 and .2.



Current Plan Review Timelines (Code Administration only)


Current Construction Codes 


Residential & Commercial Design Criteria 

 


Plan Review Programs

Intake Plan Review (One & Two Family Residential and Commercial Projects, including Multi-family dwellings)

Example Projects: 

  • Demolition (Entire or Partial Structure)
  • New Building Construction
  • Additions
  • Existing Building Alterations & Renovations
  • Change of Occupancy
  • Retaining Walls, Pools, Spa, Whirlpools, etc.
  • Have questions or concerns regarding a plan review? Contact Assistant Director Bill King at william.king@alexandriava.gov
     
 

One-Stop-Shop Plan Review
A scheduled one-hour, full-service building permit review session which includes Code Administration (Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical and Architectural), Planning & Zoning and Transportation & Environmental Services. A Registered Design Professional is required to attend.  One of four, one-hour Wednesday mornings time slots (8:30AM, 9:30AM, 10:30AM & 11:30AM) are available and must be scheduled in advance by calling 703.746.4200.

Eligible Projects: 

  • Business  (B) occupancy less than 20,000 ft2 
  • Mercantile (M) occupancy less than 7,500 ft2 
  • Storage (S) occupancies less than 15,000 ft2 
  • Factory (F1 or F2) occupancies less than 15,000 ft2 

Note:  Projects which include exterior or structural alterations are ineligible 
 

Walk-Thru Plan Review
Projects minor in scope-of-work or complexity which will allow for a full plan review within a 20-minute time period (Code Administration time-frame only, other departments have different limitations). Note: walk-thru plan reviews are at the discretion of the plan reviewers.

Example Projects: 

 

Permit & Plan Submission Requirements 

Note:  this a general list of Code Administration requirements, each project’s scope-of-work may require additional information

General 

  • The following is a general list of Code Administration (CA) requirements, each project’s scope-of-work may require additional information.  Minor projects may only require a permit application if no plans and additional agency reviews are not required.

    • Approved permit(s) and plans must be issued prior to commencing work
    •  Submission Documentation Required for Plan Review
      • Completed Applicable Permit Applications 
      • Complete a Commercial Project Data Form  
      • Provide Contractor’s information (as applicable - state license number, City of Alexandria business license number and contact information).
      • If a contractor is not responsible for the job, an owner may perform work or act as their own general Contractor on their own property.  With these applications, provide a notarized Property Owner’s Affidavit 
      • Provide 5 copies of construction documents (plans and reports), including all proposed trade work and 6 copies if the project requires Health Department review and approval.
        • Maximum Plan Size is 24”x36” (unless waived by the Director) and minimum dimensions for plans are 1/8” = 1’-0” for plan view sheets and ¼” = 1’-0” for section details
        • Soils reports (all new or altered commercial buildings subject to the International Building Code requirements when foundations are involved) and any other documents supporting the plan design  
         
      • Residential permits subject to the requirements of the Virginia Residential Code (1 &2 Family Dwellings) shall provide complete building and trade drawings.
        • Note: To reduce the amount of time it takes an applicant to obtain a building permit for small residential projects, Code Administration no longer requires trade plans for residential 1 & 2 family dwelling additions up to 3 stories and a maximum area of 1,200 sq.ft.  per floor.  Code Administration New Construction inspectors will review mechanical, electrical and plumbing work for code compliance on site during construction. To take advantage of this exception, applicants shall complete the following checklist available in the Permit Center:
          • 1 & 2 Family Residential Dwellings – No Trade Review Document Submission Checklist
          • 1 & 2 Family Residential Dwellings – No Trade Review Plan Submission Checklist
           
         
      • Plans must be signed and sealed by a registered design professional (RDP) licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia (1 original plan set) if they are responsible for the construction documents (regardless of if  Virginia law requires the plans to be prepared by an RDP)  or if it is required by the Code of Virginia Section 54.1-400 administered by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation 
      • Plans not prepared by an RDP, and not required to be by the Code of Virginia, shall contain:
        • The name of the person who prepared the plans
        • Occupation
        • Contact information 
         
      • Site or Grading Plan indicating building(s) existing and/or proposed within scope-of-work
      • 25% Deposit is required plan review – based on estimated permit fee (Refer to Code Administration and Fire Prevention Office Fee Schedule ). The deposit is non-refundable and is deducted from the total permit fee when the permit is issued.
       
     

Include the following if within scope-of-work…

Commercial and Multi-family Residential Dwellings (3 or more dwelling units) 

  • All projects covered by the International Building Code (Virginia Construction Code) and Virginia Rehabilitation Building Code  
  • Plan Review Time Frame - 20 Business Days 
  • Plans may be routed to Health Department (HD) for review and approval if the project involves food service, food preparation, hotels or motels, swimming pools or other Health Department regulated activity.  Click here for a list of projects requiring Health Department review and approval .  Please note:  The Health Department requires a completed application and payment of fees before reviewing and approving construction documents.  Permit applicants are advised to take plans, required applications, and fees directly to the Alexandria Health Department (703-746-4996), located at 4480 King Street to expedite their review.

Architectural (Building) 

  • Comprehensive code analysis to include:  
  • Means-of-egress plan
  • Room/space designations & dimensions
  • Horizontal & vertical fire-resistance-rated assemblies and penetrations details
  • Stair, guard and handrail details
  • Building energy envelope load calculations
  • Architectural Schedule(s), General Notes & Specification
  • Documentation of compliance with the Virginia Energy Conservation Code 
  • Accessibility
    • Alteration Cost of Accessibility Certificate Form
    • Multi-family dwelling unit accessible schedule (type A & B dwelling units)
    • Vehicle accessible parking schedule
    • Accessible route plans, details, sections and notes (restrooms, ramps, stairs, door hardware, signs, etc.)
     

Plumbing 

Virginia Plumbing Code 

  • Completed plumbing application
  • Plumbing fixture layout, signed and sealed by licensed design professional in the Commonwealth of Virginia (1 original plan set)
  • Plumbing sanitary, vent & water riser diagram
  • Plumbing Schedule, General Notes & Specification
  • Gas riser diagram (including all gas appliances’ BTUs, pipe sizes and lengths
  • Gas Schedule, General Notes & Specification

Mechanical 

Virginia Mechanical Code 

  • Gas equipment and piping designed to meet the Virginia Fuel Gas Code 
  • Completed mechanical application
  • Mechanical HVAC layout, signed and sealed by licensed design professional in the Commonwealth of Virginia (1 original plan set)
  • Mechanical condensate riser diagram
  • Mechanical Schedule, General Notes & Specification
  • Outside/fresh-air calculations
  • Shop drawings, kitchen hood & exhaust system, etc.

Electrical 

  • Design to meet the National Electrical Code, 2005 Edition.
  • Completed electrical application
  • Electrical layout plans, signed and sealed by licensed design professional in the Commonwealth of Virginia (1 original plan set)
  • Single-line electrical diagram
  • Electrical Schedule, General Notes & Specification
  • Electrical load calculations

Structural (Building) 

  • Design loads
  • Soils report, signed and sealed by licensed design professional in the Commonwealth of Virginia (1 original report)
  • Structural calculations, signed and sealed by licensed design professional in the Commonwealth of Virginia (1 original set)
  • Manufacturer’s specification information for all fabricated structural members
  • Structural General Notes

Fire Protection Systems 

Residential, One & Two Family Dwellings - Townhomes, Detached Homes and Duplexes (3 stories or less with separate means of egress) 

  • Projects subject to the Virginia Residential Code for building and all trade design
  • Plan Review Time Frame - 10 Business Days unless the project qualifies for walk through service in the Permit Center 

Architectural (Building) 

  • Room/space designations & dimensions
  • Rated exterior fire-resistance-rated wall (walls within 5ft of the property-line)
  • Emergency escape & rescue openings (all sleeping-rooms and basements)
  • Building energy envelope load calculations
  • Architectural Schedule(s), General Notes & Specification

Plumbing 

  • Completed plumbing application
  • Plumbing fixture layout
  • Plumbing sanitary, vent & water riser diagram (required for 4 or more new fixtures)
  • Plumbing Schedule, General Notes & Specification
  • Gas riser diagram (including all gas appliances’ BTUs, pipe sizes and lengths
  • Gas Schedule, General Notes & Specification

Mechanical 

  • Completed mechanical application
  • Mechanical HVAC layout
  • “Manual-J” calculations
  • Mechanical exhaust, kitchen, restroom, clothes dryer, etc.
  • Mechanical Schedule, General Notes & Specification

Electrical 

  • Completed electrical application
  • Electrical layout plans
  • Single-line electrical diagram
  • Electrical Schedule, General Notes & Specification
  • Electrical load calculations

Structural (Building) 

  • Structural plans  
  • Design loads
  • Soils report prepared by a Virginia Registered Design Professional in accordance with the Department of Code Administration Soils Policy
    • To include the foundation design when indicated
     
  • Manufacturer’s specification information for all fabricated structural members
  • Structural General Notes

Other Important Links

301 King St., Suite 4200
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.746.4200
Fax: 703.838.3880

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.