Permits & Inspections

The Department of Permits and Inspections encompasses the Building Inspection Division and Code Enforcement Division. The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC) mandates all services performed by the Department of Permits and Inspections to ensure public safety, health, and welfare of the City, communities, and citizens.

Building Inspection Division

The Building Inspection Division enforces the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC) and regulates minimum standards required relative to construction, addition, alteration, replacement, repair, relocation, demolition, and change of occupancy/use of commercial and residential structures. 

Services Provided:
  • Permit administration
  • Permit application
  • Document examination
  • Permit issuance
  • Change of occupancy/use classification
  • Construction inspection
  • Floodplain regulation
  • Stop work order issuance
  • Notice of violation issuance
  • Certificate of occupancy issuance
The Building Inspections Division strives to ensure that structures are reasonably safe and sound from structural failure, accidental fire, and other hazards.

Code Enforcement Division

The Code Enforcement Division enforces the Virginia Maintenance Code (VMC), as well as pertinent local ordinances as set forth in the Code of Virginia, and regulates maintenance of existing commercial and residential structures to ensure minimum standards of structural safety, fire safety, heating, ventilation, sanitation, protection from exterior elements and infestation, and other hazards.

Services Provided: 
  • Maintenance inspection
  • Rental inspection
  • Derelict structures regulation
  • Illegal occupancy/conversion enforcement
  • Zoning regulation
  • Historic preservation
  • Downtown design
  • Sign regulation
  • Complaint investigation
  • Stop work order issuance
  • Notice of violation issuance
The Code Enforcement Division conducts inspection of existing properties, owner-occupied and rental, conducts investigation of and responds to nuisance complaints, including inoperable motor vehicles, weeds and debris, as well as enforces the City Derelict Structures Ordinance.

The Code Enforcement Division also conducts zoning inspections and investigations. Through this program, the division oversees the City’s Historic Preservation Districts and Downtown Design Districts, citing owners who perform exterior alterations without proper advance approval and/or proper building permit application. Properties illegally converted in occupancy/use and in violation of the City Zoning Code also fall under the purview of this division.

Purpose & Objective

The Department of Permits and Inspections endeavors to provide excellent services in professional, respectful, courteous, and timely manners, as well as provide effective and efficient responses to citizen inquiries, concerns, and requests for information. Our objective and intent is to enforce the codes in fair and equitable manners for protection of public safety, promotion of sustainable and resilient construction, preservation of community neighborhoods and historic character, and provision of consumer protection.

Attention: Building Fee Schedule
The ordinance to amend Appendix A of the Code of the City of Portsmouth, Virginia (Building Fee Schedule) became effective on July 1 2017.

Effective July 01 2020, the City of Portsmouth Department of Permits & Inspections requires all plan examination fees due and payable upon applicable permit application in advance of any plan examination conducted by this Department. Any miscalculation of plan examination fees based upon incomplete or inaccurate information shall be reconciled prior to permit issuance.