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MAIN OFFICE PHONE:  (540) 375-3032|E-MAIL:
HOURS:  M-F 8am-5pm |LOCATION:  21 South Bruffey Street, Salem, VA 24153

Application Process

MAIN OFFICE PHONE:  (540) 375-3032|E-MAIL:
HOURS:  M-F 8am-5pm |LOCATION:  21 South Bruffey Street, Salem, VA 24153

Application Process

A permit, when required, is a document, required by state law, granting legal permission to start construction.

The information below is the most common process for obtaining a permit; it does not reflect all the conditions you may encounter.  Please check our website for more information.


Staff and our website at the Community Development Office can provide you with the resources and information necessary to make your project a success and to avoid potential problems which could cost you time and money.  Be prepared to discuss your project with permit staff who will ask you questions such as “What are you planning to do?” and “Where are you planning to do it?”  The permit staff will discuss the specific process for your project with you. 

City of Salem issues separate building permits and trade (electrical, mechanical and plumbing) permits. Therefore, depending on your project, you may need multiple permits.Please note that contractors will also need a Salem business license to do work in the city.


A completed permit application is required prior to beginning the administrative process.  You may pick up a permit application at the Community Development Office or print one from our “Forms” section of the website. You’ll be asked to document “who” will perform the work and “what,” “where,” and “how” the work will be completed. Drawings, plans or other documentation of the proposed work are listed below under “Requirements”.

**Any new construction or exterior addition will require a plat of the property showing the construction/addition, the dimensions, and distances from the property lines before a permit application will be reviewed.**


During the review process, our staff will determine if your project is in compliance with the building code, the City of Salem zoning, and other city or state ordinances and statutes. The length of the review process will depend on the type and complexity of the project.  


When compliance with the code, zoning and other applicable statutes are determined, the permit application is approved and you will be contacted to come by and pick up the permit.Once all final permit fees are paid, the permit is issued.

However, if the permit application is not approved or a review has failed, your permit application as submitted will be denied. When a permit application is denied, you must make the necessary corrections and resubmit the application.  We will contact you for any issues.


During the entire construction phase, all permits must be placed in a window or other prominent place at the project site and a copy of the city-approved building plans and related documents must be maintained at the site.


Each major phase of construction must be inspected by a city inspector to make certain the work conforms to the code, the permit and the approved plans.

Inspection requests for each permit may be made via the phone or in person.  Normally, the response is one business day after the request is made.

If an inspector finds that work does not conform to the approved plans, the inspector will fail the inspection and provide comments.  Failed inspections will need to be reinspected before the next work phase.If an inspection fails a second time, a fee may be charged.Further failures may have additional fees.


Most changes will require a review and approval in the same manner as the original application. Please bring any proposed revisions or alterations to the attention of the permit staff before making changes in the field.


When the project is completed and code compliance is determined, the inspector issues a final inspection. The final inspection marks the completion of your project and grants permission to occupy a building with the knowledge that it has met the minimum safety standards as required by code.