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Building Development Division
Building a Shed

Zoning approval is required for all sheds. A building permit is required if the structure is greater than 256 square feet. Footings and foundations are not required for structures of 256 square feet or less. If the shed is under 256 square feet, but trade work is installed (electrical, plumbing, mechanical, etc) these appropriate permit applications are still required. Zoning approval is required for all accessory structures, regardless of size. Steps 1-3 may be completed at the Development Services Building, 5 County Complex Court, Prince William, VA, 22192. Step 4 may be completed by telephone or online.

STEP ONE: Zoning Approval

The Zoning Division Counters are open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. No approvals are issued after 4 p.m. Click the link for Zoning Approval Requirements.

STEP TWO: Building Plan Approval

The Building Plan Intake Counters are open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.              

  • Provide two sets of Zoning Approval (from step 1), with the location of the shed highlighted, to the Building Plan Intake Counter.
  • If the shed is prefabricated, provide plans from the fabricator/manufacturer/supplier.
  • Bring two sets of plans on 11" x 17" paper drawn to a scale of ¼" = 1’ with the following: plan view (view from above); elevation (view from side); and elevation section (cross section from side view that shows typical footing wooden post and all typical connection details).
  • Complete appropriate permit applications including Building, Electrical, Mechanical, and/or Plumbing.
  • Obtain fee pricing.

STEP THREE: Permit Issuance

The Building Permitting Services Counters are open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

  • If the homeowner is the permit applicant and will be responsible for the work, the homeowner must complete the Statement of Exemption form.
  • If the contractor is the permit applicant and will be responsible for the work, the contractor must provide a copy of his or her Virginia State Contractor's License and Prince William County Business License.
  • Pay for permits based on the approved Building Development Fee Schedule

STEP FOUR: Construction Inspections

In order for staff to conduct an inspection of a project, the permit must be affixed to the front window of the residence, and the approved plans must be available for the inspector to review at the time of inspection.

Building inspections are conducted between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visit or call 1-866-457-5280 to schedule an inspection through the automated system. The system will prompt for the permit number or 6 Digit IVR Pin Number, and inspection type code, which were provided at the time of permit issuance. The inspection process for accessory buildings will vary depending on the extent of the work. The most common inspection types and codes are 103 - building footing, 151 - residential final, 198 - residential combination concealment, 199 - residential combination final, and 202 - electrical service.

For more details on Building a Shed see our Guidelines for Building a Shed handout.


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