Arlington County Kicks Off “Building Safety is No Accident”

  • May is Building Safety Month
  • County celebrating improved, streamlined customer service
  • Continued investment in technology, infrastructure, staff training

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today launched Arlington’s participation in Building Safety Month with a public proclamation during the April Recessed County Board Meeting. Arlington joins the nationwide building community in celebrating Building Safety Month during May, with the theme “Building Safety: Maximizing Resilience, Minimizing Risks.”

Arlington prides itself on providing great customer service, efficiency, and predictability, while always putting building safety first. The County invests in technology, infrastructure and staff trainings to ensure that it continues to be a leader in building safe and sustainable structures.

“Building safety is our focus every day, although most of that work happens behind the scenes,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “We’re happy to call special attention in May to Arlington’s building safety staff and others in the construction industry who work year-round, largely unrecognized, to ensure the safe construction of buildings.”

Arlington’s buildings by the numbers

Our local officials, in conjunction with state and federal officials, use their expertise in the built environment to create and enforce the highest-quality codes to protect Arlingtonians in both commercial and residential buildings.

Annually, the County:

  • Issues more than 10,000 commercial and residential building permits.
  • Conducts more than 46,000 inspections.
  • Oversees more than 9 million square feet of permitted and inspected construction.
  • Oversees a total value of that construction of more than $1 billion.

Lower fees, exceptional customer service

Arlington recognizes that permit applicants need their plans reviewed and approved in a reliable, streamlined and affordable process. With that in mind, the County made these improvements in the past several years:

  • The County Board cut residential and commercial permit fees by 5%, and reduced the minimum fee for residential building permits by $50x
  • Hired additional highly qualified, experienced staff to provide thorough and expedient plan reviews and inspections.
  • Tripled the number of plan examiners since 2007.
  • Drastically reduced turn-around time for permits, cutting the average processing time for a commercial building permit from 18-24 months to less than six months.
  • Created a welcoming and easy-to-navigate 10th floor reception area, the start point for both the Inspections Services Division and the Zoning Administration.

Tools and staff to expedite the permitting process

Arlington has invested in both technology and talent to ensure the permitting process is as efficient as possible without sacrificing safety standards. The Inspection Services Division has invested in:

  • A robust special inspection program and customer paper tracking system.
  • Earning accreditation from the International Accreditation Service, the first Virginia County to do so. The accreditation validates our best practices and highest quality standards.

We are planning still more improvements, including expanded hours, a mobile workforce and a new permitting system.


In 2009, the County established an enterprise fund that pays for Zoning Administration, Permit Processing, Code Compliance and Plan Review entirely through fees for those services.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.