Tips for Your Next Home Improvement Project - Sheds

Stafford County can be a helpful resource when constructing or renovating your home's accessory structure. Whether you construct, reconstruct, enlarge, alter, or demolish a structure, it helps to see if a permit is required before breaking ground on your project. The Department of Development Services staff guides residents through the building permit process for residential and commercial building projects. The ultimate and primary goal of issuing building permits is to ensure that a structure is as safe and successful as possible and that Stafford County’s structures comply with state code.

A shed is one of the most common structures residents add to a home. The County gets many questions about the process. Sheds are structures separate from the home and are used for storage or as a workspace. Whether you are building furniture, making a birdhouse, or repairing electronics, you may want to construct a designated space for do-it-yourself projects. Tool sheds over 256 square feet in the area require a building permit. In addition, all sheds, regardless of size, require a zoning permit. Building permits are issued to ensure structures are constructed to meet the necessary standards of safety and use, while a zoning permit confirms that the project fits within a community overall.

The following are additional residential projects that also require a building permit:

  • Garages provide a multi-purpose space to store cars, tools and other equipment. A permit is required for building an attached or detached garage or carport, converting a garage to a habitable space or enclosing a carport.
  • Outdoor living spaces such as a porch, screened porch, deck, pergola, portico or gazebo are growing in popularity. They offer a comfortable place for relaxing, reading a book, grilling, gardening, exercising, dining, playing with pets and children and entertaining outside.
  • If you need another habitable room in the house, perhaps for a family member moving in, you may need to finish off an unfinished attic, basement or room over the garage. Building permits are required for all of these types of renovations.
  • Backyard pools are the perfect reprieve in summer and a great way to spend time with family and friends. Building permits are required when installing a pool, hot tub or spa greater than 150 square feet, 5000 gallons, OR 24" deep.

Visit Stafford County’s website for more information and to apply for a building permit at If you are unsure if your project requires a permit, please contact the Department of Development Services Community Development Service Center at (540) 658-8650.