Frequently Asked Questions

When is it necessary to obtain a building permit?

A permit is required anytime work is being done that involves the structural, plumbing, mechanical, gas piping or electrical components of a project. North Carolina State Building Code states: “No person, firm, or corporations shall erect, construct, enlarge, install, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert or demolish any building, structure, or service system without first obtaining a permit for such from the Building Department having jurisdiction.” A permit is also required whenever there is a commercial change of occupancy irregardless of whether alterations are planned or not.

Are plans required for residential projects?

Most of the time no. However, some exceptions do apply. One set of NC design professional sealed plans are required for timber frame, log or alternative construction methods. One set of plans with the stamp of an approved agency is required for modular construction.

Are plans required for commercial projects?

Yes, one paper set and one digital PDF set ([email protected]) or two paper sets. Projects exceeding $90,000 and/or 2500 square feet require a NC licensed design professional seal. Additional plans may be required by other agencies. Plans for smaller projects may be hand drawn to scale.

How long does it take to get my permit?

Review for a commercial permit can take as little as a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the size of the project. Review for a residential permit typically takes one to two days. Manufactured home and mechanical, plumbing, electrical permits are issued immediately or within 24 hours.

As a homeowner can I be my own contractor?

Yes, as owner of the property you may act as the general contractor, but with careful consideration of the laws governing you in such capacity. Failure to comply with the requirements shall result in revocation of the permit and possible fines. The owner does not have to be licensed by the state, but is required to submit a general contractor exemption application. The State requires the owner to be on site for all building related inspections.

How long is my permit valid and what is the cost to renew?

Your first inspection must be within 6 months from the date the permit is issued. In addition, the permit will expire if the time between the last inspection exceeds 12 months. If your permit expires, the renewal cost is half the cost of the permit fee.

What are the requirements for the following?

Wind Zone: 115 mph 

Roof Load: 20 psf 

Snow Load: 20 psf

Insulation: Zone 4 

Frost Line: 12 inches


What is the height for a guard rail on a deck? What is the maximum space between pickets?

The railing height for a deck is 42” for commercial, 36” for residential. The maximum space between pickets is 4".

How do I request an inspection?

Inspections requests may be made by telephone, our website or by fax, by 4:00 PM the business day prior. You are required to provide the permit number, project name, type of inspection and the name of your company.

How do I file a complaint?

All complaints must be in writing, forms are available upon request.

When do I get my Certificate of Occupancy?

The certificate of occupancy is issued after all required inspections have been approved, any additional fees are paid, and all required documentation is provided.

What is not required to be completed for a residential certificate of occupancy to be issued?

Floor coverings, interior paint, interior doors (excluding garage and doors separating unheated spaces).