Apply For A North Carolina Building Permit

Does North Carolina require building permits for construction projects?

If you are planning on undertaking a project that involves any kind of construction, electrical work, plumbing work, or demolition in North Carolina, chances are you will need a building permit. Building permits are issued by the county or city government and therefore the requirements for a permit depend on your project’s location. For example, while Hoke County requires a permit for almost any type of building project, Mecklenburg County exempts projects that cost under $5000 unless they involve structural changes to the building.

Who handles building permitting?

In North Carolina you will need to file your building permit application with either the county or the city where the property is located. Most permitting is handled on the county level with the county Planning Department, but some large cities such as Raleigh have their own Development Services office that handles building permits. Whether you need to apply with your county or your city, the general process is the same.

What permits will I need for my building project?

In addition to a basic building permit, there are several other permits that you may be required to have before construction can begin. These include:

• Electrical permits for electrical work
• Plumbing permits for plumbing work
• Grading permits for surfacing and paving work
• Mechanical permits for installation of heating and air conditioning units
• Demolition permits

Some places such as Orange County, North Carolina also have specialized permits for the use of recycled materials and generators. Certain projects such as swimming pools and moving a manufactured home onto a property also require their own special permits. What permits you need will depend on the nature and complexity of your proposed project.

Are there special requirement in North Carolina if I am located within a floodplain?

Yes, if the property you are building on in North Carolina is on a FEMA declared floodplain, you will need to get an elevation certificate from FEMA before your building permit will be issued. This is to ensure that your proposed construction plan meets the criteria and standards of the National Flood Insurance Program. Some counties like Orange County, North Carolina also require that you receive a floodplain development permit from them in addition to your FEMA certificate before construction can begin. Your local planning office will have more information about whether you are located in a floodplain and if so, what approvals you will need to get before filing your building permit application.  


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