Permit Requirements

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A residential building permit is required for the following:

  • Accessory structures, i.e., detached garages, gazebos, pergolas, sheds larger than 12 feet in any dimension.
  • Additions
  • Alterations
  • Any structural work
  • Decks and porches
  • Demolition
  • Fences over 6 feet on height (need to double check with inspections on this)
  • Foundation work
  • Garages
  • New dwellings, including accessory dwelling units
  • Pools
  • Remodels, i.e., adding, moving, or removing of any walls or changing use of existing space, including the finishing or upfit of any unfinished space
  • Retaining walls more than 4’ high
  • Roof replacement

If the work costs $30,000 or more, the work must be done by a licensed general contractor

Any work that is greater than $15,000 requires a building permit.

The following work is exempt from a building permit as long as the construction cost is less than $15,000.

  • Cosmetic work
  • Fences under 6’ high
  • Siding replacement
  • Cabinet repair or replacement
  • Roof shingles
  • Satellite dishes
  • Sheds smaller than 12’in every dimension
  • Stone walls
  • Window or door replacement

Sub Permits are required for the following plumbing and electrical items:

  • Change of electrical service
  • Geothermal wells (also requires a zoning permit)
  • Installation, extension, or general repair of any plumbing system
  • Installation, extension, alteration, or general repair of any heating or cooling system
  • Installation, extension, alteration, or general repair of any electrical wiring devices, appliances, or equipment
  • Sewer connections for an existing dwelling.

Sub Permit exemptions:

  • Replacement of a water heater subject to G.S. 160A-417(a)(2)
  • The repair or replacement of electrical lighting fixtures or devices or for the electrical connection for a replacement water heater.

Water Heaters have their own requirements. This is what DOES NOT require a permit:

  • The work is restricted to a one or two family dwelling.
  • The work has to be performed by a NC licensed plumber.
  • The licensee must personally examine the work at completion.
  • The licensee is required to ensure that a leak test has been performed on the gas piping.
  • The energy use rate or thermal input is not greater than the water heater which is being replaced.
  • The replacement is installed in accordance with the current building code.
  • There is no change in fuel.
  • There is no change in energy source.
  • There is no change in the location.
  • There is no change in the capacity.
  • There is no change in routing or sizing of venting or piping.

Home owners also need a zoning permit for the following:

  • Accessory structures
  • Additions
  • Decks and porches
  • Demolition
  • Driveways, new and expansion of an existing driveway.
  • New curb cuts require a driveway permit
  • Fences over 6’high (excluding deer fencing)
  • Garages
  • Irrigation systems (more than 2,000 sq. ft. of land disturbance)
  • Landscaping (more than 2,000 sq. ft. of land disturbance)
  • New dwellings, including accessory dwellings
  • New utilities
  • Parking areas
  • Patios
  • Retaining walls (more than 2 feet high)
  • Sheds less than 12’in every dimension
  • Solar panels (excluding rooftop solar panels)
  • Steps and stoops
  • Stone walls
  • Tree stump removal

The following work is EXEMPT from a Zoning Permit – As long as this work is not being done in a Special Protection Area (historic districts, neighborhood conservation districts, flood plain, Jordan buffer & resource conservation districts)

  • Chicken coops
  • Fences, including deer fencing, that is under 6’
  • Free standing tree house
  • Interior work
  • Irrigation system (less than 2,000 sf of land disturbance)
  • Landscaping (less than 2,000 sf of land disturbance)
  • Maintenance/repair
  • Play structures (moveable)
  • Rooftop solar panels
  • Retaining wall (less than 2 feet in height)
  • Tree removal (no stump)

Any activity which increases surface coverage involves more than 2,000 sq ft of land disturbance or results in significant changes to hydrological conditions including surface, sub-surface runoff, etc.