A design professional’s seal and signature are generally required, on plans for all commercial construction projects (NC General Statute 83A-13(c) 1-6. This requirement is subject to the exceptions listed in NC General Statute 83A-13(c1):
((c) Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to require an architectural license for the preparation, sale, or furnishing of plans, specifications and related data, or for the supervision of construction pursuant thereto, where the building, buildings, or project involved is in one of the following categories:
(1) A family residence, up to eight units attached with grade level exit, which is not a part of or physically connected with any other buildings or residential units;
(2) A building upon any farm for the use of any farmer, unless the building is of such nature and intended for such use as to substantially involve the health or safety of the public;
(3) An institutional or commercial building if it does not have a total value exceeding two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000);
(4) An institutional or commercial building if the total building area does not exceed 3,000 square feet in gross floor area;
(5) Alteration, remodeling, or renovation of an existing building that is exempt under this section, or alteration, remodeling, or renovation of an existing building or building site that does not alter or affect the structural system of the building; change the building's access or exit pattern; or change the live or dead load on the building's structural system. This subdivision shall not limit or change any other exemptions to this Chapter or to the practice of engineering under Chapter 89C of the General Statutes;
(6) The preparation and use of details and shop drawings, assembly or erection drawings, or graphic descriptions utilized to detail or illustrate a portion of the work required to construct the project in accordance with the plans and specifications prepared or to be prepared under the requirements or exemptions of this Chapter.
(c1) Notwithstanding subdivisions (c)(3) and (4) of this section, a commercial building project with a total value of less than two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) and a total project area of less than 3,000 square feet shall be exempt from the requirement for a professional architectural seal.
The Boards governing the practice of Architecture and Engineering in North Carolina have also published a comprehensive brochure clarifying their position on this topic.
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Appropriate permits are required for any building construction, alteration, or repair involving new or changed uses of property (other than ordinary repairs). Separate permits are required for building, electrical, heating, air conditioning and plumbing work.
Exception: Permits shall not be required for any work costing $20,000 or less on 1 and 2 family dwellings, unless the work involves: the addition, repair, or replacement of load bearing structures; the addition or change in the design of a plumbing system; the addition, replacement or change in the design of a heating or air conditioning system; the addition, replacement or change in the design of an electrical system; and the use of materials not permitted by the code.
Permit fees are typically calculated by use or occupancy and gross square footage area of a building or work area. There are separate calculations used for new construction and renovations or upfits. There are also separate fee structures for Commercial buildings and 1 & 2 Family buildings.
For additional information on how the permit fees are calculated, please view the
Inspectors will check to make certain work is complete and installed according to the relevant code. Contractors (or homeowners doing their own work) must schedule online to for each inspection when that phase of work is ready.
This system can be used to request inspections, obtain inspection results, cancel an inspection or check the status of a certificate of occupancy. To request inspections, verify or cancel inspections or to get inspection results you may use Citizen Self-Serve.
All projects submitted for plan review and all permits issued on or after January 1, 2019 must meet the requirements of the 2018 edition of the North Carolina Building Codes with the exception of electrical permits.
All electrical permits issued on or after June 12, 2018 must meet the requirements of the 2017 edition of the National Electrical Code (and current NC amendments).
The Accessibility Standard remains the 2009 ANSI 117.1.
Also note Codes, Standards & Interpretations on the Building Standards webpage.
All commercial building projects must be submitted for plan review before permits can be issued.
Plans for 1 and 2 family dwelling are not generally required to be submitted for plans review, however a complete set of plans is required to be kept on the job site for the inspector’s reference during the project. This plan set is to be reflective of the project scope and the intent of the builder.
For additional information on the plan submittal and review process, please review the information under the plan review tab above.