Commercial Express Review

Last updated Feb. 10, 2017 - 9:02 am

The Express Permitting Process is an expedited commercial plan review in which project managers, design professionals and trade plan reviewers are present and work together. This optional, face-to-face service is for applicants seeking permits following the review.

The following projects are eligible for Express Permitting:

  • New construction
  • New construction with Final Site review
  • Addition
  • Alteration
  • Interior completion (fit-up)
  • Change of use
  • Final Site review
  • Mass grading

The following project types are considered on a case-by-case basis for Express Permitting:

  • Institutional occupancies
  • Hazardous-use facilities
  • Single-family residential
  • Townhomes
  • Group housing


These items must be complete and submitted at least five business days prior to the review:

  • Recorded Map approved and filed with the Department of City Planning and the Wake County Register of Deeds. This applies to right of way dedication, tree conservation areas or other requirements that are to be conveyed through a recorded map. If a recorded map is not required to meet a code requirement, a copy of the current survey in addition to the property description on file with the Wake County Register of Deeds is acceptable
  • Approved Site Plan
  • Infrastructure Construction Plans must be approved but are not required for submittal
  • NC Department of Transportation driveway or Encroachment Permits if property abuts a state road
  • Security or letter of credit in the amount of 1.25 times the cost of public improvements and applicable stormwater devices

Approvals or Permits Issued

  • Building
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical
  • Plumbing
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Land Disturbance
  • Neuse River Buffer
  • Stormwater Tracking
  • Watershed
  • Zoning

Key Steps in the Process

1. Complete Online Scheduler.

2. Submit deposit to Cashier by calling 919-996-2500.

A deposit equal to one hour of review time is due immediately following confirmation of Express Review date. If the deposit is not received within two business days of confirmation, the review date will be cancelled.

3. Submit completed Permit Application and all required documentation

The Permit Application and documentation must be submitted to the scheduling coordinator at least five business days before the review. Failure to submit all documents by this deadline will result in cancellation of review and loss of all or part of deposit.

4. Commercial drawings must be a minimum size of 24”x36” (with the exception of cell towers)

5. Arrive at or before the scheduled review time to ensure a timely review

Meeting participants must check in at the front desk of the Development Services Customer Service Center. All design professionals required to attend must be present or the review will be rescheduled and the deposit will be forfeited.

Review staff will meet before taking the plans to their workstations to begin their review. Reviewers will report back following this initial review. In some cases, the review may be conducted in the conference room.

If additional time is needed, the review will continue after a lunch break lasting from noon to 1 p.m. Reviews end at or before 4 p.m.

Submittal Requirements

Required for Submittal
Required for Some Projects

Additional requirements for new building, addition, change of use, alteration with site work:

Additional requirements for alterations and interior completions (fit-ups) without site work:

Additional requirements for site review or mass grading:

Recommended for a Successful Review

After Hours Express Review

The City of Raleigh offers Express Review services after normal business hours for select types of projects. After Hours Reviews are scheduled Tuesday evenings from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The same fees are applicable as with daytime Express Review.

Eligible projects include "interior alteration/fit-ups" and "alterations to shell" up to 10,000 sq ft of work area for the following types of occupancies:

  • business;
  • mercantile;
  • storage; and
  • factory.

Projects that are not eligible include:

  • those with work types identified as additions or new buildings;
  • changes of use or occupancy;
  • medical facilities;
  • those involving Wake County Health review;
  • institutional uses;
  • hazardous-use facilities;
  • those involving site or exterior work;
  • single-family residential;
  • townhomes;
  • group housing; and
  • those involving water and sewer connections or changes to existing connections requiring the approval of the Public Utilities Department.

For projects that are considered alterations, please note that only the following types may be reviewed after hours:

  • those that do not increase the size of the building footprint;
  • those that do not include exterior improvements that increase impervious surface coverage upon the property;
  • those that are not a zoning change of use, as defined by the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO); if it is a zoning change of use, as defined by section 6.1.4 of the UDO, then the new use is allowed in the zoning district of the affected property and the new use does not require additional parking above that required by the present/former use as calculated in UDO Section 7.1.2 C; and
  • those not located within a designated flood hazard area, or in the Falls Lake, Swift Creek, Urban Water Supply Watershed, or Metro Park Overlay District.

To schedule an After Hours Review, email a completed Express Plan Review Application and After Hours Addendum to Prior to confirming a scheduled date, a coordinator will review the application to verify the project's eligibility.

Upon confirmation, the following must be sent to the above referenced email address by no later than 3:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding the scheduled review (failure to do so may result in cancellation of the review and forfeiture of the deposit):

  • an $800.00 deposit (equal to one hour of review time); and
  • all remaining submittal documents, including a digital copy of the full plan set.

After Hours Review starts promptly at 5:00 p.m. and may last up to 3 hours. Customers and consultants are encouraged to arrive early for setup and coordination with administrative staff. The minimum fee for this service is $800.00, which is paid as a deposit at the time of confirmation. No portion of the deposit will be refunded if the review is completed or stopped by the customer prior to one hour. If the review extends beyond one hour, customers will be billed in quarter-hour increments ($200.00) and such fees will be collected the following business day.

All addressing associated with the project must be verified by 3:00 p.m. on the business day prior to the review. Please submit addressing inquiries to

Expected Processing Time

  • Permits are typically issued in two to five business days following the review when there are no unresolved issues.
  • Permits for projects with multiple applications are usually issued within five to ten10 business days, depending on the complexity of the project.


Building plan review or re-review with site review (new buildings and additions):

  • $1,200 for a minimum of one hour
  • $300 per additional 15-minute increment

Building plan review or re-review without site review (alterations and interior completions):

  • $800 for a minimum of one hour
  • $200 per additional 15-minute increment

Site review or re-review without building plan review (grading):

  • $800 for a minimum of one hour
  • $200 for each additional 15-minute increment

Cancellation fees:

  • Reviews that are cancelled or rescheduled fifteen (15) or more business days prior to the review will not be charged a fee
  • Reviews that are cancelled or rescheduled between five (5) and fourteen (14) business days prior to the review will be charged a $250 fee
  • Reviews that are cancelled or rescheduled less than five (5) business days prior to the review will forfeit deposit
  • The Development Services Customer Service Center processes payments
  • Payment types include cash, MasterCard, Visa or check made payable to the City of Raleigh

Next Steps

  • Approved plans are held at the Development Services Customer Service Center for no longer than ten business days
  • If the Express Review results in unresolved issues or excessive redlines, a re-review is necessary prior to permit issuance

- View project review comments online at the Online Development Center. Select the Plan Review tab, enter the project transaction number and then "Submit" (The form also allows searches by address)

- Contact the Scheduling Coordinator to schedule a re-review. All follow-up reviews must continue in the Express Permitting path

- All revisions must be clouded on the plans so that changes are easily discernible. A transmittal letter listing unresolved issues and how they were corrected must be stapled to the top left corner of each set of plans. Re-review of plans without a transmittal letter and clouded revisions will be rejected. A one-hour minimum review fee will be charged and the re-review will be rescheduled, if rejected

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