Commercial Pony Express Review

Last updated Feb. 19, 2019 - 9:13 am

Pony Express is a commercial plan review option offered by the Development Services Department to expedite small, simple interior alterations. These projects fall between the scope of the Express Review program and the Stand Alone program.

An applicant may submit up to three projects for review per day.

If your project does not qualify for Pony Express review, the City of Raleigh also offers the following commercial plan review options: Commercial Standard Review, Commercial Express Review and Stand Alone Commercial Review.

Approvals or Permits Issued

Building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire alarm and fire sprinkler permits.

Key Steps in the Process

  1. Pony Express is conducted at both the Litchford office and One Exchange Plaza.
  2. Five projects are accepted into review per day, and they are reviewed in the order accepted. Remaining applicants should return the next business day.
  3. A plans reviewer may need to follow up with the project contact person by telephone or email to ask questions or resolve non-compliant issues. If plan changes are necessary, they can be submitted within two business days, between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  4. The applicant will be notified by email or phone when the plan is approved. The applicant can then pick up the permit package.

Submittal Requirements

Required for Submittal

Submit application to the Development Services Customer Service Center or Litchford Satellite Office.

Required for Some Projects
  • Follow the General Information for Fire Protection Permits and Inspections Guide for projects that require fire protection features (alarm, sprinkler, stand pipes, access, fuel tanks, etc.)
  • Complete construction documents per 907.1.1 of NC Fire Code for fire alarm plans
  • Cut sheet for fire alarm or sprinkler drawings that require calculations or equipment cut sheet
Recommended for a Successful Review

Additional Information

  • Commercial Plan Review Contact List
  • Special Inspections
  • Minor fire alarms and minor sprinkler systems may be accepted for Pony Express review. Minor fire alarm work includes projects that with up to six existing devices. Minor sprinkler work refers to projects of light hazard and the relocation of up to ten existing heads not more than four feet. NO NEW FIRE DEVICES will be reviewed in Pony Express.
  • For the final inspection, all fire alarm components must be installed according to the approved shop drawings. For further information concerning shop drawings contact the construction supervisor (fire), Steve Berry, at 919-996-5972. For questions concerning rough-in or above-ceiling inspections, contact the electrical inspector for the project or Jay Daunoy at 919-996-2447. For questions concerning the Pony Express service, call the Development Services Customer Service Center.
  • Fire alarm shop drawings are not required to obtain a permit at the Pony Express review. The electrical inspector can inspect fire alarm rough-in for in wall pull stations and horn/strobes prior to submittal of shop drawings. The fire alarm shop drawings must be submitted for review to the Development Services Customer Service Center and have approval before the electrical inspector conducts a ceiling fire alarm inspection.
  • The following projects are NOT ELIGIBLE for Pony Express review:
    • Medical facilities
    • Projects involving exterior work (including new mechanical equipment)
    • Projects that involve a Change of Occupancy
    • Projects with work types identified as interior completions, additions or new buildings
    • Projects that involve food or beverage service requiring Wake Environmental review approval
    • Projects that involve water and sewer connections or changes to existing connections requiring Public Utilities approval
    • Projects that involve Special Hazard Fire Protection Systems
    • Projects involving Hazardous Materials, Hazardous Processes or Hazardous Classification Areas
    • Projects that are fire alarm only or fire protection only
    • Projects that involve a posted occupant load change for assembly occupancy
    • Projects that require multiple transaction numbers (multiple addresses/suites, phased construction, etc.)
    • Projects that require a NCBC Chapter 34 Structural Analysis to show code compliance
    • Field Revisions


  • The fee for Pony Express is $300 which covers the first two review cycles
  • If more than two review cycles are required, a $300 re-review fee will be assessed
  • The Pony Express fee is in addition to all standard permit fees and will be collected at the end of the process
  • Review fees are due even if the project is abandoned after the first review
  • The permit package must be picked up and paid for within five business days from the date of notification or permits will be voided (no additional permits will be issued for the address until fees are paid)
  • See Development Services Fee Schedule for specific fees
  • Payment types include: Cash, MasterCard, Visa or check made payable to the City of Raleigh

Use this Fee Calculator to obtain an estimate of Building and Trade Permit Fees.

Next Steps

The next step is to request appropriate inspections for permitted work.

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