When is a Permit Required?

Last updated Feb. 08, 2019 - 8:43 am

If you are planning a home improvement project, be sure to do you research as you may be required to obtain permits from the City of Raleigh. Many home improvement projects require permits before beginning construction. The permit process helps us make sure that buildings are well constructed and safe for occupants. This also helps protect your property values and the value of your neighbors property.

After you start construction, your project must be inspected. A final inspection takes place after the project is completed. Inspections make sure that the project is built according to the permit and all the applicable construction codes.

There are a range of things that can happen if you choose to work without a permit:

  • Citation from the City of Raleigh;
  • Increased permit costs, including fines, increased fees, and possible court costs;
  • Potential home hazards;
  • Removal of work may be required at the cost of the homeowner;
  • Issues when selling your home in the future; or
  • Home owners insurance may not cover issues that occur as a result of the non-permitted construction.


If your accessory building project, such as a shed, does not need building permits due its size or other minimum requirements, zoning setbacks will still apply. Contact the Zoning Division for information about the setbacks on your property and where to place the structure.

Certificate of Appropriateness if structure is in a historic district or designated as a Raleigh Historic Landmark.

Before beginning your project, it is recommended that you research the property in order to verify accurate submittal information that will be required throughout the development process.

Approvals or Permits Issued

  • Building
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical
  • Plumbing
  • Zoning

Submittal Requirements

  • City of Raleigh Permit Application (located at the top of the Forms Directory in the "Most Popular Selections" box).
  • Two copies of a plot plan signed and sealed by an NC professional land surveyor, if the project is an outside accessory structure
  • Permit fee payment

Residential projects are accepted from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at our Litchford Road Satellite Office.

Residential and non-residential projects are accepted at our Development Services Customer Service Center:

  • Applications for all NEW submittals will be accepted Monday- Friday until 4 p.m.
  • Resubmittals with a transaction number will be accepted Monday-Friday until 4:30 p.m.

Required Inspections

Required inspections depend on the type of project. Below are some common inspections and the order in which they should be scheduled. See field inspections for more information. If you have questions, call the Development Services Customer Service Center at 919-996-2500.


  1. A footing inspection takes place after the trenches are excavated, all grade stakes are installed, all reinforcing steel and supports are in place and appropriately tied and all necessary forms are in place and braced, before any concrete is placed
  2. A framing inspection occurs after the roof - excluding permanent roof covering - wall ceiling and floor framing is complete with the appropriate blocking, bracing and fire stopping in place. Framing inspections must be conducted prior to a final inspection. If electrical work is being done, the electrical rough-in inspection (see below) must be approved before scheduling the building framing inspection.
  3. A final inspection must be conducted for each trade after all prerequisite inspections are approved, indicating completion of authorized work as determined by the technical codes.


  1. A rough-in inspection must be made before any wall, ceiling finish or building insulation is installed. This gives the inspector an opportunity to view work that will be hidden from view in the finished building, such as building framing, electrical wiring, plumbing, fire protection and heating, ventilation and cooling systems. This inspection must be approved prior to scheduling the building framing inspection.
  2. A final inspection must be conducted for each trade after all prerequisite inspections are approved, indicating completion of authorized work as determined by the technical codes.

Smoke Detectors

  1. If an inspection is required inside your home, you will be required to upgrade the smoke detectors to meet current code standards, regardless of the type of project. See Smoke Alarm Requirements.

How To Schedule An Inspection

  1. Call 919-996-2500 for staff assistance or
  2. Use automated voice response system at 919-857-4412 or
  3. Visit Development Services Customer Service Center, Suite 400, One Exchange Plaza in Downtown Raleigh

You will need the permit number and project address, found on the copy of your permit application, when you schedule an inspection.

To keep a permit active, at least one inspection must be scheduled within 12 months of permit issuance.

Inspections scheduled out of sequence may result in an inspection being rejected and a re-inspection fee charged.

When a final inspection is scheduled, any pending inspections for that permit number will automatically be scheduled for the same date.


A code violation may result in an inspection status of "rejection." See Top 10 Inspection Rejection reasons listed by trade.

After the code violation is corrected, you may schedule a re-inspection.

A re-inspection fee must be paid before scheduling the re-inspection. You may pay the fee at the Development Services Customer Service Center or the Inspections Department’s Litchford Road Satellite Office or by phone at 919-996-2500 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Please have the permit number, project address and credit card information available when you call.

To schedule a re-inspection, call a customer service representative at 919-996-2500 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or use the automated voice response system, available 24 hours per day, at 919-857-4412.

Expected Processing Time for Development Projects


The Development Fee Schedule can help you estimate the cost of your project.

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