When is a Permit Required?

Last updated May 14, 2019 - 9:19 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.

Before You Start Your Project

There are a few important things to review prior to submitting your permit application:

  1. If you are a homeowner acting as the contractor for your project, the Homeowners Exemption Affidavit is required.
  2. Is your home located in a Historic District or designated as a Raleigh Historic Landmark? If so, you are required to submit a Certificate of Appropriateness to the Raleigh Historic Development Commission (RHDC). Approval from the RHDC may be required prior to submitting your permit application. 
  3. If your property contains a private well or septic services, you may need approval from Wake County prior to applying with the City of Raleigh.
  4. Your property may be subject to Residential Infill Compatibility standards. Click here to learn more about residential infill development and verification.

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.

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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