How to Get a Residential Permit

How to get a permit for construction on single-family homes, one- and-two-family dwellings, and townhomes.


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Before getting started Projects that Do Not Require Plans Projects that Require Plans Where + When to Submit Your Paperwork Working without a permit Monitoring Your Project Fee Information How Long Does it Take to Get a Permit?

Permits are required when you are building a new single family home or if you need to make an alteration or repair to an existing structure. The permit and inspection process ensures that projects are well constructed, safe for occupants, and meet all current code requirements. This also helps protect property values for you and your neighbors

    Before getting started

    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. If you have requested a variance, it needs to be approved by Board of Adjustment.
    5. The property should have a legally recorded map at the Durham or Wake County Register of Deeds.
    6. Your property may be subject to Residential Infill Compatibility standards. Click here to learn more about residential infill development and verification.

    Projects that Do Not Require Plans

    Projects that fall under this category MUST submit a residential permit application. The projects listed in this section can be submitted in-person or via email. 
    This list is not inclusive of all project work types.

    Work Type Description/Examples
    Alterations + Repairs
    • moving walls
    • renovations to rooms inside the home: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, etc. 
    • existing water and sewer line replacement
      • city-installed irrigation meters
    • mobile home repair
    • siding, windows, doors
    • roofing
    Circuits
    • electrical service upgrade
    • adding circuits or outlets
    • interior vehicle charging stations
    • switches
    • lights
    Fuel Piping
    • changing electric to gas
    • changing gas to electric
    • running gas lines to gas equipment
    Replacements
    (replacing existing with new)
    • water heater replacement
    • HVAC replacement
    • generators
    • driveways
          NOTE: Installation of new equipment requires a plot plan.
    Residential Power Turn On For any single-family dwelling, duplex, or townhome that has been vacant for six months or longer

     

    Projects that Require Plans

    Projects that fall under this category MUST submit a residential permit application along with supporting plans and documentation.

    All of this information will be reviewed by development services staff prior to issuing your permit. Projects that require plans will only be accepted in person.
    This list is not inclusive of all project work types.

    Work Type Description/Examples Additional Required Documents
    Accessory Structures
    • garages
    • sheds
    • greenhouses
    • carports
    • pool houses
    • workshops
    Additions
    • adding new space on an existing structure
    • adding to the footprint
    • adding a second floor
    • enclosing a garage
    • attached mother-in-law suites
    • sunrooms
    • dormers
    Changing Space Inside an Existing Structure
    • Non-air conditioned space to air conditioned/heated space
    • Uninhabitable to habitable space
    • Floor plan of entire floor with changes shown
    • If a new HVAC unit is installed for this purpose, a signed and sealed survey showing existing conditions, and a supplemental drawing showing purpose of the unit, is required.
    Decks + Porches
    • Covered or screened porches
    • Decks
    • Patios
    • Porticos
    • Gazebo
    • Three-season room
    Demolition Removal of existing structure(s).
    NOTE: Stormwater buffers or tree protection may be required. 
    Fences A zoning permit is required when installing a fence 
    Front Yard Parking Pad Any parking expansion in the front yard
    Home Business A zoning permit is required to operate a business in your home.
    • Visit the Zoning Permits page for more information on zoning permit requirements
    HVAC + Generators Installation of NEW HVAC units or generator
    Mobile Homes Replacing a mobile home 
    • Site plan of mobile home park 
    Moving a House Moving a home into Raleigh city limits or the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) 
    New Single Family Home  
    Pools + Hot Tubs
    • Above ground pool
    • Pool
    • New area for hot tub 
    Right-of-Way Work
    • installing a new driveway or sidewalk
    • modifying an existing driveway or sidewalk 
    Solar Equipment
    Geothermal Systems Alternate Energy Sources
    • installing photovoltaics
    • new solar equipment on the property 
    Vehicle Charging Station exterior vehicle charging station
    Water, Sewer, and Irrigation Services (stubs and meter connections)
    • new water, sewer, or irrigation services
    • removal of water and sewer services

    Where + When to Submit Your Paperwork

    The Development Services Department has two customer service locations for residential projects:

    Development Services Customer Service Center
    One Exchange Plaza | Suite 400 | Downtown Raleigh
    Applications are accepted Monday thru Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Resubmittals are accepted until 4:30 p.m.

    Litchford Road Residential Office
    8320 Litchford Road | Suite 130 | North Raleigh
    Applications are accepted Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. 2 p.m.

    If you're project does not require plans, your application is eligible for acceptance via email:

    DS Customer Service Center: downtownDS@raleighnc.gov
    Litchford Road Residential Office: litchfordDS@raleighnc.gov

    Working without a permit

    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
    • Homeowners insurance may not cover issues that occur as a result of the non-permitted construction.

    Monitoring Your Project

    The Permit and Development Portal is a great way to manage your project activity online. Once you have registered an account, you are able to view your project work flow, pay fees, or schedule inspections.

    Visit our permit portal help center for a list of frequently asked questions and a direct link to the portal.

    Fee Information

    The Development Fee Schedule can help you estimate the cost of your project. Fees can be paid online via a registered account in the Permit and Development Portal, or in-person via our cashier in the customer service center. 

    How Long Does it Take to Get a Permit?

    Click here for a breakdown of projects and review times.