How to Get a Residential Permit

How to get a permit for construction on single-family homes, one- and two-family dwellings, and townhomes. Apartment construction must follow the Non-Residential Permit Process.


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All Projects: Required Before Submitting an Application Projects That Don't Need Plans Projects that Require Plans Where + When to Submit Your Paperwork Working without a permit Project Review and Permitting Paying Fees How Long Does it Take to Get a Permit?

If you are starting a construction project and you live in Raleigh, you will likely need a permit for your project. Getting a permit ensures your project will be built safely in accordance with the NC Building Code and Unified Development Ordinance. While construction and home improvement projects require permits, they do not always require plans to be submitted and reviewed by city staff.

Scroll down to learn more about what to consider before you start your project or hire a contractor to perform the work for you. 

All Projects: Required Before Submitting an Application

Detailed code review will not begin until application submittals have been deemed complete by customer service staff. It is important that all required information is submitted for a project, and it is the applicant’s responsibility to be informed of the prerequisites below: 

  1. You must be registered in the permit portal before you can manage your project, pay fees, or schedule inspections. Learn more about how to register on our portal help page.
  2. All contractor information (General contractor and sub-contractors) must be entered into the portal when submitting the project.
  3. If you are a homeowner acting as the contractor for your project, the Homeowners Exemption Affidavit is required.
  4. 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.
  5. If your property contains a private well or septic services, approval from Wake County Environmental Services is required prior to applying with the City of Raleigh.
  6. If you have requested a variance, it needs to be approved by Board of Adjustment.
  7. The property should have a legally recorded map at the Durham or Wake County Register of Deeds.
  8. Your property may be subject to Residential Infill Compatibility standards. To learn more, view the Residential Infill Development webpage.

Projects That Don't Need Plans

Projects listed below require a permit but do not require plans. This list is not inclusive of all project work types. If you are planning a project that does not require plans, please complete and submit a Residential Permit Application to DowntownDS@raleighnc.gov

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 city staff prior to issuing your permit. 
This list is not inclusive of all project work types.

Work Type Description/Examples Additional Required Documents
Accessory Dwelling Unit

A small, self-contained home that is located on the same lot as a primary dwelling.

  • Attached
  • Detached
  • Converting Unfinished Space
  • Converting Finished Space
Accessory Structures and Additions

Accessory Structures:

  • Detached garages
  • Sheds
  • Greenhouses
  • Detached carports
  • Pool houses
  • Workshops

Additions:

  • Adding new space to an existing structure
  • Adding to the footprint
  • Adding a second floor
  • Adding or enclosing a garage
  • Attached mother-in-law suites
  • Sunrooms
  • Dormers
Changing Space Inside an Existing Structure
  • Non-conditioned space to air-conditioned/heated space
  • Uninhabitable to habitable space
  • Floor plan of an 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 the purpose of the unit, is required.
Decks + Porches
  • Covered or screened porches
  • Decks
  • Patios
  • Porticos
  • Gazebo
  • Three-season room
Demolition Removal of an existing structure(s).
NOTE: Stormwater buffers or tree protection may be required. 
  • Residential Site Plan Checklist
  • Single-Family Dwelling, Duplex, and Detached Accessory Structure Requires:
    • The building contractor is required on the permit application and any associated trades
    • A Valid Copy of the WC COI or WC Exemption Affidavit
    • Survey or site plan indicating structure being demoed
Fences A zoning permit is required when installing a fence 
  • View the Fences webpage for submittal information.
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.
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 within Raleigh city limits or the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) 
New Single-Family Dwelling/Duplex This does not include decks, porches, screened porches, garages, or alterations/repairs.
Pools + Hot Tubs
  • Above ground pool
  • Pool
  • Spa or hot tub 
Residential Driveway Installation
  • installing a new driveway or sidewalk
  • modifying an existing driveway or sidewalk 

Residential Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System

  • installing photovoltaics
  • new solar equipment on the property 
Electric Vehicle Charging Station
  • Electric 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

All other projects are currently accepted via email only. Please submit your completed application and supporting documentation to downtownDS@raleighnc.gov.

To expedite your submittals, please put in the subject line one of the following:

  • Land New Submittal 
  • Residential New Submittal 
  • Non-Residential New Submittal 
  • Land Resubmittal 
  • Residential Resubmittal 
  • Non-Residential Resubmittal

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
  • Homeowner's insurance may not cover issues that occur as a result of the non-permitted construction

Project Review and Permitting

Applicants will be notified by email when a project is processed. Standard review times are available to view online. Plan review comments can be viewed any time via a registered account in the Permit and Development Portal.  

Plans that are ready for permit issuance but have incomplete contractor information will be kept at the Planning and Development Customer Service Center for up to six months. After six months, the plans will be considered invalid, and the application will be voided. An administrative fee may be incurred when projects are voided.

Paying Fees

A Plan Review Fee is due prior to project review. All other permit fees are due when permits are ready for issuance.

The Development Fee Guide provides a detailed list of specific development fees.  

A  fee calculator may be used to obtain an estimate of some building and trade permit fees.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Permit?

Please see our development review turnaround times.

Contact

 

Planning and Development
Customer Service Center
919-996-2500
ds.help@raleighnc.gov

Lead Department:
Planning and Development
Service Categories:
Permits - Residential

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