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ADU Change of Use

Converting a finished space, unfinished space or existing detached garage to an ADU.

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Before Submitting an Application Prepare Application Materials Submittal Instructions Project Review and Permitting Paying Fees

If you are planning to convert a finished space, unfinished space, or existing detached garage to an ADU, you will need to follow the steps below to obtain permits. All projects are reviewed for compliance with the Raleigh development code and North Carolina State Building Code.

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 Owner 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.

Prepare Application Materials

The below application forms and supporting documents are required for this project type:

  1. Complete the Residential Permit Application.
  2. Provide a floor plan (to scale) of the entire area. You must show egress and all fire rating/separation requirements.
  3. Provide general construction drawings. Include structural plans if applicable to your project.
  4. If a new HVAC unit will be installed, a signed and sealed survey showing existing conditions and a supplemental drawing showing the proposed location of the unit must be provided.

Submittal Instructions

At this step, your application materials should be ready to assemble. Please take note of the instructions below, applications that do not meet these criteria will not be accepted:

  1. Only PDF file types will be accepted unless other file types (such as image, Excel, or CAD) are specifically called for as part of the application submittal process.
  2. .ZIP files are not allowed.
  3. Only one file should be associated with each discrete document included with the application package. For example, if an application requires 1) an application form, 2) a set of plans, and 3) a calculation report, the applicant should transmit these as three separate files.
  4. City of Raleigh limits email attachments to 30 MB. To send larger files, you may send a file-sharing link (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) to a folder with all required documents. Staff must be given direct access to your files and cannot accept links that require access codes, passwords, or logins.

Submit all files (or file-sharing link) via email to

Tips for Submitting ADU Change-of-Use PDF Files:

  1. Submit one PDF file containing a residential permit application.
  2. Submit one PDF file containing floor plan.
  3. Submit one PDF file with all other supporting documents (drawings, survey, and diagrams).

All application forms and supporting documents listed above must be sent as PDFs to

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. 

Inspections can be scheduled via the permit portal.

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.

  • The Customer Service Center processes payments or you may pay via the Permit Portal.
  • Payment types include Cash, MasterCard, Visa, or check made payable to the City of Raleigh. 

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



Planning and Development Customer Service Center

Planning and Development
Service Categories:
Permits - Residential
Related Services:
Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)