Commercial Express Review

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Express Process Overview Eligible Projects Paying Fees Cancellation Policy How to Schedule

Expanded Pony Express Pilot Program available for commercial permits.

As an alternative to the Express Service Review option, Planning and Development is piloting a temporary expansion of the Pony Express Review Process for smaller commercial projects such as interior alterations and upfits.

The Express Permitting Process is an expedited commercial plan review in which project managers, design professionals, and trade plan reviewers are present and work together. All Express Reviews are being conducted via the virtual platform Zoom. 

Express Process Overview

  1. Client requests an available Express Review date via our scheduling portal. Upon receipt of a formal confirmation, the 1st-hour deposit is due. The client will email their full submittal package (to include the full set of sealed plans, completed Non-Residential Permit Application(s), Supporting documents, Lien agent, and Suite Layout if applicable) no later than (five) 5-business days prior to their scheduled review date.
  2. An initial kickoff meeting is hosted at the scheduled Express Review time.
    The intent of the meeting is to allow the client to scope the project and provide initial comments. Review staff will each have an opportunity to ask initial questions or provide initial feedback. All engineers and design professionals are required to attend the virtual kickoff meeting.
  3. At the conclusion of the kickoff meeting review, staff will have two business days to conduct the review.
    During the review period, the City of Raleigh staff will reach out to the appropriate engineer or architect to discuss the plans.
  4. At the conclusion of the two-day review, plans will either be approved, or comments will be entered and can be viewed via the Permit and Development Portal.
    If plans require resubmittal, clients will have three business days to submit the complete revised plan set with clouded changes and response to comments narrative for re-review.
  5. If further reviews are required, please schedule a new express or submit via a standard review.

Eligible Projects

Projects eligible for Express Review:


  • New Construction - All projects MUST complete one round of Standard Review before being eligible for Express.
  • Alteration
  • Change of Use
  • First Generation Fit Up/Interior Completion

Site - All projects MUST complete one round of Standard Review before being eligible for Express.

Scoping Review - These reviews are not considered formal reviews and will not result in plan or permit approval.

Paying Fees

Express Review fees apply to all reviews. The deposit covers the first hour of review and is due upon receipt of the formal confirmation of your review date. Additional fees, if applicable, for review time will be applied at the conclusion of the first review cycle. If the project requires a formal resubmittal a new date would be selected, and review fees would apply.

Express Review fees can be found on the Development Fee Guide.

Cancellation Policy

Reviews that are cancelled or rescheduled fifteen 15 or more business days prior to the review will not be charged a fee.

Reviews that are cancelled or rescheduled between five and 14 business days prior to the review will be charged a $250 fee.

Reviews that are cancelled or rescheduled less than five business days prior to the review will forfeit deposit. 

How to Schedule

To schedule your Express Review please visit our online calendar at


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