Commercial Permits: New Buildings, Additions, and Change of Use

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

A Commercial (or Non-Residential) Building Permit and/or Zoning Permit approval is required for development activity associated with an apartment, office, and/or commercial uses. Development activity involving a new structure, change of use, addition, fit-up, or alteration/repair that qualifies as a Tier One Site Plan as referenced in the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

This process ensures that all commercial construction complies with N.C. State Building Code and the Unified Development Ordinance as applicable.

Applications received for the following development will be triaged for completeness prior to being processed for review:

  • New buildings
  • Additions
  • Changes of use

Other proposed work, including alterations and fit-ups, may be submitted to the Planning and Development Customer Service Center via email:

Before Submitting an Application

  1. Is your project 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Obtain a recorded map of the property, if available, for new buildings, additions, change of use, and site reviews. If there is no recorded map, a copy of a current signed and sealed survey, in addition to the property description on file with the Wake County Register of Deeds, will be accepted.
  5. Establish an address. Contact the GIS Addressing Team at 919-996-4471 for address assignments.
  6. Obtain approved site permit drawings, administrative site review, or preliminary subdivision, if applicable.
  7. For Food Service, Pool, Institution etc. Please obtain a HSIPOP # from Wake Environmental.
  8. Changing the use or occupancy of a building or portion of a building? Schedule a 20-minute virtual meeting with a Zoning and Building reviewer. During the meeting staff will determine if there is a proposed change of use and/or occupancy;the proposed use is allowed; and if additional building or zoning documents are required with submittal.

Prepare Application Materials

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

  1. Complete the Non-Residential Permit Application.
  2. Complete the Non-Residential Permit Checklist.
  3. Provide a proposed suite layout (for multi-tenant buildings only).
  4. For water meter and/or sewer service requests, you must fill out the Utility Connection portion of the Permit Application and identify all meter sizes or the size of the sewer service requested.
  5. If new utility stubs are requested, you must fill out the Utility Stub portion of the application.
  6. Provide a completed Building Code Summary Sheet.
  7. Provide the following supplemental form if necessary: 
    1. Special Inspection Statement
    2. Third Party Inspections
    3. Alternate Material, Design, or Methods

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.
  5. Digital plan sets meet the following requirements:
    - all PDF sheets must be the same size 
    - minimum size 18"x 24" and cannot exceed size 36"x 24" 
    - plans cannot be secured or locked

Tips for Submitting Commercial Permit PDF Files:

  1. Submit one PDF file containing a commercial permit application and non-residential permit checklist.
  2. Submit one PDF file containing commercial drawings.
  3. Submit one PDF of the city approved stamped site drawings.
  4. Submit one PDF file or file folder with all other supporting documents (truss drawings, calculations, etc.).

All application forms and supporting documents listed above must be attached as PDFs. Please send a PDF of the entire application packet (with all documents) 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 pick up.

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

  • It is recommended that fees be paid via the Permit Portal.
  • All major credit cards and eCheck payments are accepted.
  • If you have questions, please contact the Customer Service Center.

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



Planning and Development
Customer Service Center



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