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.

Jump To:

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 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 Septic and Wastewater Management 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 unless otherwise noted below.

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
- Additional Required Document: Residential Alteration Project Detail
- Please apply for a Residential Building Alteration/Repair permit (to include any additional Plumbing, Mechanical and/or Electrical work as part of your scope) via the Permit Portal.


- 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

(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 to unless otherwise noted below. 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 TypeDescription/ExamplesAdditional Required Documents
Accessory Dwelling UnitA small, self-contained home that is located on the same lot as a primary dwelling.View the Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) webpage for submittal information.
Accessory Structures and Additions

Accessory Structures:
- Detached garages
- Sheds
- Greenhouses
- Detached carports
- Pool houses
- Workshops

- 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

View the Accessory Structures and Additions webpage for submittal information.
Changing Space Inside an Existing StructureNon-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
Visit the Decks and Patios webpage for submittal information.
DemolitionRemoval of an existing structure(s).
NOTE: Stormwater buffers or tree protection may be required. 
Visit the Residential Demolition webpage for more information.
Electric Vehicle Charging StationElectric vehicle charging stationVisit the Electric Vehicle Charging Station Installation webpage for submittal information.
FencesA zoning permit is required when installing a fence View the Fences webpage for submittal information.
Front Yard Parking PadAny parking expansion in the front yardVisit the Front Yard Parking webpage for submittal information.
Home BusinessA zoning permit is required to operate a business in your home.Visit the Home Occupation webpage for more information.
GeneratorNew or replacement generatorYou can apply for a Electrical Generator via our Permit and Development Portal
Plot Plan or Survey
HVACInstallation of NEW units Residential Site Plan Checklist
Plot Plan or Survey
Manufactured/Mobile HomesNew or Replacing a mobile home (only applicable to mobile home park locations)Site plan of mobile home park
- Sketch of mobile home placement on lot with setback dimensions

You can apply for a Mobile (Manufactured) Home Permit via the Permit and Development Portal
Moving a HouseMoving a home within Raleigh city limits or the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) View the House Move and Oversized Equipment Transport webpage for submittal information.
- House Move Permit Application
- Residential Site Plan Checklist
- Residential Permit Data Form
New Single-Family Dwelling/DuplexThis does not include decks, porches, screened porches, garages, or alterations/repairs.Visit the Building a New Single-Family Dwelling or Duplex webpage for submittal information.
Pools + Hot Tubs- Above ground pool
- Pool
- Spa or hot tub 
Visit the Installing a Pool or Spa webpage for submittal information.
Residential Driveway InstallationInstalling a new driveway or sidewalk

- Modifying an existing driveway or sidewalk 
Visit the Residential Driveway Installation webpage for submittal information.
Residential Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System

Installing photovoltaics

New solar equipment on the property 

Visit the Residential Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System webpage for submittal information.
Tiny HomesTiny homes are similar to single-family homes but with just a few differences.Visit the Tiny Homes webpage for submittal information.
Water, Sewer, and Irrigation Services (stubs and meter connections)

New water, sewer, or irrigation services

Removal of water and sewer services

Visit the Connecting to Water and Sewer Services webpage for submittal information.
- Residential Site Plan Checklist
- Copy of Well & Septic tank permit issued by Wake County Health Department is required, if a private well and septic system is to be installed.

Where + When to Submit Your Paperwork

Please submit your completed application and supporting documentation to unless otherwise noted above.

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.

  • 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.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Permit?

Please see our development review turnaround times.



Planning and Development
Customer Service Center
Customer Request Form


Lead Department:
Planning and Development