When is a building permit required?

The answer is almost always. A permit is required anytime work is done on a building or structure, or the systems serving the structure (including plumbing, mechanical and electrical wiring) with a few exceptions. In general, work on a one and two-family dwelling that is structural in nature or exceeds $15,000 in value will require a permit. The $15,000 exemption is not applicable to commercial or multi-family structures.

The North Carolina State Building Code states: "No person, firm or corporation shall erect, construct, enlarge, install, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert or demolish any building, structure, or service system without first obtaining a permit for such from the Inspections Department having jurisdiction."

Permit Required
State law requires that permits be obtained before beginning these types of projects:
No Permit Required
Constructing a deck, screened porch, sunroom, gazebo, retaining wall, sheds, etc. (also known as Accessory Structures)Replacement of water heaters in one- and two-family dwellings when placed in the same location, using the same fuel source, and done by a licensed Plumbing Contractor

Replacing an existing deck, steps and/or railings.

Replacing an air conditioning/heating system

Replacement of non-structural cosmetic building elements such as: floor and wall coverings; moldings and trim; cabinets and casework; roof coverings with the same materials, etc.
Installing a swimming pool, hot tub, spaReplacement of electrical fixtures and components when work is not done within the wall or ceiling cavity or behind the finished wall or ceiling surface

Adding a ceiling fan (where one previously did not exist)

Kitchen, bathroom and other interior renovations involving structural/wall changes

Replacement of plumbing fixtures when the work does not go beyond the trap seal

Converting a porch to a sunroom (adding windows)

Siding and window replacement (provided the total value of the work exceeds $15,000)

Installation of low voltage exterior landscape lighting

These are examples but you are encouraged to contact the Planning and Inspections Department with any questions you may have at 252-354-3338. Our office is open:

  • Monday through Friday
    8 am to 5 pm
    (excluding holidays)

Show All Answers

1. When is a building permit required?
2. What do I need to obtain a permit?
3. How long does it take to obtain a permit?
4. Can I, the homeowner, act as my own contractor?
5. When is a Licensed General Contractor required to obtain a building permit?
6. How much will my permit cost?
7. When is a CAMA Permit required and where can they be obtained?
8. Is there a different CAMA Permit required for docks, boat lifts and seawalls?
9. When is a grading permit required?
10. What are the regulations on pruning vegetation, the removal of trees and the required natural area?
11. When is a flood development permit required?