Permits required

The North Carolina Building Code requires that a building or construction permit must be obtained prior to the construction, repair or alteration of a residential or commercial structure. In addition, the City's Development Ordinance requires that a zoning permit be obtained for those land development activities not covered by the State Building Code. The purpose of permits and the accompanying inspection process is to ensure that structures are well-constructed and safe for their occupants. In addition, permits and inspections of construction and development assist in protecting property values.

All Residential Construction Projects Require a Permit

 All construction and development projects require a permit and inspection unless excluded by a code or law. Permits are always required if anyone undertakes the following projects, regardless or cost:
  • The addition, repair or replacement of load-bearing structures;
  • The addition or change in the design of a plumbing system;
  • The addition, replacement or change in the design of a heating, air-conditioning, or electrical wiring, appliances or equipment;
  • The addition of roofing on top of existing roofing;
  • Use of materials not permitted by the North Carolina Residential Code.
North Carolina General Statutes excludes a few projects from the permit and inspection requirement. The following are the most common projects where the work is excluded from the permit and inspection requirement. All work should still be performed in accordance with the current edition of the North Carolina State Building Code:

  • Single Family Residential Exclusions: If the total project cost* is equal to or less than $15,000:
    • The replacement of windows, doors, exterior siding, or the pickets, railings, stair treads, and deck boards of porches and exterior decks;
    • The replacement of plumbing that does not change size or capacity;
    • The replacement of roofing.
  • One and Two-Family Exclusions: Replacement of a water heater provided:
    • The work is performed by a person licensed by the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors; and
    • The energy use of thermal input does not exceed that of the water heater being replaced and there is no change in fuel, energy source, location, capacity, routing or sizing of venting and piping.
  • Residential and Commercial Electrical Device and Lighting Fixture Exclusion: Repair or replacement or dishwashers, disposals, water heaters, electrical devices or lighting fixtures, if:
    • The work is performed by a person licensed by the State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors; and
    • The repair or replacement does not require the addition or relocation of electrical wiring.
*Total Project Cost = The cumulative cost for ALL trades involved in the project.

Projects Requiring a Zoning Permit

Listed below are some typical projects that require a zoning permit and inspection:
  • Signs
  • Fences
  • Residential accessory buildings with all dimensions (height, width, or depth) 12 feet or less
  • Home occupations
  • Land uses of property with no buildings
  • Itinerant merchants
  • Mobile food vendors that are not located on a street or sidewalk
  • Outdoor seasonal sales for seasonal agriculture projects, such as Christmas trees, pumpkins and living plants
  • Construction-related uses, such as for equipment and storage lots, construction employee parking lots
  • Special events, such as arts and crafts shows, musical events, concerts, carnivals, outdoor religious events
  • Temporary dwellings, such as for construction
  • Temporary land clearing and inert debris landfills
  • Temporary real estate offices
  • Temporary wireless telecommunications facilities

Requesting a Permit

The type of permit required for a project is dependent upon the proposed type of construction or development work. For most projects, only one permit is required. The person that is authorized to obtain a permit is established by the North Carolina General Statutes and the City's Development Ordinance.

Permits are submitted to the Development Services Center online through Accela Citizen Access (ACA). Please see Selecting the Correct Record Type (PDF) for additional guidance on the type of permit that should be chosen during the online permitting process. Copies of all permit applications are also available in PDF format and may clarify the information needed for online permit submittal.

Inspections Required

All permitted construction and development projects require inspections. Inspections make sure that the project is built and developed per the permit and all the applicable construction and development codes. The type of inspections required for a specific project are listed on the issued permit. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to schedule the required inspections at the appropriate time in the construction and development process. Once a project is complete, a final inspection is scheduled and conducted. When the final inspection is completed, a certificate is issued that states the project is code compliant.

Permit Duration

All permits expire if the work is not begun or completed. State law provides that a construction permit will expire 6 months after issuance if the work has not actually commenced on the project. Also, if the work began, but is later abandoned or discontinued for a period of 12 months, then the construction permit expires. For zoning permits, the City's Development Ordinance similarly provides that the permit expires 6 months after issuance if the work has not begun.

More Information

If you have questions regarding your project, permits or the process, contact a High Point Permit Specialist at 336-883-3151.