WHEN IS A PERMIT REQUIRED?

The answer is ALMOST ALWAYS!

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.”

In other words, 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.

Examples of everyday projects requiring permits include:

  • Converting a residence to a business.
  • Constructing a deck, screened porch, or sunroom.
  • Installing an irrigation system.
  • Installing a swimming pool.
  • Adding a ceiling fan.
  • Finishing an attic or basement.
  • Replacing a furnace or air conditioner.
  • Replacing water heaters (in almost all cases).
  • Installing gas logs, attic fans, skylights

A permit is not required for:

  • Replacement of non-structural, cosmetic building elements, such as: floor and wall coverings; moldings and trim; cabinets and casework; roof coverings with same materials, etc.
  • Residential accessory buildings that are no more than 12 feet in any dimension.
  • Replacement of electrical fixtures and components when no new wiring is installed.
  • Replacement of plumbing fixtures when the work does not go beyond the trap seal or supply shutoffs.
  • Installation of low voltage exterior landscape lighting that is powered by a cord and plugged into an existing outlet.

Questions? Call or visit the Central Permitting Office.

WHERE IS THE PERMIT OFFICE LOCATED?

We are located at: 215 N. Graham-Hopedale Rd.
Burlington, NC  27217
Phone: (336) 570-4059


WHAT ARE THE OFFICE HOURS?

The Central Permitting Office is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.  Field Inspectors are typically available in the office from 8:00 until 8:30 AM each morning.

WHAT STEPS ARE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A BUILDING PERMIT?

The typical permitting process requires input from several County departments before a building permit can be issued. While not all applications follow the same path, generally the following steps can be expected.

For New Residential Permits:

The Alamance County Planning Department (570-4052), located in the same building as the Central Permitting Office, will identify the property to be improved and enter your parcel into our database. (If you are located within a municipality, go to your town’s Planning Department first.)

When is Environmental Health Department approval required?

If the property is not served by municipal utilities, the Environmental Health Department can determine if there is a suitable site for a well and septic system. You will need to submit a soil evaluation application to the Environmental Health Department and make arrangements for site visit. Once the soil evaluation is completed and approved, depending on your development situation, you will be instructed by the EHD to contact the County’s GIS Mapping Specialist, Katie Harper (570-4085) where you will be assigned an address for your parcel. Once an address is established, EHD will issue you an Authorization to Construct permit, allowing installation of a well and septic system.

Once all approvals are obtained from the departments listed above, submit a completed building permit application, the required plan review fee, and plans to the Central Permitting Office.  Click here for a copy of our residential plan requirements.

Note: All contractor information is required to be on the application when submitted. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. All fees associated with the permit application are due at the time the permit is issued.

For New Commercial Permits:

Visit the Alamance County Planning Department (570-4052), located in the same building as the Central Permitting Office, where they will identify and enter your parcel into our database. (If you are located within a municipality, go to your town’s Planning Department first.)

Contact the County’s GIS Mapping Specialist, Katie Harper (570-4085) where you will be assigned an address for your parcel.

If the building site is located in an area that is not served by a public utility, approval from the Environmental Health Department (336-570-6367) will be required. This may be in the form of an existing systems check or new soil evaluation. If the permit involves a restaurant, pool, or daycare, one set of plans will need to be submitted to Environmental Health for review. Before submitting applications and paying fees, it is recommended that applicants contact Betsy Meeks (ext. 325) about restaurants and Kenneth Greene (ext.318) about pools.

Apply for the Environmental Health Permits that are needed.

Submit a completed building permit application with the plan review fee and three sets of completed sealed plans for review.  Plans must include a completed Appendix “B” (code summary) and a life safety plan.  Once the plan review is complete and the application approved, the Central Permitting Office will contact you to pick up your permit and pay all associated fees.

For Additions and Alterations:

Residential and commercial additions need to have the approval of the Environmental Health Department (336-570-6367) prior to obtaining your building permit, unless your addition is served by municipal utilities. Restaurant, Day Care, and Health Care Facility alterations will also need approval from the Health Department. Before submitting applications and paying fees for restaurant alterations, it is recommended that applicants contact Betsy Meeks (ext. 325).

Submit a completed building permit application and plans for review (see previous section for requirements).  Once the plan review is complete and the application approved, the Central Permitting Office will contact you to pick up your permit and pay all associated fees.  Plan review not required for proposed structures under 500 sq. ft. for residential only.

For Trade Permits:

Submit a completed permit application to the Central Permitting Office.
(Commercial applications require plans for review)

Pay all associated fees.

CAN I, AS HOMEOWNER, DO MY OWN WORK?

Yes, an owner of the property (single family dwellings only) can do their own building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work. The owner does not need to be licensed in any of these areas; however state law requires that the property be the owner’s primary residence for at least twelve months after completion of the work.  A notarized affidavit is required, which can be obtained at our office.

HOW MUCH WILL MY PERMIT COST?

Permit fees may be found on our fee schedule posted on our Fees page.

HOW CAN I GET A PERMIT APPLICATION?

All applications are available at the Central Permitting Office, or you may copy applications found on the Forms page of our website. Fill them out and submit them when you are ready to proceed.

HOW CAN I ACCESS THE NC BUILDING CODE?

Building codes can be obtained through the NC Department of Insurance at (919) 661-5880.

North Carolina Department of Insurance

HOW CAN I SCHEDULE AN INSPECTION?

Requests for inspections made by phone, fax or in person must be made before 4:00 p.m. to ensure a next day inspection. Inspections that are called in AFTER 4:00 pm will not be scheduled for the next business day (example: if you call on Monday at 4:10 pm, your inspection will be scheduled for Wednesday). Requests for inspections via our web site can be made up until 6:00 a.m. the same day.  An online account is required.

AM or PM may be requested for concrete only. It is a request, not a guarantee. An AM request means the job is ready to be inspected at 8:30 AM. A PM request means the job will be ready at 12:00 noontime.

A call ahead request for up to 30 minutes in advance may be made for occupied dwellings only (for example, HVAC changeouts) A valid telephone number must be provided along with the request. If no one answers, the inspector will proceed to the jobsite

Inspection requests shall not include a request for a specific time of day

Location: 215 N. Graham-Hopedale Rd.
Burlington, NC  27217
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Except Holidays)
Phone Numbers: (336) 570-4057
(336) 570-4058
(336) 570-4059
24 Hour Fax Machine: (336) 570-6310

HOW CAN I CONTACT MY INSPECTOR?

Field Inspectors are typically available in the office from 8:00 until 8:30 AM each morning.

HOW DO I OBTAIN CODE BOOKS?

The current edition of the North Carolina State Technical Codes are available through the North Carolina Department of Insurance.   They consist of 13 separate volumes that cover requirements for all building trades, accessibility, energy, fire, modular and manufactured homes, and existing buildings.  They may also be purchased online.