How to Know If You Need a Building Permit and How to Get One in Charlotte, NC

Katherine Oakes
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This Southern city has all the charm and history of one of the first settled nations (because it is), plus all of the perks of city living that you love—with a beautiful natural landscape to boot.

And there’s more good news. The Queen City, as its affectionately known, is the third fastest growing city in the nation and is pretty used to getting recognized for the quality of life its residents have here—in a good way.

As one of the most affordable places in the country, with the city, beach and country all in reach, Charlotte is a great choice for a hometown. Thinking about making the move, buying a home and fixing the place up? We’ve rounded up some pretty important info to help you get started and get that pesky paperwork out of the way, so you can enjoy your home sweet home.

Permits and paperwork

If you’ve ever done a home improvement project in Charlotte before then you may know a thing or two about getting building permits, completing paperwork and the arduous process that it can sometimes turn into. The most important thing to remember is that doing your research first always pays off in the long run and knowing how to get your permits and all the necessary paperwork will only help things to go smoothly.

Fortunately, the City of Charlotte makes it all pretty easy with their online database that allows homeowners to gather all the info you need, from contractors and inspectors and even to a handy guide. It’s pretty common for project regulations to vary depending on municipalities, so it’s always a good idea to do your research first. Check it out here

Building a deck and getting your permits

Thanks to the Queen City’s beautiful weather, folks here really enjoy spending time outside. As a homeowner looking to make the most of your outdoor space by building a deck you will need to obtain a building permit. According to the city regulations, decks in Charlotte need to be inspected for footing size and depth, girder and joist spans, attachments, and railing requirements. This means it’s best to contact a reliable and experienced contractor and architect who can ensure the structure will pass an inspection.

Obtaining a permit can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month, but the process is fairly straightforward. Like many other cities, Charlotte requires you to fill out an application through the municipality that includes your contractor’s information and your information, and it must be approved by the zoning district as well. Once it’s finished, you’re home is ready to get decked out!

Building a fence and getting a permit

Whenever you build a fence, it’s always good manners to be mindful of your neighbors. In the city of Charlotte, homeowners are asked to do exactly that, among other things. Building regulations for fences require a height of about six feet tall or less (no more) and ask that the fence be within a homeowner’s property with the finished side facing inward, unless it’s designed to look the same on both sides.

From there, you can locate your application online through your local municipality. Fortunately, it offers homeowners a handy checklist and plenty of additional information should you need it. However, fences are home projects that don’t require much manual labor or measuring, so all you need is:

  • Fill out an application
  • Provide a site plan that has been drawn to scale with a survey showing the proposed location
  • Notice of commencement over $2,500.00
  • If applicable, a copy of Release of Easement

As always, make sure you check the local laws and requirements of your zoning district just in case.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on February 22, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Katherine Oakes

Katherine is a contributor from Modernize, the online service that connects homeowners with contractors specializing in energy-efficient home improvement projects.
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