How big of a structure can i build without a permit in nc?

A building permit is not required for a freestanding accessory structure, as long as the structure does not exceed twelve feet (12 feet) in ANY dimension. This means that if the building is only 10 feet wide by 12 feet long by 11 feet high, a building permit will not be required (a zoning permit may still be required). The “final inspection” can be performed after installation and consists of an on-site evaluation by a building inspector to ensure that the construction, installation and location of the building were performed in accordance with the approved application documents. Most of the time, the process of obtaining permits is done through the county or city if you are in the limits of a medium to large city.

Building permits are not normally required, but some local municipalities still require a “zoning permit”. If you are in a septic system, a separate request and fee may be required to review and inspect the location of the septic tank and pipes in relation to the location of the structure. For any accessory building, such as a shed, with a dimension greater than 12 feet, the North Carolina State Building Code requires that a permit be issued, although a 12 foot x 12 foot shed does not normally need a permit. You may need a permit to place an already-built shed on your property in North Carolina, depending on the size and location of the shed.

Sometimes, you'll need to file a municipal permit and a county permit, although in some areas they are combined. A residential accessory structure that does not exceed 12 feet in any dimension can be built without a building permit, but it will still require a zoning permit. Failure to obtain a permit may result in a fine and the shed may need to be demolished if it doesn't meet the code requirements. Sheds and other accessory structures, such as freestanding garages that exceed 144 square feet, require a building permit and a zoning permit.

If you plan to use your shed as a warehouse, as a hobby, or as a workshop, you may not need to obtain a permit. Repair or replacement of dishwashers, grinders, electrical devices, or lighting fixtures in residential or commercial structures, if (the repair or replacement) do not require the addition or relocation of additional electrical wiring and (the work is performed by a person authorized by the State Board of Electrical Contractors Examiners). In North Carolina, obtaining a permit is generally required before building a shed on your property.

Deb Favolise
Deb Favolise

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