Building and Design Information

Buildings, structures, and parts thereof shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the 2018 North Carolina State Building Code, 2018 Fire Code, 2018 Fuel Gas Code, 2018 Mechanical Code, 2018 Plumbing Code and the 2020 NEC (National Electric Code). Design criteria specific to our area include a 90-mph wind speed and a 15 pounds per square foot ground snow load. Please call our office with any further questions. You may view the North Carolina International Building Codes online at

2018 North Carolina Building Code Bundle

Permitting Requirements

Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute § 160D-1110, most interior and exterior work requires a building permit prior to beginning construction. Any accessory building with a dimensional measurement of 12 feet or more will require an accessory structure permit. This includes, but is not limited to, carports, garages, utility buildings and decks or porches. 

If you perform work without a permit, you may receive a $150.00 penalty in addition to regular permit fees, in the form of a Stop Work Order Fee. Call the building inspections office with any inquiries regarding the building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical codes.

Note that all job sites must obtain the first inspection within 6 months of permit issuance and at least one inspection per year to keep the permit valid.

Effective October 1, 2023, NC General Statute 87-1 was amended, causing the project cost requirement for general contractor's licensure to be raised from $30,000 to $40,000 or more. This means that any project that includes building, highway, public utilities, grading or any improvement or structure where the cost of the undertaking is forty thousand dollars ($40,000) or more shall require a valid NC General Contractor's license. 

Lien Agent Designation

Effective for construction projects beginning on or after April 1, 2013, North Carolina law requires appointment of a lien agent.  Contractors and subcontractors can then give notice they are working on the project. Appointments are not required for (1) improvements under $40,000 or (2) to the owner’s existing residence or (3) for public building projects.  Our office will require the lien agent designation before a permit will be released for commencement of construction, including single trade permits.  You may visit the website for additional information and a step-by-step guide to completing the designation process online.

Applying for a Permit

To apply for permits or obtain further information, please go to the Collections Department located at Town Hall, 128 North Powell Street, Forest City, NC 28043 or call our department line at (828)248-5239. Applications can be found here, printed and completed, then emailed ( ,dropped off in person, or faxed to (828)245-6143.

Scheduling Inspections

Inspection requests must be made at least one day in advance, via phone (828)248-5239, online portal or by email

Required Inspections

The following is an outline of different types of inspections the Town of Forest City provides and a schedule of when they are to be performed throughout the construction process as required by the North Carolina State Building Code. "This is not intended to be a complete list of items to be checked nor does it certify proper operation of equipment or systems." Depending on the size or complexity of the project, you may not need as many, or possibly would require more inspections that are listed below. If you have questions regarding the process, please contact the Code Enforcement Department at (828)248-5239.


1) Footing Inspection: To be made after the trenches are excavated, all grade stakes are installed, all reinforcing steel and supports are in place and appropriately tied, all necessary forms are in place and braced before any concrete is placed.

2) Under Slab Inspection for Habitable Spaces: To be made after all forms have been placed, all electrical plumbing and/or heating and air conditioning facilities, all crushed stone, a vapor retarder, insulation, all reinforcing steel with supports and tied and/or all welded wire fabric is installed, when required, and before any concrete is placed. [Exception: an inspection is not required for driveway slabs, at-grade patio slabs, walks, etc which are considered non-habitable spaces.]

3) Monolithic Slab Inspection (MS): A monolithic slab is a combination of footing, and slab where the footing and slab preparations described are in place prior to the inspection. 

4) Foundation Inspection: To be made after all foundation supports are installed. This inspection is to check foundation supports, crawl space leveling, ground clearances, and positive drainage, where required. 

5) Rough-In Inspection: To be made on parts of the electrical, plumbing, heating/ventilation, or cooling system that will be hidden from view the finished building after all parts of the building framing are in place.

6) Building Framing Inspection: To be made after the roof, wall, ceiling, and floor framing is complete with appropriate blocking, bracing and fire stopping in place. The following items should be in place and visible for inspection: pipes, chimneys and vents, flashing for roofs, chimneys and wall openings, insulation baffles. All lintels are required to be bolted to the framing for support shall not be covered by any interior or exterior wall or ceiling finish materials before approval. Work may continue without approval for lintels which are bolted and supported on masonry or concrete.

7) Insultation Inspection: To be made after an approved building framing inspection and trade rough-in inspections. All insulation and vapor barriers/retarders must be in place, but before any wall or ceiling covering is applied. Blown-in ceiling insulation may be inspected at the final inspection if all areas are accessible. The following are minimum requirements for buildings in North Carolina: 

  • Roofs or ceilings need to be insulated to a minimum of R-38 for residential construction and R-42 for commercial construction.
  • Walls need to be insulated to a minimum of R-15 for residential construction and R-19 for commercial construction.
  • Floors over unheated spaces need to be insulated to a minimum of R-19 for residential construction and R-38 for commercial construction, if a slab is not present.

8) Final Inspection: Each trade must be completed prior to requesting a final inspection for each. Typically, the building final inspection is performed last. All final grading, drainage, handrails and guard rails are to be in place. Once all final building and trade inspections are complete and any requirements by an outside agency has been satisfied and approved, a Certificate of Completion or Certificate of Occupancy will be issued for the property.

9) Other Inspections: In addition to the named inspections above, the inspection department may require other inspections to ascertain compliance with the Building Code and other laws enforced by the Inspections Department, Zoning Department and/or Fire Marshal. 

ETJ - Extra Territorial Jurisdiction

ETJ's are a regulatory planning tool, which allow a town to exercise zoning control outside of its boundaries. The town does not provide services or charge taxes to the residents, nor does it mean the area has been annexed, but the residents are entitled to representation on the town's Board of Planning and Adjustment. Residents of the ETJ are required to obtain the proper permits from the Town of Forest City Building and Zoning Department when building or remodeling residential and commercial structures.

Plan Review

Construction plans require a review time of 10 to 14 working days. If your project requires a site or subdivision plan, these have to be reviewed and approved by the Zoning Official before permits are issued.

***NEW***Plans can now be submitted digitally, by emailing to, requiring one printed copy to be dropped off to 128 N Powell Street Forest City, NC 28043.

Site Plan Requirements

  • Property Boundaries
  • Adjacent Street Rights-of-Way
  • Driveway Locations
  • Building Footprint
  • Buffer yards, Screening, Landscaping and Preserved Natural Areas. (Can be in a form of a Landscape Plan)
  • Floodway and 100 Year Floodplain

Commercial Plan Requirements

  • Building/Site Plan - 1 Digital File and 1 Printed Set
  • Completed Appendix B
  • Foundation Plan - 1 Digital File and 1 Printed Set
  • Framing Details/Structural Plan -1 Digital File and 1 Printed Set
  • Roof Plan -1 Digital File and 1 Printed Set
  • Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical Plans -1 Digital File and 1 Printed Set

For information on zoning compliance, setbacks, flood information, or planning related matters, please call 828.247.4412. State law requires that an erosion control plan for land-disturbing activities greater than one acre be filed with the state at least 30 days prior to beginning activity and be approved prior to construction. Contact the Land Quality Section of the N.C. Dept. of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources at 919.571.4700 for more information on state requirements.

Visit the following websites for more information: