Residential Permit Application Procedure
Permits for small projects can be obtained using our SPOT (Small Project One-hour Turnaround) program. Applicants can visit the Inspections and Permits office with all required information (plot plan, building plans, contractor information, etc.,) and receive a permit within one hour. Staff members also help correct any problems with plans or paperwork while you wait, saving phone calls and delays. Eligible projects include decks, porches, storage buildings, additions of less than 500 square feet and conversions of attic or basement space of less than 1,500 square feet. Complex projects may require a more extensive plan review and may not be appropriate for a SPOT review. A plans examiner will advise the applicant if a project is too complex to be reviewed as a SPOT.
If you have any questions regarding our SPOT program, feel free to call (919) 469-4046.
SPOT Hours Weekdays, 8-11 a.m.
One and two family homes require a completed application, available at our customer service counter. (See the Forms page for a sample application.) Provide us with two or three copies of the plans, a completed application, and a copy of the plot plan showing the house at exact scale (sample Plot Plan). Review usually takes two weeks. We will verify contractors’ licenses and ensure compliance with the Town zoning code and state building code. If all is approved, we will call you to pick up your permit.
Building plans for single-family detached homes that have an architect’s or engineer’s seal are not reviewed by our Plan Review Division. Instead, code enforcement officials check for compliance at the construction site, after the permit has been issued. This procedure also applies to residential additions and alterations such as decks, sun rooms and porches.
Residential plans without the seal of a design professional licensed in North Carolina are reviewed by the Plan Review Division.
The N.C. Residential Building Code requires that plans verify compliance with the state Energy Code.
Residential Deck Permit Procedure
Residential decks are wooden structures typically supported on posts and always require a building permit. Plans and an updated plot plan should be submitted for review before beginning work. See the Deck Design Assistant for more information.
Residential Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs
Please see our Permitting and Inspections Guide for Residential Swimming Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs for detailed information on the permitting and inspections requirements.
For more information on swimming pool safety, please visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website. You can also find information on swimming pool barriers on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website,
Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Installation
Please see our Permitting and Inspections Guide for Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment for detailed information on permitting and inspections requirements for EV charging stations.
Single-Family Home Site Inspections
Certificates of occupancy for single-family homes also require site inspections, which are conducted by the Planning Department staff. For questions about site inspections, please contact the Planning Department at (919) 469-4082.
As-Built Foundation Surveys
All residential structures and accessory buildings require a sealed as-built foundation survey by a land surveyor registered in North Carolina.
Commercial Permit Application Procedure
Permits for commercial or multi-family construction require that a site plan be approved for the project by the Planning Department. When the site has been approved, the applicant submits four sets of plans and a completed application. The review process usually takes three to four weeks, but can be longer depending upon the size and complexity of the project.
During the review process, contractors' licenses will be verified, fees will be calculated, and plans will be reviewed by building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and fire plans examiners, as well as Wake County Environmental Services, Utilities Pre-Treatment, and/or any other applicable departments as required. Any problems found during the process are communicated by fax, e-mail or telephone to the project contact for updates or corrections. Upon approval, two sets of plans are returned to the applicant. For more information on submitting commercial plans, please contact Customer Service at (919) 469-4046.
Express Review for Building Permits
Express Review is a service that allows payment for faster examination of some commercial construction plans, usually resulting in permits the next day.
Irrigation Water Meters
Irrigation-only water meters are required on all new irrigation systems. See the fee schedule.
The Town of Cary encourages landscapers to use native and drought tolerant plants wherever possible. When irrigation systems are necessary, they must meet guidelines found in the Community Appearance Manual.
Read more about design requirements, permitting and inspection of irrigation systems in our Irrigation Submittal Information Guide.
Inspections can be scheduled online, via telephone or in person.
If you do not have access to a computer and need to schedule an inspection, you can call us at (919) 469-4046, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Inspections that are called in AFTER 4:00 pm cannot be guaranteed for the next business day (example: if you call on Monday at 4:10 pm, your inspection will be scheduled for Wednesday).
For more information about scheduling inspections, please contact us at (919) 469-4046 or please stop by our office weekdays between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.