When is a Commercial Building Permit Required?

 A Commercial Building Permit from the Town of Cary is required anytime a new tenant moves into a space or if any plumbing, electrical, mechanical, sprinkler, fire alarm or structural changes are made to the building.  In cases where a new tenant moves into a space, these permits are classified as either a change of tenant (moving into a space that was previously permitted for the same building occupancy type, such as Business to Business) or a change of occupancy (moving into a space that was previously approved for a different building code occupancy type, such as from a Business use to an Educational use).  For more information, please visit the Chamber of Commerce/Town of Cary Guide to Starting a Business or contact a Development Liaison at (919) 469-4046.

Obtaining a Commercial Building Permit

Permits for commercial or multi-family construction require that a site plan be approved for the project by the Planning Department. 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, email or telephone to the project contact for updates or corrections. Upon approval, two (2) sets of plans are returned to the applicant.

The Life of a Typical Commercial Building Permit

  1.  Submit an application. Commercial Building Permits are accepted in paper form only – they are not available online. 

  2. Mail/bring it to the Inspections & Permits Department along with four (4) sets of complete plans, one site plan, a completed Appendix B from the Building Code, and minimum facilities calculations per Table 407 of Volume II are all required. In addition, water system calculations for 2" meters or larger, sewer flow calculations, and grease interceptor calculations are required, if applicable.

  3. Application is assigned a number and input into the computer

  4. Application is reviewed by the Development Review Division:
    Building;Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical (if applicable)

  5. Application is reviewed by other Departments (if applicable)
    Any comments that need addressing are sent via email to the contact person for handling.

  6. Once all comments are addressed and approved, fees are assessed

  7. The Permit Technician calls the contact person and informs them the permit is ready to be issued.

  8. Once payment is received, application becomes the official permit!

  9. Inspections are requested when needed.

  10. Upon final inspection and all fees are paid a Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Compliance is issued to the property owner and the contractor.

Fire and Sprinkler Plans can be sent separately – a Project Modification Form will be required when submitting the plans. They will have the same application/permit number as the other trades (building, mechanical, electrical, plumbing) – they go through an abbreviated review process.


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