Permits & Applications

Whether you are an Asheville homeowner replacing a water heater, a small business owner starting a new restaurant or a contractor building an office building, your project will need to obtain a permit. The process for obtaining a permit depends on the scope of your project. City of Asheville staff can help you determine the route you will need to take through the development process for your project, but please remember that work requiring a permit cannot begin until the permit holder or his agent posts the permit in a weatherproof, accessible and conspicuous location on the premises. There are several types of permits/approvals depending on the complexity of your project. A note on Zoning requirements: all projects that require plan review, whether they qualify for Small Project Permit or not, must comply with local zoning regulations. Zoning requirements can impact the type of business allowed in your commercial suite or how large and where your home addition can be located. Prior to preparation of plans, obtain information specific to your site and schedule a pre-application conference.

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 $30,000 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 stand alone permits.  You may visit the website for additional information and a step-by-step guide to completing the designation process online.

Stand Alone and Multi-Trade Permits
Permits for minor residential installations are referred to as Stand Alone Trade Permits. If an installation requires more than one type of installation, it is referred to as a Multi-Trade permit. Plumbing, electrical or mechanical (HVAC) projects that do not require plans but require a permit, can often be issued the same day they are requested. Projects in this category include installing a new electrical circuit, placing a heating system or adding or replacing a water heater. Licensed contractors are encouraged to use the Development, Permit, & Inspection Portal to apply for these permits. Permits are issued at application when using the portal. Applications may also be emailed to or faxed to (828) 259-5676.

Quick Touch Permits
Some permits do not require extensive review and only require review from Building Safety staff. These can generally be turned around in one to three working days. These include permits for demolition, emergency repairs, reroofing, like-for-like replacement of finishes and equipment, construction trailers, foster care, work-after-hours, and permits for the placement of a mobile home in an established park or replacement of an existing mobile home.

Small Project Permits
Seemingly uncomplicated projects may require plan submittal and review from multiple disciplines. Small project permits can often be issued more quickly than other permits; estimate around 10 working days. Examples of small projects include signs, temporary use permits, additions of less than 500 square feet, accessory structures, interior remodel, or tenant up-fits of existing units.

Standard and Large Project Permits

Within "standard" and "large" commercial projects the scale and complexity can vary greatly but they always require technical review by multiple disciplines. The "standard" category covers most low to mid-rise construction. The "large" commercial project category will generally take longer to review due to special detailed requirements based on use and occupancy. High rise construction, covered malls, multi-family buildings over four stories or over 100 units, assemblies of greater than 1,000 occupants, education buildings, institutional buildings, and hazardous uses are considered large commercial projects. The anticipated review times reflect project complexity. Consult the review times matrix to understand how long it will take staff to review your project. 

Occupancy or Tenant Change With No Construction Work Performed

If you are moving into a vacant tenant space with a new business similar to previous tenant and will not be performing any construction work, you need a Certificate of Occupancy. Life-safety requirements must be verified and approved before you can open. There is a streamlined process to obtain your Certificate of Occupancy by filling out the Tenant Occupancy Application with information on the new business, certifying you are performing no construction work, paying a nominal inspection fee, and verifying that all the required life safety items are in place before you open for business. If you are performing no construction work, the permit will be issued (in most instances) while you wait. The inspection can occur the next business day when all the life safety requirements are met and you have scheduled the inspection per the instructions as printed on your permit.

Application Shortcuts
The Development Services Department accepts and processes many different development related applications.  The links below are provided as a convenience, but do not include all instructions or information provided elsewhere on this site.

ABC Packet Level 1 Sketch Plan -Checklist
Amendment Application Level 1 (Over 10,000 sq ft) - Checklist
Appendix B (2009 & 2012 version available) Level 1 within Central Business - Checklist
Business License Application Informal Grading (Under 10,000 sq ft disturbed) - Checklist
Commercial/Multifamily Application Formal Grading (10,000 sq ft or more disturbed) - Checklist
Single Family Residential Application Fire Permits
Tenant Occupancy Application Tenant Change-Out Bulletin
Small Commercial Construction Summary (ez-B) Temporary Certificate of Occupancy
Stand Alone & Multi-Trade Application Temporary Utility Service
Outdoor Dining/Merchandise or Pushcart Application Fire Water Analysis
Metropolitan Sewerage District-Service Application  Lien Agent Designation (link to website)
Water Availability and Meter Application Development Services Fee Schedule
Temporary Use Permit Historic Resources Applications
Home Occupation Application Flexible Development Application
Permanent and Temporary Sign Permit Application Subdivision Application
Residential Plan Review Waiver Inspection Guide 
PV System Submittal Requirements and Forms Inspector List
Fire Hydrant Meter Application  

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