Single Family Development Permits

Typically, a new single-family residence will require a building permit, electrical permit, plumbing permit, gas piping permit, zoning permit, grading permit, sewer service approval, water service approval and a driveway access permit. The City of Asheville’s Development Services Center helps citizens and developers submit the necessary applications to receive these permits.

Permits are not required for construction, alterations, repairs or replacements that will cost five thousand dollars ($5,000) or less in any single-family residence unless the work involves: (1) the addition, repair or replacement of load bearing structures; (2) the addition (excluding same size and capacity) or change in the design of plumbing; (3) the addition, replacement or change in the design of heating, air conditioning, or electrical wiring, devices, appliances, or equipment; or (4) the addition (excluding replacement of like grade of fire resistance) of roofing. If any of these conditions exist, a permit is required.

Residential Building Plan Review Waiver

Building code plan review is not required by state law for one and two family dwellings. The Department provides this compliance review as a service to the pubic. If the scope of work is limited to interior renovations or reroof; work is being done by a licensed General Contractor; or plans and details for the project have been produced under the responsible care of a North Carolina licensed design professional (architect or engineer), you can choose to waive the building review service. Signing this waiver ideally results in faster issuance of the required permits.

Single Family Residential Zoning Information

If you are building a new home, deck, or shed, information is available to help you determine the setback regulations required by zoning. Follow these steps to obtain this information:

  • Determine the zoning of your property using Simplicity.
  • Find the page in the Single Family Residential Setback Guide that corresponds to your zoning. This document will demonstrate the required front, side, and rear setbacks as well as what encroachments (decks, architectural features, sheds, etc.) are allowed within the setbacks.
  • If you want to build a stand-along Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) or to build one along with your home (either attached or detached), visit the project page here (under Citywide Projects) to learn more about ADUs.  

Information Required for Permit Applications

Plans Required For Submission

Single-Family permit applications require three complete sets of plans and construction documents. One copy of the building plans and site plans shall remain on file with the City of Asheville Building Safety Department, one set is made available to the Buncombe County Tax Department, and one set is stamped as approved drawings and returned to the permit applicant. The approved drawings are required to be available at the jobsite for the field inspector to use during inspections.

  • Building Construction Plans: Three sets required: 1/2 set and maximum size is twenty-four (24) inches. Building plans should be drawn to scale and be of sufficient clarity to demonstrate compliance with the North Carolina State Building Code. As a rule of thumb, the drawings should be detailed enough so that a builder could do the construction from the information provided in the drawings. Plans for additions or remodels may need to include information about the existing structural elements of the dwelling if those elements are involved in structural support of the new addition or remodeling.
  • Site Plans: Three sets required. Site plans are used to check for minimum setback compliance with both zoning ordinances and the building code. Site plans should show the site's property boundaries, the total area of land to be disturbed, the location of the building or additions, distances from new construction to the property lines and the location and width of the driveway where it enters the street.
  • Grading & Erosion Control: If the project will disturb earth via grading work, scraping an area to place a building or addition, or disturbing areas for new driveways, you must include the protective steps you will take to prevent soil from leaving your property. These measures include silt fences, diversion ditches, gravel mud mat for construction entrance, etc. A grading permit is required when the disturbed area of your development is equal to or more than 500 square feet. Review sketch and plan requirements for projects that require a grading permit.

Licensed General Contractor Requirements

North Carolina General Statutes require a licensed general contractor for construction where the total cost of the undertaking is $30,000 or more. Under $30,000, a licensed general contractor is not required. An exception allows a homeowner to act as their own general contractor without a license for the construction of their own home when the cost exceeds $30,000. As a condition of this exception, the owner and/or immediate family members shall occupy the dwelling for a minimum of 12 months after the job is completed. The dwelling may not be rented, leased or sold during this time period.

Plumbing & Mechanical Work

A homeowner may elect to do his or her own plumbing and/or mechanical work without holding a license in these areas provided that:

  • Plumbing and/or Mechanical permits are obtained.
  • The work is inspected by the plumbing or mechanical inspector.
  • The owner occupies the dwelling for 12 months after completion of the job

Electrical Work

A homeowner may elect to do his or her own electrical work without holding an electrical contractor's license provide that:

  • The applicant passes an electrical exam administered by the Building Safety Department.
  • An Electrical Permit is obtained.
  • The work is inspected by the electrical inspector.
  • The owner occupies the dwelling for 12 months after completion of the job.