Building Permits FAQs

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option
When do I need a building permit and how much will it cost?

You need a building permit for all construction that involves the construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, movement to another site, removal, or demolition of any building or structure. All electrical, plumbing and mechanical work needs a separate permit for each trade. The price of the permit is calculated using the cost of the construction. Check out our Permits, Applications and Procedures.

NC General Statute 160A-417 (Permits) governs the issuance of permits.

Where can I get a permit?

Development Services
300 W. Washington Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Phone: 336-373-2155 
Fax: 336-333-6056 
Business Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 am to 5 pm 

When am I required to get a permit?

For Plumbing:

~ Installations, alterations or additions to the sanitary drainage, waste or vent systems (DWV).
~ Installation of fixtures, water heaters and appliances requiring connection to the building DWV, water service or water distribution system.
~ Installation of sewer and or water service systems, including replacement.
~ Special application equipment such as water softeners, process water connections, grease traps, etc.

For Mechanical:

~ Installation or replacement of a furnace, condenser, boiler, chiller, solar, hot water or steam heating and/or cooling system used in heating or cooling residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial facilities.
~ Energy distribution systems such as duct work and piping systems are included in the requirements for permits. Installation or replacement of gas piping, equipment and appliances.
~ Fossil fuel fired heating equipment -- oil, wood, coal, etc.
~ Installation and/or replacement of gas logs, vented and non-vented -- ranges, grills, lights etc.
~ Commercial refrigeration systems, coils, freezers, coolers, etc., any commercial refrigeration equipment assembled on site and not designed as unitary plug-in appliances.

What is APRIL?

The acronym APRIL stands for Automated Attendant for Permits, Plan Review and Inspections. APRIL is an automated response system that will schedule inspections appointments for building, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical. To operate this system, you must have a touch-tone telephone. Additionally, to schedule inspections, you will need to have the seven- or nine-digit permit number, which is on the permit card. Contractors will need their pin number.

Calls to APRIL can be made from your home, office, job site, or vehicle. You can schedule your inspections to suit your needs. During normal business hours*, you can still call Building Inspections for assistance with other matters, but all inspection requests should be made using APRIL. Inspection requests must be made by 8 pm the previous business day of the inspection request date.

* Normal business hours are weekdays and non-holidays, 8 am to 5 pm.

What is the APRIL phone number?

You can call APRIL at 336-373-2400.

Why do we need the permit card signed when all of the inspectors have laptop computers?

The information on each individual laptop is updated each morning and again late in the afternoon. Any inspection information that has transpired during the day would not be known by the Building Inspector if the permit card was not signed. Another important reason for this is contractors need this information before they call for either a rough or final inspection. The field inspectors have been strongly encouraged to sign the card; however, we try very hard not to hold you up when it's our mistake.

Can unfaced insulation be used as a fire-stopping material in residential and commercial construction?

Yes, unfaced fiberglass insulation can be used to seal all penetrations in non-fire rated walls and floors.

When do you add two ground rods to a new service change or service?

When you do not have:

a. An underground metal water pipe in direct contact with the earth for 10' or more.
b. Or metal frame (building steel) of building or structure effectively grounded.
c. Or no concrete encased electrode.
d. Or no ground ring.
In Guilford County you can not get a resistance to ground of 25 ohms or less without adding an additional rod to service. Please read NEC sections 250-50, 250-52, and 250-56.

If the service meter is mounted on side of building, how far can the contractor go inside the building to install his service panel?

The service disconnecting means shall be installed at a readily accessible location outside or the nearest point of entrance of service conductors ( 230-70(a) ). Several years ago the NC Department of Insurance sent a letter to Inspections Departments across the state. The letter was mailed out trying to get the inspectors consistent with the distance of unfused conductors entering buildings. The letter stated the contractor could only extend two times the length of Service Panel or no distance greater than five feet, whichever distance is the shortest from the outside of the building. In many cases, that service disconnect must be outside.

Exception 230-6: If raceway installed under slab or encased in concrete or brick not less than two inches thick, then it is considered outside of building and can be installed more than five feet into the building.