Commercial Plan Review

The Commercial Plan Review Section is responsible for the review and approval of commercial building construction plans per GS 58-31-40.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tab/Accordion Items

See Table 104.1 (below) from the NC Administration and Enforcement Requirements Code, 2012 edition and the "COMMENTARY" below the table.

Engineering Division Document Approval for New Construction and Additions
Occupancy Group Building Plans to be Approved
Section 403 - High Rise All buildings
Section 402 - Covered Mall Buildings All buildings
City/County All buildings as required by G.S. 58-31-40
Group A Occupant load over 1,000
Group E - Educational Over 2 stories or over 20,000 sf/story
Group H Occupant load over 100
Group I - Institutional Institutional Over 3 stories or over 10,000 sf/story
Group R - Residential Over 4 stories or over 100 units/building

1. Except temporary bleachers.
2. Plans and specifications are not required by the Engineering Division on buildings which are located in a city or county inspection jurisdiction approved to perform plan review.

The Engineering Division shall require plans review of buildings classified as city/county buildings as required by GS 58-31-40.


  • The square footages refer to footprint of a new building or building addition.
  • The occupant loads refer to a new building or building addition area only.
  • The occupancy load for a Church is typically based on the occupant load of the Occupant Group A-3 main meeting area. If the A-3 area is over 1,000 occupants then DOI plan review is required unless exception 2 above applies.
  • The exception listed at the bottom of Table 502 applies only to footnote 2.
  • G.S. 58-31-40 indicates that such City/County owned buildings must be greater than 20,000 s.f. of new or additional building footprint to require DOI review. The 20,000 s.f. applies to individual structures on the site and not the sum of the structures.

Plans may be mailed or sent by courier to:

Engineering Division Plan Review Section
1429 Rock Quarry Road - Suite 105
Raleigh, NC 27610

No. However, a transmittal (letterhead) from the sender with a contact name and phone number is very helpful.

Normally, just one set of plans and specifications is needed per review. Note that keeps the set of drawings submitted for review on file. If an in-house review meeting is held, the designer may wish to bring another set of plans to make notes on that he/she can take after the meeting.

No, does not charge a fee for review of plans.

Generally, it depends on the complexity of the plans, the clarity of details and the project scope involved. Although it is our goal to complete review of plans within six weeks of receipt, it may be more or less time than this. The staff in the Plan Review Section perform numerous other duties such as Emergency Response Damage Assessments, serving at Building Code Council meetings and Code revision sessions, teaching code classes and seminars, providing interpretations and answering verbal, phone and e-mail information requests. Normally, plans are reviewed in the order in which they are received. As a general rule, the better the organization, clarity and conformance with Code requirements that the plans have when received, the faster they will be processed through the review cycle.

Meetings may be arranged in advance with one of the Plan Reviewers to schedule time in our office (116 West Jones Street) to review plans in person. This may be done at any point in the design process, i.e., at conceptual or schematic phase, design development or final construction document phase. This is usually time well invested for both the designers and reviewers since face-to-face discussion of issues leads to better understanding of scope and code requirements. Often resolutions to potential problems are discovered in these sessions. A meeting may be arranged by calling one of the reviewers on the phone (919-647-0000) and establishing a mutually agreeable date and time for the meeting. Conference rooms are usually available for these meetings.

No, since has limited staff and does not charge fees for reviews, after-hours express reviews are not available.

Due to staffing limitations, drawings in schematic or conceptual phase will only be reviewed if the designer pre-arranges an "in-house" meeting with one of the Code Consultants and brings plans in to be reviewed in person.

A letter will be mailed to your business address that specifies any approvals, or any necessary corrections, clarifications or additional information needed for further review. Depending on the state of completion of the plans, different stages of approvals may be issued. The stages of approval normally would be:

  • Approval for footings and foundations only;
  • Approval to issue shell permits; or
  • Final approval

A foundation approval indicates that the Code Consultant has reviewed the Building Code Summary sheet, the horizontal separations, the load transfer to the soil and the basic life-safety plan. Permits may be issued by the CEO for footings, foundations and slabs including under-slab utilities.

A shell approval indicates that the Code Consultant has reviewed (additionally) the structural system, the complete life-safety plan, the life-safety interface with the plumbing/mechanical/electrical/sprinkler systems and that any remaining review comments are not controversial. Permits may be issued by the CEO for the entire building including interior partitions and rough-in plumbing/mechanical/electrical/sprinkler (except as noted in the review comments).

A final approval indicates that the Code Consultant has received all final plans and that all review comments have been addressed. All permits may be issued and a final Certificate of Compliance/Occupancy may be issued upon completion of all inspections by the CEO. Approval by this office indicates that an overall life-safety review has been completed for general compliance with the North Carolina Building Code. They have not been reviewed for full compliance with all the other NC Codes. The drawings are subject to the review and approval of the local inspection authority having jurisdiction.

Copies of the review letters are also mailed to the local Code Enforcement Official having jurisdiction. When additional information is required, it is the responsibility of the designer of record to whom the letter is addressed to coordinate and provide that information to the reviewer. Revised drawings showing any corrections or changes should be signed, sealed and dated with the most recent date of issue. Drawing re-submittals will be reviewed by the same Code Consultant that performed the initial review. Questions and further correspondence concerning a particular project should be addressed to the initial reviewer assigned to the project.

Building permits are issued by the local Code Enforcement Office having jurisdiction. It is the designer's responsibility to obtain all permits and additional plan reviews required for his/her project.

While discussing conceptual plans or in very early phases of design, we often receive partial plans digitally/electronically or PDFs when conversing directly with a designer about a particular approach or code compliance method. Due to the volume of project submittals, resubmittals, delegated designs and phased project development, we ask that the first or initial formal plan submittals be sent in by hard copy (one full-sized set) preferably at 70% design completion.

After the project is assigned to a reviewer, the designer may send in digital plans and/or resubmittals via thumb-drive or through our ShareFile document application, or another method at the assigned reviewer's discretion. Please remember, the designer of record is responsible for coordination of multiple discipline and delegated designs i.e., site, structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, fire alarm, sprinklers, etc.

Please note, due to cyber-security concerns, our Information Technology Department does not allow Drop-Box or a few other commercially available file-sharing platforms on our network.

Approved Jurisdictions for Local Plan Review by the North Carolina Building Code Council

New Hanover
High Point
Holly Springs
Oak Island
Rocky Mount