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Permitting & Inspections Department


Accessibility Code: Applies to all Commercial Buildings in North Carolina and lists items, which have to come into compliance to make the building more accessible for persons with disabilities. This is not the American with Disabilities Act. This is a code that provides a uniform set of guidelines to make buildings and facilities accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

Appendix ‘B’: A building code summary form required to be on all plans. It is to include important information, such as: square footage, building type of construction, occupancy type and number of occupants, fire district, thermal envelope of structure, fire protection information, designer information, parking information, fire ratings of the structure and many more items. The information on this form helps staff apply the appropriate codes while reviewing the plans for code compliance.

Awning: An architectural projection that provides weather protection, identity or decoration and is wholly supported by the building to which it is attached. An awning is comprised of a lightweight, rigid skeleton structure over which a covering is attached.

Boarding House: An owner-occupied residential building, or part thereof, in which lodging is provided to not more than eight (8) residents occupying separate living units on a weekly or longer basis. (See also the definition of Rooming House.)

Building Line: Established by law, beyond which a building shall not extend, except as specifically provided by law.

Building Plans: A set of plans that shows all construction being performed. Building Plans can be simple for small projects with few changes to an existing structure or massive plans for major projects. Even on small projects, a floor plan showing exiting, exit lighting and all sales counters, racks, desks, etc. is required. Also required is a building code summary called “Appendix B”. Appendix B tells where changes will be made, type of construction, and the size and intended use of the building. The plans must always show the proper layout, orientation of accessible fixtures, and required parking and paths of travel as required by the North Carolina Accessibility Code.

Canopy: An architectural projection that provides weather protection, identity or decoration and is supported by the building to which it is attached and at the outer end by one or more stanchions. It is comprised of a rigid structure over which a covering is attached.

Change of Use (Building): In building terms, this is when a building goes from one occupancy type to another. An example would be a single-family residence being changed to a business or a retail outlet. Another would be a building use changing from business or office space to assembly (church, restaurant, etc.)

Construction Documents: Written, graphic and pictorial documents prepared or assembled for describing the design, location and physical characteristics of the elements of a project necessary for obtaining a building permit.

Contractor: In general terms, this is the person who is going to perform or superintend the work. It could be a building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical contractor or other person with which you have a formal agreement with to do the work. Contractors are required to get permits either in their own name or in their business name. When inspectors are on job sites and code issues arise, the inspector will contact the contractor whose name appears on the permit.

Court: An open, uncovered space, unobstructed to the sky, bounded on three or more sides by exterior building walls or other enclosing devices.

Dwelling: A building that contains one or two dwelling units used, intended, or designed to be used, rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied for living purposes.

Dwelling Unit: A single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.

Existing Structure: A structure erected prior to the date of adoption of the appropriate code, or one for which a legal building permit has been issued.

Habitable Space: A space in a building for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.

Historical Buildings: Buildings that are listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or designated as historic under an appropriate state or local law.

Marquee: A permanent roofed structure attached to and supported by the building and which projects into the public right of way.

Non-conforming Use: A use not allowed under the current zoning regulations but which is still legally existing, because the property has been continuously used (without a lapse of 365 consecutive days) for that same use, since prior to the effective date of the applicable zoning regulations.

Occupant Load: The number of persons allowed at any one time in a building or space and based on the square footage and use of the space. The most common places you see occupant load cards are in restaurants, bars and assembly areas.

Occupancy: Intended use of the space. It can be business, mercantile, assembly or some other use that would be allowed by the building code and zoning ordinances at the location.

Occupiable Space: A room or enclosed space designed for human occupancy in which individuals congregate for amusement, educational or similar purposes or in which occupants are engaged at labor, and which is equipped with means of egress and light and ventilation facilities meeting the requirements of this code.

Owner: The person who owns the building, property, or business for which the work is being done.

Permit: An official document or certificate issued by the authority having jurisdiction, which authorizes performance of a specified activity. Permits issued by this office are: Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Zoning, Demolition, Fire, Grading and Erosion Control.

An issued permit will expire if there are no inspections within the first 6 months from the issuance date of the permit. If there was an inspection for that same permit within the first 6 months, then the permit is extended for an additional 12 months from the date of the inspection. Should no inspection occur during the 12 months, then, the permit expires. (North Carolina Building Code Section 1612)

If the permit expires, the City will require a new application and full permit fees to be submitted to start the project process again.

The North Carolina Administrative Code indicates if the permit has not had any work commenced in the first 6 months or discontinued work after 12 months of any inspection.

Plans Review: This is the process of reviewing plans for code compliance. This helps to insure that the plans submitted meet applicable codes and zoning requirements and that plans are viewed by applicable entities, including building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, zoning, health, erosion control, fire, and utilities. 

Repair: The reconstruction or renewal of any part of an existing building for the purpose of its maintenance.

Rooming House: A residential building, or part thereof, in which lodging is provided to not more than eight (8) residents occupying separate living units on a weekly or longer basis. (See also the definition of Boarding House.) A rooming house may be made up of Living Units, which are an area or room(s) used for residents to live and sleep. Residents do not have free access to all building areas and share one or more common bathrooms or kitchens.

Shell Buildings: Shell buildings are structures, which may or may not have mechanical, electrical or plumbing systems present. When shell permits are requested, generally the future tenant is not known. The owner does this to get an early start on the construction project. Sometimes the building may be speculative, meaning no systems will be put into the building until a tenant is signed. At times an owner may have a shell structure with electrical, mechanical and plumbing and complete architectural drawings for minimum compliance. Certificates of Occupancy (CO) are not issued on shell structures simply because they are not complete with regard to life safety, sanitation and zoning requirements.

Upfit permits are issued for each tenant space. Once the space has passed all required inspections, a Certificate of Occupancy can be issued for that individual upfit permit.

Start of Construction: The date of issuance of permits for new construction and substantial improvements to existing structures provided that the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, placement or other improvement is when within 180 days after the date of permit issuance. The actual start of construction means the first placement of permanent construction of a building (including a manufactured home) on a site, such as the pouring of a slab or footings, installation of pilings or construction of columns.

Tent: Any structure, enclosure or shelter which is constructed of canvas or pliable material supported in any manner except by air or the contents it protects.

Type I & II Construction: Types I and II Construction are those types of construction in which the building elements listed in Table 601 are of noncombustible materials, except as permitted in Section 603 and elsewhere in this code.

Type III Construction: Type III Construction is that type of construction in which the exterior walls are of noncombustible materials and the interior building elements are of any material permitted by this code. Fire-retardant-treated wood framing complying with Section 2303.2 shall be permitted within exterior wall assemblies of a 2-hour rating or less.

Type IV Construction: Type IV Construction (Heavy Timber, HT) is that type of construction in which the exterior walls are of noncombustible materials and the interior building elements are of solid or laminated wood without concealed spaces. The details of Type IV Construction shall comply with the provisions of this section. Fire-retardant-treated wood framing complying with Section 2303.2 shall be permitted within exterior wall assemblies with a 2-hour rating or less. Minimum solid sawn nominal dimensions are required for structures built using Type IV Construction (HT). For glued-laminated members the equivalent net finished width and depths corresponding to the minimum nominal width and depths of solid sawn lumber are required as specified in Table 602.4.

Type V Construction: Type V Construction is that type of construction in which the structural elements, exterior walls and interior walls are of any materials permitted by this code. Normally, Type V-A is wood with 1-hour rated resistive construction and Type V-B is non-rated wood construction.

Work Commenced: Determined by the City of Fayetteville Inspection Division to mean “as obtaining an inspection” (based on § General Statute 160A-420 which states, “as the work pursuant to a permit progresses … inspections … to satisfy the work” to verify compliance of the minimum stated requirements of the applicable code).