City-County Inspections Department

ATTENTION


Due to the COVID-19, starting Monday, March 23rd., City Hall will be closed to public access.  The Inspections Department staff can be reached by phone or email.


  • Applying for trade permits will continue by accessing our Land Development Office (LDO) website.
  • Building permit applications can be applied for by using the Dplans website.
  • Requesting inspections can be scheduled through the LDO website.
  • Field inspections will continue, but will be limited.  Inspections in occupied buildings and HVAC replacements in occupied homes will not be conducted at this time due to concerns for the health of the occupants and our field personnel.  Please contact the Chief of your trade to discuss any concern with your inspection.
  • Third party inspections and live remote video inspections will be considered with prior approval.  Please contact the Chief of your trade to discuss further.
  • Plan reviews will continue, but only through digital communication.
  • All fees pertaining to the Inspections Department will be paid online through the LDO portal.  We will not be accepting currency or checks by mail and we do not have the ability to take credit cards over the phone.


                       ***COVID-19 Guidance for Inspections Customers***




The City-County Inspections Department has enacted additional restrictions on movement and the operations of business in response to the COVID-19 crisis. During this critical time, we are committed to meeting the demand of the construction industry, while protecting the health and safety of our customers, staff and the community we serve.

Durham City-County Inspections stands ready to meet customers’ inspections needs as long as they are legally allowed to maintain operations. As part of meeting that need while protecting customers and staff, with the support of the N.C. Department of Insurance, we will temporarily be increasing our use of Live Remote inspections (LRI). LRI are inspections that are conducted via “video chat” with a contractor onsite. This is being implemented for the safety of all involved parties and will only be applicable for the duration of Durham’s Stay at Home Declaration.

Effective immediately, all inspections in occupied residential units (including single-family homes, duplexes, townhouses, individual apartment units, condo units, etc.) will only be inspected via LRI.

At this time LRI will be available for all inspections in occupied residential units except the following:
         • First-time structural framing
         • First time trade rough-in inspections
         • Temporary power/temporary utility connections
         • Final inspections for occupancy approval
        **The qualifying inspections are subject to change as the situation evolves**

Inspections will be scheduled as normal through our Land Development Office online at http://ldo.durhamnc.gov/durham/ldo_web/ldo_main.aspx In the comments section add the note “COVID-19 LRI request”.

Be prepared to have personnel onsite with a suitable electronic device, with adequate connectivity, to accommodate a face-time (or equivalent) connection with inspections staff when they arrive.

Once complete, the inspector will terminate the call and inspections results will be entered as normal. All inspections results – pass or fail, will have the note added “COVID-19 LIVE REMOTE INSPECTION”.

Staff will make every effort to provide a complete inspection, as we normally do for in-person inspections. However, as with in-person inspections, it remains the contractor’s ultimate responsibility to provide a code-compliant project (N.C. Administrative Code and Policies – Section 204.5.1).

                                        Inspections not Eligible for LRI


New commercial and new residential construction inspections will continue in person. However, we ask that the work area to be inspected be cleared of occupants or construction personnel and staff except for those needed for testing of any systems. Existing commercial occupancies requiring inspections will be assessed on a case by case basis by the applicable trade chief. Any personnel needed to be in attendance should be prepared to answer the following questions prior to initiating the inspection:

1. Do you or anyone at the home or project site have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, difficulty breathing?
2. Have you or others in your home had known close contact to someone with COVID-19?
3. Have you or others in your home traveled outside the country within the past 14 days? Countries that have a Level 3 Travel Health Notice can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html
If the answers to all three questions are “no”, then we will proceed with the inspection with the project vacant or, if assistance is needed, while exercising social distancing per CDC guidelines. If the answer to any of the 3 questions is “yes”, then the inspection will be marked as inaccessible without a chargeable failure and the inspection request will need to be resubmitted after 14 days and symptoms have resolved (if applicable).

We understand that we are all in this together, while needing to remain apart for now. Our hope is that these guidelines will help us all continue to operate our businesses while we are legally authorized to do so. Thank you for your continued partnership in facilitating code compliance success in Durham. Also, thanks to our partners at Charlotte Mecklenburg Code Enforcement for their assistance and sharing of resources.

The Inspections Department would like to thank our customers and the development community for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.


The City-County Inspections Department administers and enforces the North Carolina State Building Code and the zoning ordinances for both the City and County of Durham. The Department ensures the health, safety and welfare of the public and strives to support the City’s Strategic Plan goals of a Strong & Diverse Economy, Safe & Secure Community, Thriving, Livable Neighborhoods, and Innovative & High Performing Organization, as well as the County’s Strategic Plan goals of Environmental Stewardship and Community Prosperity and Safe Community.
 
 

City-County Inspections Responsibilities


  • Conducting inspections of building projects in progress
  • Issuing Certificates of Compliance
  • Providing information on requirements for manufactured homes, family care homes, day care facilities, floodplain management and impact fees
  • Reviewing applications for Building, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, and Fire Permits
  • Reviewing permits for construction activity
  • Reviewing plans

Land Development Office (LDO)

The LDO system allows contractors to schedule inspections, review results of inspections, check on the status of permits, check on the plans review status of building permits and Certificates of Compliance and apply for mechanical, plumbing, and electrical permits online. 
Click here to access the LDO system.
Upload Building and City Fire Permit Application packages, click here Dplans.
Click here to access the Phone App for LDO.

This link is for Building Inspectors only.  For Plumbing, Mechanical, and Electrical, please use the LDO system.


Latest News & Information


Enhanced Plan Review

Commercial and Residential


The Inspections Department is excited to announce the Enhanced Plan Review is now available for any permits meeting the Enhanced Review criteria.  Please download the Enhanced Plan Review document for instructions and plan review criteria.
Click here to download the Enhanced Plan Review document

Please direct all inquiries about our Enhanced Plan Review process to the Durham City-County Inspections Department Enhanced Review Scheduling Coordinator Scott McCorkle.
  • Call  984-227-0782
  • Email Scott
  • Speak to Scott in person (during normal business hours of 8:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.)

Solar Photovoltaic Systems

As of October 1, 2019, all Solar Photovoltaic Systems - both Commercial and Residential - will require a building permit.

All building Permit Applications for Solar Photovoltaic Systems must be submitted through the Dplans portal on the Durham City-County Inspections website.

All Electrical plans and one-line diagrams must be submitted through the Dplans portal along with the corresponding Building Permit Application.

Download the Department of Insurance's Residential Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Inspection Procedure form here.


Changes are Coming



On April 1, 2019, the Durham City-County Inspections Department discontinued our charge account system and implemented a "pay as you go" system, in which all Inspections Department fees are paid through an online portal.  In an effort to make this transition as smooth as possible, we have allowed past due balances from our old charge account system to have no impact on permitting or inspections since April 1, 2019.


Moving forward, customers with past-due balances on their old charge account will be given until July 1, 2019 to pay their past-due balances.  After this date, customers with unpaid past-due balances will not be allowed to either apply for permits or schedule inspections on existing permits until the past-due balances are paid in full.


You may contact the Durham Finance Department to inquire about possible amounts due on your old charge account.  You will need either an old bill or your account number(s) when you contact the Finance Department.


Thank you for your patience and understanding as we phase out the charge account and billing system.


The Durham City-County Inspections Department is changing the way you will pay for your permits.

In the past, we have utilized the monthly general billing service through the Finance Department within the City of Durham.  Starting April 1, 2019, all permits and any inspection related fees will be paid online using a credit card, debit card, or by electronic check.  The fee for credit cards and debit cards will be 3.3% of the total fee.  Electronic checks will be assessed a .50 cent processing fee no matter the amount.  These fees are handled by a third party payment service.  All contractors will be required to have an active email address on file.

On July 1, 2018, the Inspections Department required a plan review fee for all building plan reviews.  This was postponed in August 2018 for multiple reasons.  On April 1, 2019 the building plan review fee will be re-instated.  All review fees will need to be paid before the application will be placed in the queue for review.

Upon completion of all plan reviews and the permit application is ready for issuance, an email will be send for payment for the remaining balance of the permit fee (permit fee minus the application fee).  Once paid, the permit application will get issued automatically and an email from one of our Permit Technicians will be sent when the permit is ready for pick up in our office.  Please remember to bring a flash drive when picking up your permit.



New procedures and services added on July 1, 2018:



  • All building plan reviews will require a plan review fee at the time of building plan application submittal.  The amount of the plan review fee will be subtracted from the cost of the building permit fee at the time of permit issuance.  If the building permit application exceeds six months with no activity, the building permit application will be voided, and the plan review fee will not be refunded.
  • All building plan reviews will be submitted digitally through the Dplans site. We will no longer accept paper plans. (Commercial and Residential)
  • Click on the Dplans link for instructions for all plan submittals.
  • New Fire Permits are required.  Please refer to the Building Fee Schedule for more detail.
  • After Hour Inspections are available for a fee.  Please refer to the specific trade fee schedule or call the Chief or Supervisor for more detail.



Download this free guide concerning lead when remodeling.


Informal Internal Review

Per G.S. 160A-412 and G.S. 153A-352, each inspection department shall implement a process by December 1, 2017 for an Informal Internal Review of inspection decisions made by the Department’s inspectors.  The Internal Review Form for requesting an Informal Internal Review is available in our office or by clicking on the link below.  Once the form is filled out, please submit it to the Chief or Field Supervisor of that trade.  For more information on the internal review process, please call our main number at 919-560-4144.