Small Project Review
Small Project Plan Review
(Formerly Express Review)
Starting 1 February, 2020, the Durham City-County Inspections Department will begin using the name Small Project Review for applications that are for renovations, additions, porches and decks, accessory structures, repairs, pools and/or hot tubs, photovoltaic arrays to one and two family residential structures, mobile home installations and demolitions of houses, duplexes and town homes. Small Project Review is for single family parcels that are not new construction.
Note: All applications must be made electronically. We no longer accept paper applications. Follow instructions below.
Please note that any structure that has any portion of its lot in a flood plain, Local Historic overlay or is designated as a Historic Landmark is not acceptable for Small Project Review.
A new application called Small Project Review Building Permit Application (please click the link to download) and is clearly labeled at the top of the form and is in a green box. This application must be used for all Small Project Review applications.
There are four checklists for renovations, additions, decks and porches and accessory structures that must be completely and accurately filled out. In the near future, we will provide additional checklists for projects that meet the parameters for Small Project Review but aren’t included in Checklists 1 through 4. The checklists are numbered 1 through 4 and the number must be entered under “Project Type” on the application. Thus far, the checklists are:
1) Renovations (please click the link to download)
2) Additions (please click the link to download)
3) Decks and Porches (please click the link to download)
4) Accessory Structures (please click the link to download)
If your project is for a combination of a renovation, an addition and includes a deck, you need to include all appropriate checklists.
Please note that all spaces on the application must be filled out except the last line that is reserved for the Neighborhood Improvement Services employees.
All applications shall be digitally submitted through the DPlans portal. Only complete applications will be accepted. All rejected applications must be resubmitted with any missing forms supplied, incomplete data added and mistakes corrected. The forms required are:
1) A completed Small Project Review Building Permit application.
2) Scaled, dimensioned and labeled plans. In most cases, an existing and proposed plan view is required, as is a scaled, labeled and dimensioned section.
3) If you are adding on to a residence, adding a deck or porch, installing a pool, hot tub or an accessory structure, a scaled and dimensioned plot plan clearly showing the residence and what you propose to construct. Please label the house and the proposed structure(s) clearly. Provide the proposed setbacks measured perpendicularly from the property lines to the nearest part of the foundation or, in the case of a deck or porch, the nearest support posts.
4) A detailed scope of work. If you are adding on to a house, renovating a house, adding a deck or porch, please describe what the project entails. If your project involves removing a dining room to create a new bedroom and a bath, adding on an additional 3 bedrooms and two new baths, please indicate this in the scope of work. Be sure to include the area of additions, decks, porches or accessory structures in the scope of work. Also include any information that will assist the reviewer understand the intent of the project.
5) The costs indicated on the Small Project Review Application must be based on a realistic market value for both materials and labor.
6) A valid building or residential contracting license from the N.C. Licensing Board for General Contractors or a Homeowners’ Exemption form is required for any project in excess of $30,000.
7) A lien agent form or a lien agent waiver form if the proposed project is $30,000 or more in value.
8) A certificate of Worker's Compensation Coverage if the project is $30,000 or more in value.
Note: If your project is under $30,000 in value, Items 5, 6 and 7 do not apply.
An application fee will be assessed as soon as your application is accepted in our system and must be paid before a building review takes place. Please note that the application fees are non-refundable and apply toward permit fees when the permit is issued. If an issued permit is not picked up within 6 months, it will be voided. Once the permit is approved for issuance, notice of additional permit fees, if applicable, are e-mailed for online payment to the applicant. For any addition, porch, deck, pool, hot tub or accessory structure, a Planning Zoning fee will be assessed. If you are a building contractor licensed with the N.C. Licensing Board for General Contractors, a $10 non-refundable fee will be assessed that funds the Homeowners’ Recovery Fund which is administered by the Licensing Board.