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BuildingCodeSavesLives
This May marks the third year that the City of Raleigh is participating in Building Safety month. Building Safety Month (BSM) is celebrated by jurisdictions worldwide during the month of May to help individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures. 
 
The theme of this year’s BSM is “Building Codes Save Lives,” but what does that mean to citizens of Raleigh? Well, all communities need building codes to protect people from disasters like fires, weather-related events and structural collapse. Building codes are society's best way of protecting homes, offices, schools, manufacturing facilities, stores and entertainment venues. Code officials work day in and day out to keep the public safe.
 
Each week of BSM has a theme, and this week’s theme is advancing resilient communities through science and technology. Research shows that planning and being prepared for extreme changes can greatly reduce the long-term impacts on a community.
 
A city that reduces its vulnerability to dramatic change or extreme events and responds creatively to economic, social and environmental change to increase its long-term sustainability is knows as a resilient community. Creating a resilient community requires diligent planning and innovative thinking. Science and technology are leading the way for designing and constructing safe, efficient and resilient homes and buildings. Up-to-date building safety codes and standards enable technology to be incorporated into buildings while ensuring safety for lives, properties and investments.
 
Using Technology to Improve Safety
Resilience starts with strong, regularly updated, and properly implemented building codes. So, whether you’re considering renovating, remodeling or building from the ground up, look for the latest technology and make sure it is based on the codes and standards that put safety and efficiency first. Check out these future home technologies from energy.gov: 
 
Smarter, Connected Homes: Electronic devices and appliances can now be linked to the Internet to provide real-time data that makes it easier to understand and lower our energy use. New wireless sensors developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will boost home energy efficiency through automated control systems for heating and cooling units, lighting, and other systems that access data such as outside air and room temperature, humidity, light level and occupancy.
Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps: The Building Technologies Office of the US Energy Department is ushering in the next generation of heat pump systems, which warm and cool your home by moving heat from one space to another. These include: 
  • A fuel-fired, multi-function residential heat pump that can reduce primary energy consumption by 30%.
  • A natural gas heat pump and air conditioner that uses an ultra-low-emission combustion burner and other equipment to provide home heating, cooling and hot water.
  • A low-cost gas heat pump designed to reduce heating costs by up to 45% compared to conventional gas furnaces and boilers.
 
Carbon-Fighting Clothes Dryers: The same concept behind heat pump technologies that keep your home comfortable can also be used for another important application: drying your clothes. Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric are developing a new type of clothes dryer that uses a heat pump cycle to generate hot air needed for drying. The result: a more efficient dryer that has the potential to lower energy consumption by 60% compared to conventional ones on the market today.
 
Magnetic Refrigerators (That’s Right, Magnets!): Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric have teamed up to create a revolutionary new type of refrigerator that uses magnets to create cold. For the past 100 years, refrigerators have relied on a process called vapor compression that uses coolants which can be harmful to the environment. The new refrigerator is a revolutionary technology that uses a water-based cooling fluid, making it better for the environment and more efficient, which means lower energy bills and less carbon pollution.
 
Advanced Window Controls: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pella Windows are working on new highly insulated windows that use sensors and microprocessors to automatically adjust shading based on the amount of available sunlight and the time of day to ensure proper lighting and comfort, saving consumers energy and money.
 
Next-Gen Insulation: Insulation is one of the most important ways to reduce your home heating and cooling costs. The Industrial Science & Technology Network is developing new foam insulation made with environmentally friendly and advanced composite materials that ensure heat doesn’t escape from the attic, walls and other areas of the home during cold winter months.
 
Reflective Roofing Materials: Cool roofs coated with materials containing specialized pigments reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than standard roofs. Expect these types of roof systems to get even “cooler” due to new fluorescent pigments that can reflect nearly four times the amount of sunlight of standard pigments.
 
Brighter, Better Lighting: LED lighting has come a long way, with today’s highest-performing lights consuming 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs. In fact, LED efficiency is expected to double from the current in the next few years.
 
 
Even in Raleigh
A new, premier, mixed-use development is being planned in the heart of Downtown Raleigh’s innovation district. A first-of-its-kind development for the Triangle region, Phase I at City Gateway will be the area’s first energy-positive building, producing all the energy it needs on site. With smart building technology, information from various building systems can be leveraged to optimize energy and operational performance. The building includes a geothermal HVAC system, high performance lighting and glass, natural daylight, superior insulated building envelope, digital energy dashboard, and solar panels.
 
Written by Guest Blogger Jeremiah Weckesser, Senior Mechanical Inspector III in the Development Services Deparment
 
 
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The City of Raleigh Development Services Department has replaced the face-to-face Due Diligence Session with a new online version: Due Diligence Online Service (DDOS). Just like before, this service is free of charge and will help you to learn what development is and isn’t possible on a specific property. DDOS will continue to address high level questions and issues related to the development of property, and Review staff will only comment on site review trades (current planning, urban forestry, stormwater, fire and transportation). In other words, information related only to the parcel(s) and any general regulatory items that may be applicable based on project parameters.

How do I submit for a DDOS?

  • To submit a DDOS go to the online form and fill out the property data.
  • Once staff has completed the DDOS review, each applicant will receive an email containing staff comments, based on a predetermined scope of review.

What do I need to keep in mind when submitting for a DDOS?

  • Only contiguous properties are allowed to be submitted, and multiple parcels will be reviewed as a combined assemblage.
  • Comments generated during the DDOS are based solely on existing zoning of the property.
  • If a formal development application is submitted after a DDOS, and any development details or site information have changed, it is possible that staff comments may be different from those provided during a DDOS.
  • Information received should be considered advisory-only, no approvals or permits are issued with a DDOS. If a formal regulatory-based review is desired, please consider one of our other face-to-face services.
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With spring fast approaching we want to remind everyone about all the changes and updates that are happening during this time. Don’t forget you can always email [email protected] with any questions!

 

New Site Inspection & Infill Requirement
Beginning March 1, 2018, a zoning site inspection must occur prior to foundation inspection. A zoning site inspection is required once forms for foundations are completely in place (preferably before concrete is poured). However, the owner and/or builders (at their discretion) may schedule the site inspection at the foundation stage (after concrete is poured, but prior to any framing or vertical construction occurring).

Additionally, and as part of this inspection, a survey performed by a professional land surveyor licensed in the state of North Carolina must be completed and submitted to the City of Raleigh zoning for all residential infill construction projects. The completed survey must be made available on site for examination by zoning inspections staff.

Note: Building foundation inspections will only be allowed to be scheduled once the site inspection has been completed and approved. For more details on this new requirement, click here.

 

New Visible Permit Requirement
Beginning March 1, 2018, a new visible permit will be required for all Right-of-Way (ROW) obstructions. The goal of this additional permit is to reduce the number of complaints and questions for both City staff and the contractor. Upon receiving a ROW obstruction permit, the City will issue a visible permit which is required to be posted onsite in a central location for the duration of the work. The permit will contain:
• City contact information (email and phone)
• Date work expires (to inform citizens of the duration of the project)
Contractors will be responsible for affixing the permit to a structure or signage onsite. For questions or concerns regarding the new visible permit, please email [email protected]

 

Building Code Summary
The below schedule will help clarify the new required NC Building Code Summaries:
January 1, 2018 thru June 30, 2018:
 We accept the City of Raleigh Building Code Summary.
 We accept the 2012 NC State Building Code Summary.
× We reject the 2018 NC State Building Code Summary.

July 1, 2018 thru December 31, 2018:
× We reject the City of Raleigh Building Code Summary.
 We accept the 2012 NC State Building Code Summary.
 We accept the 2018 NC State Building Code Summary.

January 1, 2019:
× We reject the City of Raleigh Building Code Summary.
× We reject the 2012 NC State Building Code Summary.
 We accept the 2018 NC State Building Code Summary.

Important Note: Designers must use the 2012 Building Codes with the 2012 Building Code Summary, and the 2018 Building Codes with the 2018 Building Code Summary.

 

Due Diligence Online Service (DDOS) Available Now!
We have replaced the face-to-face Due Diligence session with a new online version. Just like before, this service is free of charge and allows clients to learn what type of development is and isn’t possible on a specific property. It also addresses high level questions related to development. Review staff will comment on site review trades (current planning, urban forestry, stormwater, fire and transportation) only. In other words, information related only to the parcel(s) and any general regulatory items that may be applicable based on project parameters. For more information and access to the scheduling tool, click here.

 

New Locked Forms Available
New locked forms are available online for Utility Placement Easement, Sidewalk Easement and Slope Easement. The form templates can be found in the Development Services Department form directory under “S to Z.”

 

Design Adjustment Process Changes
A new design adjustment application is now available which is intended to guide applicants through all UDO-required findings associated with their request and help streamline the process. Additionally, all requests are now submitted to a central point of intake at [email protected], with notification provided to the applicant upon receipt of a complete application. Please make note that upon receipt of this message, all required mailed notifications should be hand delivered to the coordinating reviewer on the 5th floor of One Exchange Plaza. For further information, please see the Design Adjustments webpage.

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As the City of Raleigh continues to grow, we at the Development Services Department routinely seek ways to improve our processes. To address issues that may result due to property constraints and building setbacks, we will be implementing a new survey requirement for all infill lots (defined per UDO section 2.2.7), as well as for any projects with lots that appear to substantially deviate from the approved plans. Infill construction often occurs in older neighborhoods where the lot lines are no longer distinguishable.

Beginning March 1, 2018, a survey performed by a professional land surveyor licensed in the state of North Carolina, must be completed and submitted to the City of Raleigh for all infill construction projects. The City recommends that this take place once the forms are completely in place (before concrete is poured) or at the owner and/or builders discretion at the foundation stage (after concrete is poured, but prior to any framing or vertical construction occurring). This flexibility is provided to align with other entities, that at times may require a similar survey, and thus allows for combining of the two.

There will be no change to the initial plan submittal and/or application requirements. Please stay tuned for more information, both through this blog and the city website.


For the purpose of this requirement the following definition shall apply to a Foundation /Form Survey:

  • Foundation/Form survey: A sealed and signed survey by a North Carolina licensed Land Surveyor, which attests to the horizontal and vertical location of the building foundation and/or forms, which clearly indicates the set back dimensions ( on all sides and to any accessory or main buildings); any deviations from the approved plans clearly noted, and a statement that foundations and/or forms were found to be in conformity with the approved plans ( any exceptions/deviations noted). In addition an average grade reference datum benchmark , as determined by section 1.5.7 of the UDO , shall be staked on site, and protected for the zoning inspector to use for determining final height compliance at time of the building final. This reference datum location and height shall be clearly indicated/referenced in the prepared sealed document as well as the height of the top of forms or foundation relative to this datum.
  • UDO section 1.5.7 ( A) 2 “Average grade is determined by calculating the average of the highest and lowest elevations along pre development grade or improved grade ( whichever is more restrictive) along the front of the building parallel to the primary street setback. Where mass-grading has been approved by the City average grade shall be considered the improved grade following such mass grading.”
  • UDO section 1..5.7 (A ) 4 “ where the property slope increases to the rear , building height is measured from the average point at grade of the front and rear wall planes.”
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There have been some new changes made to the Preliminary Site Plan and Subdivision review and approval processes which are designed to make things more consistent and efficient for everyone involved. This should save time in what can often be a time-consuming process. The modified approval process now more clearly defines conditions and requirements that help clients stay compliant from one step of the development process to the next.

We have also established a new benchmark for the Administrative Action document. The benchmark is now 15 days from the time all reviewing trades have approved or conditionally approved the preliminary plan—which provides predictability where it previously did not exist.

So you may be wondering, “What do I do with my Administrative Action document once I have it?” Well, the document itself includes specific next steps that are clearly labeled, and to ensure that staff, property owners, developers and contractors are all “in the know” about the document it is now required to be applied to the second sheet of all future submittals with the exception of final plats.

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DueDiligenceServiceApp1000x750
The City of Raleigh Development Services Department has replaced the face-to-face Due Diligence Session with a new online version. Just like before, this service is free of charge and allows clients to learn what development is and isn’t possible on a specific property. The Due Diligence Online Service (DDOS) will continue to address high level questions and issues related to the development of property.  Review staff will comment on site review trades (current planning, urban forestry, stormwater, fire and transportation) only.  In other words, information related only to the parcel(s) and any general regulatory items that may be applicable based on project parameters.

How do I submit for a DDOS?

  • To submit a DDOS go to the online form and fill out the property data.
  • Once staff has completed the DDOS review, each applicant will receive an email containing staff comments, based on a predetermined scope of review.

What do I need to keep in mind when submitting for a DDOS?

  • Only contiguous properties are allowed to be submitted, and multiple parcels will be reviewed as a combined assemblage.
  • Comments generated during the DDOS are based solely on existing zoning of the property.
  • If a formal development application is submitted after a DDOS, and any development details or site information have changed, it is possible that staff comments may be different from those provided during a DDOS.
  • Information received should be considered advisory-only, no approvals or permits are issued with a DDOS. If a formal regulatory-based review is desired, please consider one of our other face-to-face services.
Add a comment
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Get In Touch

  • Development Services
    Customer Service Center
    1 Exchange Plaza
    Raleigh, NC 27602
  • 919-996-2495
  • Litchford Road
    Satellite Office
    8320-130 Litchford Road
    Raleigh, NC 27615
  • 919-996-4200