development services

  • Advancing Resilient Communities Through Science & Technology

    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
     
     
  • Check Out All the Updates from the Development Services Department

    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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

     

    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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 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.

  • Development Services Welcomes New Director, Chief Building Inspector, and Permit Manager

    Pictured from left: Bryan Robinson, Tom Hosey, and Donald Irwin

    I recently had the pleasure of meeting our new Development Services Director, Tom Hosey, as well as our new Permit Manager, Donald Irwin, and Chief Building Inspector, Bryan Robinson. They are all excited to be here and have already gotten off to a great start! Here is a brief introduction.

    Mr. Hosey joined our team earlier this month. He’s been engaged in the building and safety profession for over 27 years, most recently serving as the Chief Building Official for the fourth largest City in the country, Houston. There he administered a staff of over 430 and a budget of $49 million. And prior to that, he served as Chief Building Official for three other jurisdictions in California and Oregon, as well as holding positions as Senior Plans Examiner and Senior Inspector.

  • DSInsider Rebooted

    Sharon Felton, Communication Administrator

    Back in November we promised a video format for DSInsider. Well a lot has changed since then. The DSInsider blogger, Stephanie Currier, has moved on to support

  • Effective July 1, 2017 Development Services Will Be Operating Under a New Fee Structure

    InspectorRaleighThe management-consulting firm MGT of America was hired by the City to review and update the development services fees. The comprehensive fee study conducted by the consultant group, city staff and key stakeholders identified the cost associated with providing development related services. The new fees have been set to a level that is commensurate with the services provided and administered equitably resulting in a taxpayer investment that is balanced by a user fee cost recovery.

    The study resulted in several recommendations that were approved by City Council.

    • 100% cost recovery goal for development services fees except where market constraints limit cost recovery.
    • Technology surcharge on all fees to support changing technology needs.
    • Building trade permit fees will be assessed based on construction valuation set by the International Building Code Council.

    Moving forward, the fees will be adjusted annually according to the Department of Labor index and/or the International Code Council tables for construction valuation. Additionally, there will be a thorough review of 1/3 of the fees conducted each year.  Fees selected may adjust upwards or downward depending on the results of the review and not move at an indexed rate.

    The proposed budget for Development Services includes 12 new positions to enhance services in building and safety, land development, express services, and support. The services enhancements were identified through collaboration with our external stakeholders. Some of the services include:

    • New and expanded Express Services to include preliminary plan reviews, building comments-only review, additional time slots
    • Special consultation services for development engineering
    • Subject matter experts to answer questions, improve plan quality and project predictability, assistance with project timelines, tracking, and oversight
    • Dedicated resource within Development Services to continue the implementation of the standard legal locked forms
    • Create a residential unit made up of multi-trade inspectors that will be able to complete all trade inspections and reduce wait times
    • Provide a single point of contact for code-related issues
    • Cross-departmental inspections representative to increase efficiency and consistency
    • Develop a training program to improve staff development and review consistency
    • Enhance communications and online services with dedicated resources

    The implementation of the new fees will be as follows:

    If an application and complete project plans/documents are submitted for review prior to July 1, 2017, the project will be subject to the current fee structure and assessed the current fee for that specific process.

    All applications for permits and/or process submitted on or after July 1, 2017, will be subject to the new fee structure and assessed fees at the new rate.

    Notwithstanding the date of submittal, any fees paid/collected after December 31, 2017 will be subject to the new fee structure and assessed fees at the new rates. This provides for an approximate six (6) month period where process applications submitted prior to July 1, 2017 can complete their review cycles and incur the current fee structure.

    New fees in effect as of July 1, 2017 will be applied and assessed per the new fee structure. Future fee changes are expected to become effective as per the adopted fee schedule, typically the first day of the new fiscal year.

    The comprehensive Development Fee Schedule will be available mid-June 2017. For detailed information about the upcoming changes reference the documents below.

  • Electronic Submittal of Plans & Documents Required Effective 6/15

    The Development Services Department has been working to develop and implement some changes that will take effect on June 15th.

  • Face-to-Face Services Help Expedite the Review Process

    I have spent the past fifteen years working in Planning and Inspections offices in various parts of North Carolina. One thing seems to be true no matter where I go – no two development projects are the same. They can be complex. And in many cases, project timelines allow very little room for delays.

    We certainly understand this. And as discussed in last week’s post, meeting or exceeding our established benchmarks for standard plan review is important to us. But we know that many of our customers prefer to have face-to-face meetings so that issues can be ironed out quickly and efficiently.

  • FREE Project Coordination Service Eases Plan Review Process

    Welcome back to DSinsider! Many of you may recall the early days of the DSCSC when the Project Coordination service was in its infancy. The service was added in 2010 and was modeled after similar programs in other jurisdictions. The idea is for the development team of large-scale projects to work with the City’s Project Coordinators (PC’s) to reduce potential roadblocks and keep the project timeline intact. It got off to a slow start, but quickly gained momentum. A high demand for the service resulted in the addition of a third PC position in 2013.

  • Get the Inside Scoop with Raleigh's New Development Services Blog

    Hello! Welcome to “DSinsider.” This brand new, interactive blog will become your go-to source for all that is happening in Raleigh’s Development Services Department. We hope this will be an effective way to connect with our customers about all development-related topics.

    The purpose of this blog is to establish a forum for open dialogue with our customers. Having open channels of communication provides opportunities for discussion of topics that are important to you.  DSinsider will give you an inside look at our services and explain changes to policy and procedure.  It will also provide updates when our forms are edited, process enhancements are made, or data and benchmark reports are available. I know these topics can be a little mundane, so be on the lookout for the occasional feel-good post to keep things interesting.

    So who is the DS Insider? Well that would be me, Stephanie Currier. I first got into the field of Planning when I was in college and couldn’t decide on a major. I came across a sign on campus that got my attention. “Can’t decide on a major? Want to help people and make a difference in your community?” Yes, yes, and YES! I went to the meeting for aspiring Planners and was hooked. After graduating from East Carolina University with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning, I went on to work in a variety of positions including Planner and Assistant Director of Planning & Inspections. Most recently, I served as Raleigh’s Development Services Customer Service Center Manager.

  • Get to Know Leon Skinner, chief building official

    Leon Skinner, CBO

    Sharon: What does a chief building official do?
    Leon: “As chief building official I am responsible for building code interpretations, approval of alternate methods, and I manage all of the building, mechanical, electrical and plumbing field inspectors.”

  • Happy New Year!

    The Development Services Department wishes you and yours a very Happy New Year!

  • Land Survey Requirements Coming for Infill Lots

    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.”
  • Measuring our success, one report at a time

    It has been a crazy week around here, with the snow and ice and sub-zero wind chills. But while the white stuff was falling and the winds were howling, we were working to finalize our most recent Quarterly Performance Report which is now available online. You can also view reports from previous quarters and a graph illustrating how many permits have been issued by month and year.

    When developing the performance reports, we use benchmarks to measure how well we are doing. The benchmarks were established several years ago, but for those not familiar, here is a little background.

    The City’s Development Management Team (DMT) partnered with an external stakeholder group called the Development Services Advisory Committee (DSAC) to establish target benchmarks and review administrative policies and procedures to ensure consistent compliance with the City's development standards. DSAC members represent different fields within the land development industry. Their mission is to ensure that development reviews are done in measurable, predictable, transparent, cost-effective, seamless and efficient ways that provide the level of service that customers define.

  • New & Improved Development Services Webpages (and other updates!)

    Whew! Is it almost November? Where is the time going? Before we get too busy with the holiday hustle and bustle, I’ve got a few updates to pass along from our Development Services Department.

    First, please note that we’ve had an update to one of our forms entitled “Agreement for Electrical Service Prior to Certificate of Occupancy.” This form, sometimes referred to as the “Electrical Early Release,” is listed in our Forms and Applications Directory, an alphabetical listing of all development forms. If you’re familiar with the directory, you’ll notice that we’ve added a box at the top of the directory listing the most popular forms. I like it!

  • New Process Change for Administrative Action (AA) Document

    AdminActionDSInsider1000x450

    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.

  • New Walk-In Hours for Development Services Satellite Office

    litchfordhours

    The Development Services Satellite Office on Litchford Road is cutting back hours for walk-in permit clients beginning September 1, 2018. Walk-in clients for Residential projects will only be accepted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. The lobby will then close to walk-in clients at 2 p.m. These interim changes are indefinite and due to a shortage of staff resources combined with an influx of project volume and budget constraints. 

    The turnaround time for Residential plan review will also change:

    • First review cycles will have a turnaround time of 10 days
    • Re-review cycles will have a turnaround time of five days

    For questions or concerns, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 919-996-2495

  • Policy Changes You Need To Know About

    ConcurrentReview DeveloperShakingHandsRetention of One set of Residential Building Plans: Effective June 1, 2017 the City of Raleigh will begin a new practice of retaining

  • Preparing for Hurricane Florence

    hurricaneprep

    As we prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Florence, the development community should immediately review the following list to ensure their jobs sites are as safe as possible before the storm:

    • All job sites must be secured and free of debris which may be affected by high winds and/or flooding;
    • All job site equipment, scaffolding, lifts, and cranes must be secured;
    • All street potholes need to be filled-in with temporary asphalt (cold patch), no stone;
    • All open pits need to be filled-in or secured;
    • All sidewalk closures need to be safe and secure. They should be re-opened, if possible, and;
    • Remove all non-permanent lane closures to accommodate emergency vehicles.

    Inspection information:

    • Inspection services will be limited all day on Wednesday (9/12) in preparation for the storm.
    • In the event of major damage, normal scheduled inspection services will be suspended until further notice.

    Residents can download our After the Storm FAQ for helpful information if property becomes damaged. If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office at 919-996-2500.

  • Stay Informed During Storm Events

    The recent snow and ice from Jonas served as a reminder that it is, indeed, winter!  Thankfully, we did not experience blizzard conditions, nor did the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man make an appearance as with 2014's "snowpocalypse."

    Many did lose power, however, and road conditions were quite hazardous due to the ice. Today’s blog photo depicts just how icy it was in my backyard. Fortunately, the ice didn’t stick around too long as temperatures surged in the days following the storm.

    Some City services were limited during the event, but our offices remained open for business. In an effort to keep our customers informed, we posted on Twitter and sent inclement weather alerts to our subscribers explaining what to do if your meter box was damaged and instructions for scheduling emergency electrical inspections.

  • The Evolution of Development Services

    When I first came to work for the City back in 2009, Development Services was a division of the City Manager’s office. It was led by Hamid Dolikhani (who is currently the Interim Deputy Inspections Director), and included about twenty-five employees who staffed the Development Services Customer Service Center (DSCSC), which opened in 2010.

    As the manager of the DSCSC for its first four years, I watched the division grow to include Current Planning, and the permitting operations at the Litchford Satellite office.

    Since joining the Communication team last year, more organizational changes have occurred. Today, Development Services is no longer a division of the City Manager’s office. And it is not under the umbrella of Planning. Seeing the need for a department that oversees development review and inspections, the City established a new stand-alone department called Development Services. Led by Tom Hosey, it includes two divisions (Land Development and Building Development) and a team of more than 120 employees.

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