Engineering FAQ

How do I get to your office?

1. Take I-81 South or North to Exit 13 (King Street Exit) passing Sheetz. Continue on King Street to the fourth traffic light.
2. Turn right on Raleigh Street and go two blocks.
3. Office is located in brick building on your left side before Stephen Street. There is parking in front and beside our offices. (Shepherd Community and Technical College is located on the first floor and county offices are located on the second floor)

What are your hours of operation?

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

What do I need in order to apply for my building permit?

See Building Permit Process

Can someone else apply for my building permit?

Yes, you can send a representative but you must have an affidavit signed by you and your representative granting your representative authority to apply in your behalf.

Do you have a refund policy?

Yes, here is our policy.

At what stages of construction do I call for inspection?

See Inspection Requirements

When do I need a building permit?

A permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system. (This includes pre-fabricated structures)

Work exempt from permit:

1. Fences not over 6 feet high.

2. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge.

3. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.

4. Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade and not over any basement or story below.

5. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.

6. Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches deep.

7. Swings and other playground equipment accessory to a one- or two-family dwelling.

8. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall.

What is the purpose of a building permit?

Building Permits are required to ensure public safety, health, and welfare as they are affected by building construction through structural strength, adequate egress facilities, sanitary equipment, light, ventilation and fire safety.

How long is a building permit valid?

Every permit issued shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the building or work authorized by such permit is not commenced within six (6) months from the issue of the permit, or if the building or work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned for a period of six (6) months after work has commenced.

What is the footing depth in Berkeley County?

The footing depth in Berkeley County is 30 inches below final grade.

How much notice is needed to request an inspection?

All inspection requests for the next working day must be called in no later than 2:00 p.m. This office reserves the right to change the time deadline for next day inspections. All inspections will be completed within 48 hours.

Do I need a building permit to replace my windows and doors?

Yes. All window & door replacement require a building permit. New bedroom windows must meet current egress requirements.

How long does it take to get a building permit after the application is filed?

The processing time required before approval and issuance varies for different types of construction projects. Some permits for small projects may be issued within one week. Larger and more detailed construction projects will require review of construction plans and documents and therefore require additional review time.

What building codes do you use?

Residential Construction

2015 International Residential Code
2015 International Property Maintenance Code

Commercial Construction

2015 International Building Code
2015 International Mechanical Code
2015 International Plumbing Code
2015 International Fuel Gas Code
2009 International Energy Conservation Code

When is it necessary to have a grading permit?

If the proposed grading exceeds 5,000 square feet of surface area or the project is located in a subdivision or mobile home park.

Is a permit required for a residential swimming pool?

A permit is required for any structure intended for swimming, recreational bathing or wading that contains water over 24 inches deep which includes in-ground, aboveground, hot tubs, spas and fixed in place wading pools or pools which are equipped with a re-circulation system.

When will my Certificate of Occupancy be completed?

Final inspection and Certificate of Occupancy must be obtained before occupying the building. Due to the processing time required to verify supporting documents and collection of all inspectors paperwork, the Certificate of Occupancy will be mailed after all three final inspections have been successfully completed and documented.

Can the Certificate of Occupancy be issued the same day as the building inspection?

No. Due to the processing time required to verify supporting documents, the Certificate of Occupancy will be issued by the end of the second business day following the approval and documentation of all three final inspections.

What can be done for high grass/weeds, trash, and vehicle complaints?

A complaint form will need to be completed with owner’s name and address information along with description of complaint. The name of the complainant must be given at the time the complaint is registered. A complaint form can be picked up at our office or found on departmental forms on our web page.

Do I need to get a permit to replace my hot water heater?

Yes, in order to ensure proper installation and compliance with required codes, a permit is required. Incorrect installation can create a fire or explosion hazard.

What is an “Agricultural Building”? Does it need a permit?

An agricultural building is a structure designed and constructed to house farm implements, hay, grain, poultry, livestock or other horticultural products. This structure shall not be a place of human habitation or a place of employment where agricultural products are processed, treated or packaged, nor shall it be a place used by the public.

A true agricultural building does require a building permit, although it is exempt from fee and building inspections.