Heads up: There are no suggested sections in this chapter.
Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.
This document is "The North Carolina Administrative Code and Policies," hereinafter known as "this code." Any references to International Codes shall refer to North Carolina State Building Codes.
The purpose of this code is to provide for the administration and enforcement of the North Carolina State Building Codes as adopted by the Building Code Council and enforced by State and local code enforcement officials. This code is incorporated by reference into the North Carolina Building, Accessibility, Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical, Fire Prevention, Fuel Gas, Energy Conservation, Existing Buildings, Rehabilitation, and Residential Codes, hereinafter referred to collectively as the "technical codes." This code is intended to provide for the administrative aspects of each of the technical codes. In this code, the plumbing, mechanical, electrical, fire prevention and gas systems shall be referred to as "service systems."
The North Carolina State Building Codes do not include all additional requirements for buildings and structures that may be imposed by other state agencies, occupational licensing boards or commissions. It shall be the responsibility of a permit holder, design professional, contractor or occupational license holder to determine whether any additional requirements exist.

Commentary: Many State agencies, occupational licensing boards or commissions have specific design and construction requirements that are not incorporated into the North Carolina State Building Codes and are not enforced by code enforcement officials. Permit holders, design professionals, contractors or occupational license holders should consult with any relevant boards or agencies to determine whether there are any additional construction and design requirements for their projects.
The provisions of the Building Code shall apply to the construction, alteration, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, movement to another site, removal and demolition, or any appurtenances connected or attached to every building or structure, other than one- or two-family dwellings and townhouses.
The accessibility provisions shall apply to the construction, alteration, repair, replacement, equipment, appliances, fixtures, fittings and appurtenances of all buildings or structures, other than one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses.
The provisions of the Plumbing Code shall apply to every plumbing installation, including alterations, repairs, replacement, equipment, appliances, fixtures, fittings and appurtenances.
The provisions of the Mechanical Code shall apply to the installation of mechanical systems, including alterations, repairs, replacement, equipment, appliances, fixtures, fittings and appurtenances, including ventilating, heating, cooling, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, incinerators and other energy-related systems.
The provisions of the Electrical Code shall apply to the installation of electrical systems, including alterations, repairs, replacement, equipment, appliances, fixtures, fittings and appurtenances.
The provisions of the Fire Prevention Code shall apply to the repair, equipment, use, occupancy and maintenance of every existing building or structure, other than one- or two-family dwellings and townhouses. The provisions of the fire prevention code shall apply to the installation of fire protection systems.
The provisions of the Fuel Gas Code shall apply to the installation of gas piping systems extending from the point of delivery to the inlet connections of equipment served, and the installation and operation of residential and commercial gas appliances and related accessories.
The provisions of the Energy Conservation Code shall apply to the thermal envelope of the building and installation of energy systems, including alterations, repairs, replacement, equipment, appliances, fixtures, fittings and appurtenances, ventilating, heating, cooling, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, incinerators and other energy-related systems.
All work on any building that undergoes alterations, repairs, replacement, rehabilitation or change of occupancy shall comply with the Existing Buildings Code or the technical codes for the proposed work.
The provisions of the Residential Code shall apply to the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, removal and demolition of detached one- and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) not more than three stories in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures.
Commentary: Exceptions to the technical codes. Note that there are statutory exceptions to the applicability of the technical codes. These exceptions can be found in North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) § 143-138(b). The exceptions include (1) farm buildings located outside the jurisdiction of any municipality; (2) equipment for storing, handling, transporting and utilizing liquefied petroleum gases for fuel purposes and (3) equipment or facilities, other than buildings, of a public utility, as defined in NCGS § 62-3, or of an electric or telephone membership corporation, including poles, towers and other structures supporting electric or communication lines.
Commentary: Farm building means any building that is not open to the general public and is used primarily for a bona fide farm purpose. A bona fide farm purpose includes the production or storage of agricultural products or commodities, including crops, fruits, vegetables, ornamental or flowering plants, dairy, timber, livestock, poultry and all other forms of agricultural products. Farm buildings do not include such buildings used for purposes of education and research.
Workmanship is not within the purview of the technical codes unless specifically stated within the code.
Provisions in the appendices shall not be enforceable unless specifically incorporated in the technical codes.
Commentary: Use of appendices. An appendix is part of the technical codes only when the technical code specifically references that appendix in the body of the technical code. Conversely, appendices that are not referenced in the technical codes are not part of the North Carolina Building Codes. These nonenforceable appendices are provided solely for the convenience of the reader. Each appendix will indicate under its title whether it is enforceable and required as part of the technical code.
Standards referenced in the technical codes shall be considered an integral part of the codes. If specific portions of a standard are denoted by code text, only those specific portions of the standard shall be enforced. Where code provisions conflict with a standard, the code provisions shall be enforced. Permissive and advisory provisions in a standard shall not be construed as mandatory.
Additions, alterations, repairs, replacement, rehabilitations or changes of occupancy shall be permitted to any existing structure or service system without requiring the existing systems to comply with all the requirements of the current building codes. All new work shall conform to the requirements of the technical codes for new construction except as modified by either the existing buildings code or the rehabilitation code. For any portion of an existing building or service system that creates a hazard or unsafe condition, the code enforcement official shall determine the extent to which that portion of the existing building or service system is to be upgraded to conform to the requirements of either the Existing Buildings Code, the Rehabilitation Code or the technical codes.
  1. Any person wishing to file a petition requesting the adoption, amendment or repeal of a rule by the Building Code Council shall file a written petition on a form provided by the Building Code Council and 21 copies with the Building Code Council Secretary.
  2. The petition shall include the following information:
    1. Name, address and occupation of petitioner;
    2. A summary of the proposed action (adoption, amendment or repeal of a rule or rules);
    3. A draft of the proposed rule or other action;
    4. A complete statement of the reason for the proposed action with supporting documentation;
    5. An identification of the persons or class of persons most likely to be affected by the proposed action; and
    6. An economic impact analysis as required by General Statute §143-138(a).
The presiding officer at any rulemaking hearing shall have control of the proceedings, including: recognition of speakers, time allotments for presentations, the right to question speakers, direction of the discussion and management of the hearing.
A record of rule-making proceedings will be available for public inspection during regular office hours at the Building Code Council's office. This record will contain the original petition, if any, the notice, all written memoranda and information submitted, and a record or summary of oral presentations, if any, and, in any case where a proposal was rejected, the reason therefore.
Any rules that are adopted by the Building Code Council and approved by the Rules Review Commission shall be effective when the next edition of the relevant technical code is effective as provided in Rule 102.6 unless specified otherwise by the Building Code Council.
Any rules that are adopted by the Building Code Council and approved by the Rules Review Commission shall be accepted by the Code Enforcement Official as an alternate method of construction prior to the effective date if requested by the owner or his agent.
The provisions of any code edition which have been approved by both the Building Code Council and the Rules Review Commission shall become effective the first day of January of the following year unless specified otherwise by the Building Code Council.
  1. There shall be no specific form required for complaints. To be sufficient, a complaint shall be in writing, identify the parties and shall reasonably apprise the Building Code Council of the facts that form the basis of the complaint.
  2. There shall be no specific form required for answers, motions or other pleadings relating to appeals before the Building Code Council, except they shall be in writing. To be sufficient, the document shall identify the case to which it refers and reasonably apprise the Building Code Council of the matters it alleges, answers or requests. In lieu of submission in writing, motions, requests and other pleadings may be made on the record during the course of the hearing before the Building Code Council.
Hearings before the Building Code Council shall be governed by the provisions of General Statutes 150B, Article 3A.
The Building Code Council may designate any of its members to preside over the hearing in a case on appeal. When no designation is made, the chairman of the Building Code Council shall preside, or, in his absence, the vice chairman shall preside. The presiding officer shall rule on motions or other requests made in an appeal case prior to the hearing in that case, except when the ruling on the motion would be dispositive of the case. When the ruling on a motion or request would be dispositive of the case, the presiding officer shall make no ruling and the motion or request shall be determined by a majority of the Building Code Council.
The Building Code Council's Secretary may grant the first request for a continuance of a hearing for good cause. Any subsequent requests for continuance may be granted by the chairman of the board. The granting of a continuance is wholly discretionary.
Whenever there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the provisions of the technical codes, the Building Code Council shall have the authority to grant modifications for individual cases, after the Building Code Council finds on appeal that (1) special individual reasons, conditions, and/or circumstances exist that make the strict letter of the technical codes impractical, (2) the modification is in compliance with the intent and purpose of the technical codes, and (3) the modification does not lessen health, accessibility, life, fire-safety or structural requirements.

Commentary: Limitation on what constitutes practical difficulties. This section is not intended to permit setting aside or ignoring a code provision; rather, it is intended to provide for the acceptance of equivalent protection. Such modifications do not, however, extend to actions that are necessary to correct violations of the code. In other words, a code violation or the expense of correcting a code violation does not necessarily constitute a practical difficulty.
TABLE 104.1
NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE, ENGINEERING DIVISION DOCUMENT APPROVAL FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION AND ADDITIONS
OCCUPANCY GROUP BUILDING PLANS TO BE APPROVED
Section 403 — High Rise1 All buildings
Section 402 — Covered Mall Buildings1 All buildings
City/county owned All buildings 20,000 sq. ft. or greater as required by G.S. §58-31-40
Group A1, 2 Occupant load over 1,000
Group E1 Over 2 stories or over 20,000 sq. ft./story
Group H1 Occupant load over 100
Group I1 Over 3 stories or over 10,000 sq. ft./story
Group R1 Over 4 stories or over 100 units/building
For SI: 1 square foot = 0.0929 m2.
  1. Plans and specifications are not required by the Engineering Division on buildings, except city/county owned, that are located in a city or county inspection jurisdiction approved to perform plans review.
  2. Except temporary bleachers.
Construction specifications and drawings, including Appendix B of this code, for buildings specified in Table 104.1 shall be submitted to the Engineering Division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance. The Engineering Division shall grant document approval before a permit is issued on any building listed in Table 104.1.
Commentary: The square footage listed above refers to the footprint of a new building or building addition.

The occupant loads refer to a new building or building addition area only.

For the purpose of this table only, the occupant load for a church is based on the occupant load of the Occupant Group A-3 main meeting area. If the A-3 area is over 1,000 occupants, then DOI plan review is required unless exception 2 applies.

General Statute 58-31-40 indicates that such city/countyowned buildings must be greater than 20,000 square feet (1858 m2) of new or additional building footprint to require DOI review. The 20,000 square feet (1858 m2) applies to individual structures on the site and not the sum of the structures.
  1. An inspection department may make a written request to the Building Code Council to review plans and specifications on buildings listed in Table 104.1. This authority shall be granted provided that the inspection department is adequately staffed by code enforcement officials with Standard Level III Certificates issued by the North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board in all areas.
  2. Local inspection departments approved under this section shall be listed on the Department of Insurance web page, or a list shall be provided by the Building Code Council Secretary. www.ncdoi.com/osfm.
The provisions of this code are intended to allow the use of any alternate material, design or method of construction, provided that the alternate has been approved by the code enforcement official. An alternative material, design or method of construction shall be approved where the code enforcement official finds that the proposed alternative material, design or method of construction complies with the intent and provisions of the technical codes.
Commentary: The technical codes are not intended to inhibit innovative ideas or technological advances. A comprehensive regulatory document, such as the North Carolina Building Codes, cannot envision and then address all future innovations in the industry. As a result, a performance code must be applicable to and provide a basis for the approval of an increasing number of newly developed, innovative materials, systems and methods for which no code text or referenced standards yet exist. The fact that a material, product or method of construction is not addressed in the technical codes is not an indication that such material, product or method is intended to be prohibited. The code enforcement official is expected to apply sound technical judgment in accepting materials, systems or methods that, while not anticipated by the drafters of the current code text, can be demonstrated to offer equivalent performance. By virtue of its text, the code regulates new and innovative construction practices while addressing the relative safety of building occupants. The code enforcement official is responsible for determining if a requested alternative provides the equivalent level of protection of public health, safety and welfare as required by the code.
Whenever there is insufficient evidence of compliance with the provisions of the technical codes, or evidence that a material, design or method does not conform to the requirements of the technical codes, or in order to substantiate claims for an alternative material, design or method, the code enforcement official shall have the authority to require tests as evidence of compliance to be made at no expense to the authority having jurisdiction. Test methods shall be as specified in the technical codes or by other recognized test standards. In the absence of recognized and accepted test methods, the code enforcement official shall approve the testing procedures.
A current permit is required for all work described in the technical codes unless specifically exempted by the North Carolina General Statutes or the technical codes.

Commentary: Reference North Carolina General Statutes §153A-357 and §160A-417 for exemptions.
Drawings and specifications, as required by the inspection department, shall be drawn to scale with sufficient clarity and detail to indicate the nature and character of the work and shall accompany the application for a permit. All information, drawings, specifications and accompanying data shall bear the name, address and signature of the person responsible for the design.

Exception: Projects using the Building Information Modeling-Integrated Project Delivery (BIM-IPD) process, see Section 106.2.3.1.
Commentary: Drawings and specifications shall be kept in a manner prescribed by North Carolina General Statutes §153A-373 and §160A-433.
The inspection department may require details, computations, stress diagrams or documentation sealed by a registered design professional and other data necessary to describe the construction or installation of a system.

Exception: Projects using the BIM-IPD process, see Section 106.2.3.1.
When the inspection department issues a permit, it shall approve, in writing or by stamp, all sets of drawings and specifications "Reviewed for Code Compliance."

Exception: Nothing in this section shall require the review and approval of one- and two-family dwelling plans.
When proposed by the permit applicant and when acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction, the BIM-IPD process may be utilized, replacing the requirements of Section 106.2.3, with the following permitting and inspection steps.
  1. At the project start, the owner's project team (Architect, Engineer, contractor, et al.) shall meet with the Code Enforcement Official (CEO) to determine the prevailing code compliance strategy for the full scope of the project, to be documented in an electronic Appendix B format or an equivalent format, acceptable to the CEO.
  2. The CEO may issue a single project master permit, based on the initial project description and code compliance strategy agreement.
    Commentary: The CEO should work collaboratively to review building components or details as scheduled by the owner's project team.
  3. The CEO shall inspect built work, as described in Section 107 of this code.
    1. Concurrence on compliance with the code, with respect to both the model and built product, shall be gained before inspections are approved.
  4. The owner's project team shall submit a validation document, at project substantial completion, documenting the building as constructed and compliance with the North Carolina State Building Code, for records retention by the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Validation document: may be a three dimensional model, two dimensional electronic drawings and records, or a combination of both, accurately reflecting the completed building as approved by the code official in the field, and verified with respect to same.
  • Where the validation document varies from the approved virtual model regarding building code compliance, the related Architect/Engineer must approve the change.
  • Receipt of the validation document shall be a condition on issuance of Certificate of Occupancy.
BIM: Model-based technology linked with a data base of project information, using three-dimensional, real time dynamic modeling software, to plan all building construction. The model encompasses building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, and quantities and properties of building components.

IPD: A project delivery method that integrates key participants (owner, Architect, Engineer, contractor, code official, et al.), systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively plans and constructs facilities. The collaborative process begins in early design and continues through all phases of design, fabrication and construction.
Commentary: This applies to any project delivery method employing three dimensional modeling software, to virtually construct all building components, by a collaborative team based process from design start to construction completion.
A permit application shall be filed with the Inspection Department on a form furnished for that purpose. The Inspection Department shall make available a list of information that must be submitted with the building permit application, including a complete building code summary (see Appendix A of the Administrative Code and Policies). The Inspection Department's building code summary shall be in the exact format as, and contain only the information in, Appendix B of the Administrative Code and Policies. The Inspection Department shall only modify its building code summary as set forth in section 103.5 Modifications, or as necessary to reflect any changes by the Office of State Fire Marshal to Appendix B that have been approved by the Building Code Council.

UpCodes note: The delayed effective date of this Rule is January 1, 2019. The Statutory authority for Rule-making is G. S. 143-136; 143-138. Previously, the section was:

"A permit application shall be filed with the Inspection Department on a form furnished for that purpose. The Inspection Department shall make available a list of information which must be submitted with the building permit application, including a complete building code summary (see Appendix A of the Administrative Code and Policies). The Inspection Department's building code summary shall be in the exact format as, and contain only the information in, Appendix B of the Administrative Code and Policies. The Inspection Department shall only modify its building code summary as set forth in section 103.5 Modifications, or as necessary to reflect any changes by the Office of State Fire Marshal to Appendix B which have been approved of by the Building Code Council."
The inspection department shall perform the following inspections:
  1. Footing inspection;
  2. Under slab inspection, as appropriate;
  3. Foundation inspection;
  4. Rough-in inspection;
  5. Building framing inspection;
  6. Insulation inspection;
  7. Fire protection inspection; and
  8. Final inspection.
Commentary: The code enforcement official makes these inspections during certain phases of construction and is not on site at all times when construction is in progress. The code official verifies code compliance and/or code defects visible and subject to discovery during the above listed inspections and spot checks numerous similar items.

Nothing in any of Sections 107.1.1 through 107.1.8 requirements is intended to prevent partial inspections of the inspection types listed in Section 107.1 "General" as requested by the permit holder as allowed by the local inspection department. Cumulative partial inspections approved by the code official shall satisfy the same degree of readiness for inspection for viewing as described in Sections 107.1.1 through 107.1.8.

Not all items, such as, but not—limited to, nailing of roof or other sheathing material, are always visible at framing inspection, but remain the responsibility of the permit holder to comply with the code.

Temporary electrical service poles may be inspected at any phase of construction as requested by the permit holder. Temporary utility (TU) applications deemed safe by the AHJ or as otherwise permitted by the code shall be allowed.
Footing inspections shall be made after the trenches are excavated, all grade stakes are installed, all reinforcing steel and supports are in place and tied, and all necessary forms are in place and braced before any concrete is placed.
Under-slab inspections, as appropriate, shall be made after all materials and equipment to be concealed by the concrete slab are completed.
Foundation and crawl space inspections shall be made after all foundation supports are installed.
Commentary: Foundation inspections are conducted to verify correct installation and proper bearing support. Poured concrete and masonry walls that have reinforcement steel should be inspected prior to concrete placement. Crawl space leveling, ground clearances, positive drainage and waterproofing/dampproofing, when required, may be inspected at future inspections prior to concealment.
Rough-in inspections shall be made when all building framing and parts of the electrical, plumbing, fire protection, or heating-ventilation or cooling system that will be hidden from view in the finished building have been placed, but before any wall, ceiling finish, or building insulation is installed.
Commentary: Plumbing, mechanical, and electrical components installed underground should be considered as rough-in inspections and may be inspected at any point during construction prior to covering.
Framing inspections shall be made after the roof (excluding permanent roof covering), wall ceiling, and floor framing is complete with appropriate blocking, bracing, and firestopping in place. The following items shall be in place and visible for inspection:
  1. Pipes;
  2. Chimneys and vents;
  3. Flashing for roofs and chimneys;
  4. Insulation baffles; and
  5. All lintels that are required to be bolted to the framing for support shall not be covered by any exterior or interior wall or ceiling finish material before approval. Work may continue without approval for lintels supported on masonry or concrete.
Insulation inspections shall be made after an approved building framing and rough-in inspection and after the permanent roof covering is installed, with all insulation and vapor retarders in place, but before any wall or ceiling covering is applied.
Commentary: Insulation baffles that cannot be seen at this inspection, such as vaulted ceilings with concealed rafter cavities, should have baffles installed at framing inspection for verification.

It is acceptable that wall cavity insulation enclosed by an air barrier material behind tubs, showers, and fireplace units installed on exterior walls may not be observable by the code official.
Fire protection inspections shall be made in all buildings where any material is used for fire protection purposes. The permit holder or his agent shall notify the inspection department after all fire protection materials are in place. Fire protection materials shall not be concealed until inspected and approved by the code enforcement official.
Commentary: Fire protection inspection is typically performed in commercial building structures and is required in addition to any special inspection as listed in Chapter 17 of the North Carolina Building Code.
Final inspections shall be made for each trade after completion of the work authorized under the technical codes.
Commentary: Each trade shall complete a final inspection giving approval to permitted work. Work required by the technical codes shall be complete before being requested. Temporary power and temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) requests are allowed prior to final inspection.
It shall be the duty of the permit holder or his or her agent to notify the code enforcement official when work is ready for inspection and to provide access to and means for inspection of the work for any inspections that are required by this code.
Work shall not be done beyond the point indicated in each successive inspection without first obtaining the approval of the code enforcement official. The code enforcement official, upon notification, shall make the requested inspections and shall either indicate the portion of the construction that is satisfactory as completed, or shall notify the permit holder or an agent of the permit holder that the work fails to comply with the technical codes. The code enforcement official shall identify code violations and when requested shall identify the specific sections of the technical codes. Any work that does not comply shall be corrected and shall not be covered or concealed until authorized by the code enforcement official.
The code enforcement official may authorize a North Carolina registered design professional to inspect the following structural elements, components and systems:
  1. The excavation of soil and/or forming of footings with the associated placement of reinforcing steel prior to pouring concrete; and
  2. The forming of floors, columns, beams and other structural members, including the placement of reinforcing steel prior to pouring concrete.
     To utilize this procedure, the permit holder must continue to schedule all inspections normally required for this work by the inspection department. The registered design professional shall provide weekly reports bearing his seal to the inspection department indicating that the placement of the related construction elements, components and systems either complies or does not comply with the approved permit documents. Any change from the permit documents shall be approved by the code enforcement official prior to its implementation. The permit holder shall immediately inform the code enforcement official if he or she terminates his or her relationship with the registered design professional.
Special inspections required by the building code or the building inspector shall be performed by a North Carolina registered design professional or an inspector under his responsible charge.
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