In 1977 it became clear that, although the building codes had been written and adopted by North Carolina, enforcement of these building codes was lacking. Therefore, the General Assembly mandated that "MANDATORY ARRANGEMENTS FOR ENFORCING THE STATE BUILDING CODE" be arranged with Counties and Cities. Based on the 1970 population census, July 1, 1985 was the effective date for Cherokee County to create an Inspection Department.
As directed by Chapter 153A, Article 18 of the General Statutes, Cherokee County did, in June of 1984, create the Inspection Department, known now as the Office of Building Code Enforcement. This department functions under the general supervision of (and in cooperation with) the North Carolina Department of Insurance through the Division of Engineering and Building Codes.
The purpose of the Cherokee County Office of Building Code Enforcement is to promote and maintain the minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety and general welfare of the Citizens of Cherokee County and this State through structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, adequate light and ventilation, energy conservation, and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment and to provide safety to fire-fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The duties and responsibilities of this department and the inspectors in it are to enforce within the county's territorial jurisdiction State and local laws and local ordinances and regulations relating to:
(1) The construction of buildings;
(2) The installation of such facilities as plumbing systems, electrical systems, heating systems, refrigeration systems and air-conditioning systems;
(3) The maintenance of buildings in a safe, sanitary and healthful condition;
(4) Other matters that may be specified by the Board of Commissioners.
These duties and responsibilities include receiving applications for permits and issuing or denying permits, making necessary inspections, issuing or denying certificate of compliance or occupancy, issuing orders to correct violations, bringing judicial actions against actual or threatened violations, keeping adequate records and any other actions that may be required to adequately enforce the laws and ordinances and regulations.
Our goal is to maintain a "user-friendly, well-trained and qualified" staff to work closely with developers, contractors, the citizens of Cherokee County and other county and state departments and governmental agencies. Zoning, Floodplain Ordinance Regulations, Watershed Ordinance Administration, Minimum Housing Standards, Primary Fire Limit Laws, 911-Addressing Ordinance, Special District Regulations, Abandoned Home Ordinances and Condemnation of unsafe structures are but a few examples of this department's scope.
No person may commence or proceed with:
(1) The construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, movement to another site, removal, or demolition of any building;
(2) The installation, extension, or general repair of any plumbing system;
(3) The installation, extension, alteration, or general repair of any heating or cooling equipment system; or
(4) The installation, extension, alteration, or general repair of any electrical wiring, devices, appliances, or equipment without first securing from the inspection department with jurisdiction over the site of the work each permit required by the State Building Code and any other State or local ordinance or regulation applicable to the work.
Permit applications may be submitted during the hours of 8:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 4:30pm Monday thru Friday, except for County holidays. Appointments are not accepted, and permit applications are on a first come, first serve basis. In order to make the permitting process more efficient, please have the required information readily available. Please see the pages for residential, commercial and manufactured homes respectively for specific permit information. For your convenience, we offer a Permit Application Worksheet that you can print at home, fill out and bring with you to apply for your permit. Permit fees for new construction are calculated using the square footage of the project, while other permit fees are calculated by number of inspections. The current Schedule of Permit Fees is available here.
Demand for inspections can only be measured by public need. Approval and/or denial of permit applications is immediate in most cases. As inspection requests are phoned in, regular inspections for permitted work must be accomplished within a reasonable time frame. A reasonable time frame, as assumed by this and other counties, is considered to be "within 36 working hours." Assuming there are eight (8) working hours per business day, this would compute to four and a half (4 1/2) days. As always, an importance factor must be assigned to each inspection request. Building foundation inspections are given top priority, as well as emergency electrical outages. A diligent effort will be made to accommodate these inspections and act on them with urgency. Other requests for inspection will usually be acted upon in a reasonable time frame. It is important to note that demands for the service we must provide is regulated in part by an ever-changing building code and a $25 million county construction industry. We realize we play a small but important part within this industry. We also realize that to provide our service, this office must make every effort to show flexibility in carrying-out our duties in a timely and orderly manner. This flexibility is also demanded of the permit holder, as we are but one office with a jurisdiction covering the entire county. To better understand the inspections process, please see the General Inspection List.
CONTRACTORS LICENSE REQUIRED
When the General Statutes require that general construction, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, fire protection, or gas work be performed by an appropriately licensed contractor, no permit for such work shall be issued to an unlicensed person or firm. Below we have included the links associated with the appropriate contractors licensing boards for the State of North Carolina. A visit to the appropriate site before hiring a contractor is recommended.
These General Statutes do not apply to any person or firm or corporation who constructs or alters a building on land owned by that person, firm or corporation provided such building is intended solely for occupancy by that person and his family, firm, or corporation after completion; and provided further that, if such building is not occupied solely by such person and his family, firm or corporation for at least 12 months following completion, it shall be presumed that the person, firm or corporation did not intend such building solely for occupancy by that person and his family, firm or corporation.
Every permit issued by the Building Code Enforcement Official under the provisions of this code shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the building or work authorized by such permit is not commenced within six months of the permit application date, or if the building or work authorized by such permit has commenced and is then suspended or abandoned for a period of twelve months. Before such work can be commenced or resumed, the permit shall be updated with this office.
INSPECTION RECORD POSTER
The permit holder or his agent shall post the inspection record poster on the job site in an accessible and conspicuous location to allow the Building Code Official to make the required entries. The inspection record poster shall be maintained by the permit holder until the final inspection has been documented and approved.
TEMPORARY TOILET FACILITIES
Suitable toilet facilities shall be provided and maintained in a sanitary condition during construction. An adequate number of facilities must be provided for the number of employees at the construction site according to the following:
- Employee count less than 20 - one (1) toilet
- Employee count 20 to 200 - one (1) toilet and one (1) urinal per 40 workers
- Employee county more than 200 - (1) toilet and (1) urinal per 50 workers
There shall be at least one facility for ever two contiguous construction sites.
CODE BOOK SALES
To see a list of the current codes and/or to purchase code books go to www.ncbuildingcodes.com
The following is a list of web sites for various offices where additional information may be obtained: