The blog is being published a day early this week so you can have a little extra time to digest the process change taking effect April 1st (explained in detail below).

This process change has been mentioned in two previous blog posts, but we wanted to make sure that all of your questions were answered before the new policy goes into effect. In an effort to do so, Bradley Kimbrell, DSCSC Manager, put together the following list of Q & A’s regarding the new policy.

If you have additional questions after reading, please contact the DSCSC staff at 919-996-2495. Thanks!

Questions & Answers:

Effective April 1, 2016, the Development Services Department will no longer allow development plan projects (Subdivisions, Preliminary Site Plans, or Administrative Site Reviews) OR projects involving land disturbance permits (greater than 12,000 sqft) OR projects requiring Public Improvements to submit for Standard Commercial Review without first obtaining applicable Site Approval (Final Site, Infrastructure Construction Plans, or Concurrent Review).

City staff and stakeholders have collaborated to develop and adopt this policy change to promote consistency and predictability, and to ensure that projects are reviewed in the most efficient manner possible.

1. Why can’t I submit for a building review prior to receiving site approval anymore?

Feedback from the industry consistently confirms the most effective procedure is to have an approved site plan incorporated into the building submittal, thereby simplifying the review. Previously, building plans were submitted with non-approved site plans, creating confusion for the design and review team and often causing additional review cycles. The intent is to:

• Eliminate duplicate comments caused by two separate transactions; and
• Save our customers time and money – provided no changes occur between the site approval and building submittal, review staff can conduct their review knowing that all site design  details are already resolved. As a result, customers will not be addressing the same issues twice and additional reviews will not be necessary.

2. This seems to create a delay in my project timeline. Why is this policy changing?

The City of Raleigh is here to assist clients with their projects. The Development Services Department wants to ensure that permits are acquired efficiently and accurately with minimum risk for errors and/or delays. To ensure that we provide the most appropriate course of action for your submittal and review, we are reducing the potential for conflicts, eliminating double-comments, and providing a more predictable approval process.

3. I have site approval, but haven’t recorded the new plat yet. Can I submit my application for building review?

Currently the prerequisite for building submittal is to attach the latest recorded map to the plans. If determined as a "Condition of Approval" for the project, recordation of a new map is a requirement prior to building plan approval and permit issuance. Please note that critical data, beneficial for a complete review for some trades, is only available after the map is recorded with Wake County (i.e. building addresses and property uses/occupancy). Therefore, the highest quality review, with all available information, is given once the new map is recorded and attached with the building plans.

4. If I include Site Approval within the building review submittal package, will there be any site comments?

One of the key initiatives with this policy change is to eliminate duplicate and potential conflicting review comments as was the case with the previous policy of allowing separate and overlapping submittals. By receiving Site Approval prior and attaching to the building submittal, site trades should not have additional site-design comments, with the exception of building-related conflicts (such as, but not limited to, utility connections and site accessibility). A project’s success is dependent upon there being no changes to the site plan from Site Approval to the submittal of building review. If this occurs, a formal revision to the site plan will be required, stopping the building review and subjecting the site plan to new comments.

5. What if my project is a Plot Plan?

If the proposed scope of work is determined to be a Plot Plan and will not require a land disturbance permit (grading more than 12,000 sqft) and/or have public improvements, then yes, you can submit simultaneously the site and building approval. To determine whether your project is a Plot Plan or not, please refer to UDO, Sec. 10.2.7.

6. Am I able to submit my review through Express Review without prior site approval?

Simultaneous site and building review is allowed in Express if the project does not require infrastructure construction plan approval or new map recordation; however if the project does, then Site Approval is a prerequisite and must be acquired prior to conducting a building review. Express review is a voluntary, premium service and must be scheduled prior to submitting. Express staff is available to assist via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

7. Can I sign up for a Coordinated Team Review (CTR) instead?

Site approval will be a prerequisite for any project not meeting the description of either item #5 or #6. Applicants that wish to conduct a CTR for comments only and not for permitting must have the approved site plans attached in the submittal. This is intended to avoid conflicts with site related design (i.e. building footprint, utility connections, etc.) elements that can affect the building review.

8. I just want to get building related comments. What other options do I have?

The Pre-Submittal Conference is a voluntary, express service, offered as a collaborative face-to-face meeting for clients wishing to submit building plans. This service provides the client with an opportunity to ask questions of the building trade reviewers prior to plan submittal. There are no prerequisites for a Pre-Submittal Conference beyond a completed application. In the meeting, the client sets the agenda and takes notes. The current fee for the Pre-Submittal Conference is $600.00 for the first hour (minimum deposit) and $150.00 per each additional quarter hour. However, to assist with this transition of policy, the Pre-Submittal Conference is offered during the month of April at no cost to clients. Availability is limited, so please contact Express staff for questions and scheduling via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

9. What if I already had a project timeline developed with a staff member?

Building plans without Site Approval must be submitted for the first cycle of review prior to April 1st. Staff is willing to review and provide input in revising an established timeline. Alternative services may be available to assist and/or maintain the original timeline (see item #8). Once site plans are approved, building plans can be submitted and continue through the review process.

10. I’m concerned with the potential impacts of this to my project timeline. Who can help me find the quickest path to permit issuance?

Staff is committed to helping clients find the best overall path for a project. Project Coordinators are available to address concerns and inquiries involving submittal processes, and developing a project timeline. Intake staff at the Development Services Customer Service Center can also answer general questions and direct clients to alternative services if desired.

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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