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Jason Webb – Building Inspector  (828) 347-3278

Gina Wiggins – Building Inspector (404) 502-5603

What You Need to Know About Swain County Building Inspections & Permits

The Swain County Building Inspections Department is authorized by the North Carolina General Statutes to enforce the North Carolina State Building Code, and proper soil erosion and sedimentation control. Review the information on this page to understand what builders need to do to ensure their project meets all state and county requirements and codes. 

Please refer to County Ordinances if needed.  

The Swain County Building Inspections and Permits office involves four key areas of building in the county:

  1. Receives and reviews permit applications, including:
    1. Permits for Buildings (including accessory buildings), Electrical, Mechanical (heating and air conditioning; wood burning stoves), Plumbing, and Signs

2. Reviews plans and issues permits for construction activities.

3. Conducts building inspections of construction in progress.

4. Issues Certificates of Occupancy.

How to Obtain All Building Permits:

There are 10 steps to getting all required permits for your building project. See this handy chart below of what you need for each of the ten steps. Find all required documents listed under “Forms Needed”, by the form name, in the Document Center.    If you have any attachments, please     IF YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED A REPLY FROM BUILDING INSPECTIONS WITHIN 3 DAYS OF YOUR SUBMISSION CALL (828) 488-9134

Step 1:

Soil Erosion/ Land Dev.

Forms Needed: (in Environmental Health document center)
- Affidavit
- Financial Responsibility
- Land & Development Application
- Complaint Form

Step 2:

Septic & Well Approval

Forms Needed: (in Environmental Health document center)
- Onsite and Well Application
- Septic Record Search Form

Step 3:

Building Plans

Forms Needed: (in Building Inspections document center)
- Building Permit
- Electrical Form
- Gas Form
- Mechanical Form
- Plumbing Form
- Deck Form
- Mobile Home Permit
- Temporary Power Application
- Remodel & Accessory Application
- Campground Permit

Step 4:

EMS Address

Forms Needed: (in Emergency Medical Services document center)
- Address Request Form
- Road Name Petition Form

Step 5:


- Get a Parcel Identification Number, this can be found at the Tax Office

Step 6:

Fees & Checklists

Forms Needed: (in Building Inspections document center)
- Mobile Home Checklist
-Building Code Enforcement Fees

Step 7:

N.C. Lien Agent

Get a Letter from Lien Holder on Property

Step 8:

Contractor List

Submit List of all Contractors with Names and Phone Numbers

Step 9:


Get Signatures from All Contractors

Step 10:


Must have Porta-John on Site before Permit will be Issued

Under one acre / no permit required/ must contain sedimentation on site

One acre or more

  • Plan is required to be drawn by a registered engineer, or a qualified person who can draw plans to meet Swain County ordinance.
  • Plans must have a financial responsibility/owner form 
  • Must apply for DWQ permit
  • If property is in a waterway, it must have Corps of Engineers approval.
  • After Plan Review, a grading permit must be issued before grading begins.

Engineered Plans

The following plans must be designed or approved with a stamped seal of a registered North Carolina architect or engineer:
  1. Log Homes
  2. Post & Beam Homes
  3. Non-traditional Construction (IE Deltec, Structural Insulated Panel, etc.) not covered by the Residential/Building Code
  4. Commercial Buildings exceeding $30,000.00 (Note: ALL commercial building plans shall include a completed copy of Appendix “B” to the North Carolina State Building Code, Vol IA.

Engineered Components

The following components of buildings built in accordance with the Residential/Building Code will require engineered design/specification provided prior to an inspection being performed on that component. These designs/specifications must be stamped by a registered North Carolina architect or engineer.
  1. Footers on soft soil or backfill
  2. Foundation walls over nine feet in height or higher
  3. Decks over twenty feet in height
  4. LVL’s, LAM Beam’s, engineered floor joists, engineered trusses, etc
  5. Retaining walls 4ft or taller.

Plan Requirements

  1. Elevation
  2. Setback from streams/lakes
  3. Footing/pier size & locations
  4. Foundation wall/vent details
  5. Monolithic slab details
  6. Floor system joist/girder size and spacing
  7. Deck details
  8. Exterior and load bearing wall details
  9. Building dimensions
  10. Roof system/ventilation details
  11. Egress window sizes in bedrooms
  12. Heat source and location
  13. Electrical panel size and location
  14. R values for floor, ceiling and walls

Who needs a permit to build?

Any structure with a dimension 12 ft or greater must be permitted.

North Carolina General Statutes require issuance of a building permit prior to construction, alteration or repair of any building or building system.


Farm buildings (except those that contain dwelling units)

Projects costing $5000 or less unless the work involves:

  1. Load bearing structures
  2. Plumbing systems
  3. Heating or Air Conditioning systems
  4. Electrical systems
  5. Roofing, excluding replacement of like materials

Documents Required to Issue a Permit

  1. One of the following types of septic system documentation:
  2. An authorization to construct a septic system from Swain County Health Department
  3. A waiver for an existing septic system from the Swain County Health Department C. A letter from the Town of Bryson City authorizing connection to the Town’s septic system.
  4. Tax I.D. Card and Parcel number
  5. A copy of plans that meets requirements of the plans review checklist
  6. A completed application
  7. Certification of Workman’s Compensation
  8. A completed affidavit as to status of licensure
  9. A completed Soil Disturbance Permit


Administration Building

OFFICE IS OPEN 8 am – 9 am and 4 pm – 5 pm

50 Main Street
Mailing Address:  PO Box 2321, Bryson City, NC 28713

Jason Webb, Code Enforcement Official

Phone 828-488-9134, ext. 2211
Fax 828-488-9601

Gina Wiggins, Code Enforcement Official

Phone 828-488-9134, ext. 2268
Fax 828-488-9601

  • New Single Family Dwelling – base fee of .50 per sq ft heated space
  • Trades Included .30 per sq ft unheated space
  • Garages, Additions, Remodels, Accessory Big. – .50 per sq ft heated space
  • Trades not Included .30 per sq ft unheated space
  • Single Wide Mobile Home – $125.00
  • Double Wide Mobile Home – $225.00
  • Modular Home – $400.00
  • Electrical – one trip – $80.00 Residential and $100.00 Commercial
  • Mechanical – one trip – $80.00 Residential and $100.00 Commercial
  • Plumbing – one trip – $80.00 Residential and $100.00 Commercial
  • Temporary Power (90 days only) – $80.00 Residential and $100.00 Commercial
  • Reinspect Fee – $80.00 Reinstate Expired Permit – $100.00
  • Consultative Visit – $80.00
  • Change of Occupancy – $60.00
  • Demolition Permit – $100.00
  • Deck Permit – $ 75.00 per level
  • Land Development Permit – $100.00 before any other permits will be issued
  • Erosion Control Fees – $50.00 for initial site evaluation
  • $100.00 per acre of land affected by land disturbance

*Penalty for beginning work without required permits – Double permit fee

Below are links to the State of North Carolina Building Code Information


Affidavit – Building Inspections: 

Land Development Application:

Building Inspections – Temporary Power Application:

Building Inspections – Remodel Accessory Big Application:

Building Inspections – Complaint Form:

Building Permit FAQs

Please Email any attachments to:



You can download applications for permits from our website or pick them up here in the office.

You can download applications for permits from our website or pick them up here in the office.

A licensed contractor is required whenever construction is done that exceeds $30,000 in value.  The value is based either on a signed contract or our permit valuation, which is $91.36/sq. ft. of heated space for new residential construction. Re-models are based on the contract price. For commercial projects, talk to our commercial plan reviewer. These rules are made by the NC Licensing Board, and we have no control over them. You may contact the Licensing Board for further information at (919)571-4183.

Residential plans normally do not require an architect. If the proposed residence is unusually large  and/or complicated it could require plans sealed by an architect or engineer. For commercial plans  you need to talk to our commercial plan reviewer. A log home must have a set of plans.

Any building greater than 12’ in any dimension requires a building permit. If it is greater than 400 sq ft it requires a permanent foundation. All buildings used for commercial purposes require a building permit and a permanent foundation. 

Not required in single family residences for work costing less than $5000 if no structural (load  bearing) work is done, or if no work involving plumbing, mechanical, or electrical systems is done.  Replacing plumbing fixtures without altering the trap or the drains or vents does not require a permit.

No. We do have order forms, or you can go to Code Services on the State DOI (Department of  Insurance) website and order online.

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