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Residential Technical Assistance Center (RTAC)

The Residential Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) provides a number of Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement services; Residential code assistance, Residential plan review, and minimum housing code enforcement. Links to the specific web pages for these services is listed below.

Residential Technical Assistance Center (RTAC)

Do you have questions about your one- or two-family home project? Not sure where to turn? Look no further -- we've got the solution just for you. Our Residential Technical Assistance Center is staffed with code officials specializing in residential building code issues. They can answer your questions and offer guidance as you try to navigate your project, whether you're a homeowner doing your own work or an experienced contractor or architect with out of the ordinary questions. There are three ways to reach us...we're here to help! Phone: 980-314-0919,  E-mail: , Visit us in the first floor lobby  at 2145 Suttle Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28208. Our Code Specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

Questions pertaining to zoning, i.e. building setbacks, fencing, and property use please contact the appropriate planning/zoning jurisdiction:

Charlotte, Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Mint Hill, Matthews, or Pineville 

Our NC Certified code officials will provide you information about residential code requirements to do your project correctly. Call 980-314-0919 or e-mail RTAC to get answers to questions such as:

  • Do I need a building permit  to add a room to my house?   You can add on to your house if there is enough room in your yard and the addition meets the current NC building codes. Contact the appropriate zoning jurisdiction for your area regarding set-backs and space requirements for the addition. Links to each zoning jurisdiction within Mecklenburg County are listed above.

  • What are the building set-backs for my property?  A building setback is the required distance that a building (structure) must be located from the property lines of the adjacent property. The setbacks are determined by the appropriate zoning jurisdiction and based on the zoning district. Please contact the appropriate planning/zoning department having jurisdiction in your area. Links to each zoning jurisdiction within Mecklenburg County are listed above.

  • Do I need a permit for a storage shed or an accessory building?  A storage shed, or an accessory building will need a building permit if any dimension is greater than 12 feet in any one dimension. If the building is less than 12 feet, it will not need a building permit, but it will need a zoning permit.

  • What is the footing depth requirement?    A footing in Mecklenburg County must be at least 12 inches below grade, that is, the bottom of the concrete must be 12 inches below the surface. This must be inspected before any concrete is placed. If the soil is soft or not compacted well enough the usual solution is to dig deeper until you hit good hard dirt and support a load of 2000 pounds per square foot.

  • Can I build my own house?  The state of North Carolina allows you to build your own home provided you personally will reside in the home and that it is not for rent or intended for sale within one year after you complete all construction. You will have to be bonded with Mecklenburg County. As an option, you could choose to be the general contractor and hire all the sub-contractors to work for you. You could pull the building permit and list each licensed contractor on your permit. They would call in their own inspections, but you would be acting as the general contractor for the project and responsible for all work.

  • Can I convert my deck into a sunroom?  Yes, you can but it will need a full, masonry foundation built underneath it with a continuous concrete footing. Most decks are built using wood posts on individual footings. When a deck is converted to a sunroom the windows and the roof create additional wind loads on the room which must be supported by a full foundation. The only alternative to this would be to have a NC licensed engineer design a post or pier foundation that would support the additional loading. A building permit and an electrical permit is required for this and the floor, walls and roof will have to be insulated. If the exterior door leading to this sunroom is removed, a licensed mechanical contractor will have to provide heat to the sunroom.

  • Do my plans have to be sealed by an architect or engineer?  Generally, residential plans do not require a seal from an architect or engineer. However, when the plans contain structural elements exceeding the limits of the NC Residential Code, or otherwise not conforming to this code, these elements shall be designed in accordance with accepted engineering practice. This portion of the plan must be sealed by an architect or engineer. In other words, if it is not described in the code book it will need a seal. Examples of this would be truss roof or floor systems, engineered wood beams like LVL or steel beams, unusual foundations or retaining walls, unusual construction methods like log homes or timber framed structures.

  • When does a window have to be tempered?  Windows in hazardous locations require safety glazing which is usually tempered glass in residential construction. The code book describes 7 locations considered hazardous. Generally it would be: glass in doors, a window within 2 feet of a door in the same wall plane, a window less than 18 inches to the floor with a single pane more than 9 square feet, any glass around a pool, hot tub, shower etc., windows near a stairway, railing or a landing, all of these locations would require tempered or other type of safety glazing.

  • Can I finish a room in the attic or basement?  It is possible to finish a room in the basement or the attic if it can be done in conformance with the current NC residential codes. It would require a building permit plus electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits, if there is plumbing involved. A plan review is not required if the total cost is less than $175,000. If the project is adding a second or third story to the house plan review would be required and a NC licensed engineer would have to inspect the foundation for soundness and its ability to carry the added load and provide drawings and/or a letter providing information on how to structurally add the new stories. There are egress, headroom and stair requirements also. Contact RTAC for further details.

  • Can I have an outdoor range in my screen porch?  An outdoor range in a screened in porch is allowed if the range is rated for outdoor use and it has an exhaust hood and vent specified by the range manufacturer for use outdoors. The "rating" is only assigned to products which have been tested by an approved testing agency like UL or Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. for this type application. If this were a gas range, 2 permits would be required, electrical and mechanical.

  • What is the rise and run requirement for stairs in North Carolina?  The maximum rise or step height in NC is 81/4 inches. There is no minimum. The minimum tread depth is 9 inches with a 3/4-inch nosing. There is no maximum tread depth. A nosing is not required where the tread depth is a minimum of 11 inches.

  • How much insulation do I need?  In Mecklenburg County the insulation requirements are: R-19 in a floor above a crawl space or garage, R-15 in the exterior wall cavity or R-13 in the exterior wall cavity plus an R-2.5 continuous insulation and R-38 in the attic. If there is a full basement and the area is heated or conditioned space the basement walls would be insulated to R-5 for continuous insulated sheathing on the interior or exterior of the home or R-13 cavity insulation at the interior of the basement wall or crawl space wall. A full day-light wall would need R-15 in the exterior wall cavity or R-13 in the exterior wall cavity plus an R-2.5 continuous insulation.

  • Can I be my own electrical contractor? (See important information for homeowners desiring to do their own electrical work.)​
  • Do I need an exhaust fan in my bathroom?  Ventilation is required in each bathroom, water closet compartment and other similar rooms by providing a minimum size window of 3 square feet with 50% openable. or an exhaust fan vented directly to the outside with a minimum exhaust rate of 50 cfm.
  • What type of footing do I need for my deck?
    Review our deck brochure complete with guidelines and diagrams.
  • What type of  inspections are required?
  • What is required to convert my home into a small day care? Review our In Home Day CARE brochure for the requirements and procedures.
  • What regulations do I need to meet for putting in a swimming pool, spa, or hot tub?     The NC State Residential Code (see brochure) and Mecklenburg County Health Ordinance Govern Residential Swimming Pools.  The Appendix V of the 2018 NC State Residential covers the specific code requirements for residential swimming pools & spas. The installation of swimming pools, spas, or hot tubs require zoning approval as part of the permitting process. Be sure to check with the appropriate zoning jurisdiction prior to ensure you have sufficient area on your property. If you have a septic system you should also check with Mecklenburg County Environmental Health to ensure the location of the pool doesn't interfere with the septic system.
For answers to these and other residential code questions you may have, just call 980-314-0919 or e-mail .       

deck on house photo of deck and porch 

Helpful References:
Frequently Asked Questions for Residential Projects: A Customer Guide
View  a free copy of the North Carolina Building Codes through the ICC.  E-codes

Key Contacts:

RTAC Staff    - 980-314-0919
   Charles Walker, PE  - CTAC/RTAC Manager 980-314-3107

Scott Westbrook, Senior Plans Examiner 980-314-3114

rev. 3/21/2019