On October 6, 2021, the South Carolina Building Codes Council adopted the latest editions of the mandatory codes and appendices with modifications, as referenced in S.C. Code Ann. §6-9-50 (1976, as amended), to be enforced by all municipalities and counties in South Carolina.
Click here for latest details on the changes.
Building Inspection Services Department has added two new emails to help streamline and improve services. All online permit inquires, questions, and paperwork should be submitted to the email BISOnlinepermitting@charlestoncounty.org All contractor licensing inquires, questions, and paperwork should be sent to BISContractorlicense@charlestoncounty.org
Charleston County has applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) funding with change of scope of work through the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) as a sub-recipient.
Click here for latest details on the changes.
The mission of the Building Inspection Services Department is to:
Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Service Building
4045 Bridge View Drive
North Charleston, SC 29405
Mon. - Fri. 8am - 5pm
7am - 8:30am
On January 1, 2023 the following codes will be implemented.
The process for accepting deferred submittals is per section of the IBC pertaining to deferred submittals. Currently we are enforcing IBC-2021, and section 188.8.131.52 pertaining to deferred submittals.
Section 184.108.40.206 of the IBC-2021 states the following:
Deferred submittals. For the purposes of this section, deferred submittals are defined as those portions of the design that are not submitted at the time of the application and that are to be submitted to the Building Official within a specified period.
Deferral of any submittal items shall have the prior approval of the Building Official. The registered design professional in responsible charge shall list the deferred submittals on the construction documents for review by the Building Official.
Documents for deferred submittal items shall be submitted to the registered design professional in responsible charge who shall review them and forward them to the Building Official with a notation indicating that the deferred submittal documents have been reviewed and been found to be in general conformance to the design of the building.
The deferred submittal items shall not be installed until the design and submittal documents have been approved by the Building Official.
In 1953, the S.C. General Assembly adopted the state's first plumbing code. This created a need for plumbing inspections, which were initially performed by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. At the request of local contractors, architects and engineers, Charleston County Council adopted plumbing codes in 1968 and established the Department of Building Inspection Services to enforce them. Council also adopted the Zoning and Flood Plain Management Ordinances in 1973, Standard Mechanical Code in 1981, and Fire Prevention Code in 1982, and Decal Ordinance in 1990. These ordinances are also enforced by the Department, which currently operates as the Building Inspections Department.
Q: Do I need a permit if my project is under $1,000?
A: The homeowner does not need a permit for doing work under $1,000.00 if the work does not require an inspection and provided that homeowner is doing the actual work. A Specialty contractor working for a homeowner would not need a permit for work under $1,000.00 if the work doesn't require an inspection and the whole project only involves one trade; otherwise, permits are required for all trades and work no matter the value.
Q: How do I schedule an Inspection?
A: Call the Building Inspection Services Department at (843)202-6930, request an inspection through the County's web site (https://egovweb.charlestoncounty.org/CitizenAccess_Prod/Site/Public/Main), or fax inspection requests to (843)202-6936. Inspections can be scheduled for the same day provided the inspection request is received by 11:00am and based on inspector location and daily work load. You will need to provide your permit number, job location and type of inspection needed. Please be sure all work has been completed before requesting an inspection.
Q: I have scheduled an inspection for today. When should I expect the inspector on the job site?
A: An inspector can usually determine the time of arrival within a few hours. However, the public is encouraged to contact an inspector before 8:30am, if an approximate time is needed.
Q: How will I know the results of my inspection?
A: The results of your inspection will be marked/signed approved on the permit placard or a non-compliance notice will be posted at the job site. You can also check on-line by using your established account on (https://egovweb.charlestoncounty.org/CitizenAccess_Prod/Site/Public/Main) or through a general search by:
Q: As a homeowner, can I get the required permit(s) to work on my house without a contractor?
A: Yes, if you or your immediate family members are performing the work and if you will live in your home for at least two years after the work is completed.
Please see the South Carolina Owner-Building Requirement Guidance
Q: Who can I employ to perform construction work on my property?
A: Other than the homeowner or his immediate family, only licensed contractors are permitted to work on your property.
Q: Can a home owner secure a permit to make alterations on an existing structure?
A: Yes, if the home owner is qualified to do the work and resides in the home. However, each project must be approved by a Building Inspector before work can begin.
Q: What should I do to have my property inspected for electrical and gas code compliance inspection?
A: First, obtain a gas or electrical safety permit from the Planning Department or Building Inspection Services. Then, call the Building Inspection Services Department (843)202-6930 and request an inspection. You may also request an inspection through the County's web site (https://egovweb.charlestoncounty.org/CitizenAccess_Prod/Site/Public/Main).
Q: How does one become a County-licensed Contractor?
A: Those who are licensed or registered by the State of South Carolina as a contactor are eligible to request County contractor licensure. If you are not a South Carolina licensed contractor, contact PSI Exams or call (800)733-9267, ext. 278 for licensing exam information.
Q: How long does a contractor's license last?
A: A contractor's license is valid for one year beginning February 1 or September 1 depending on the type of licnese and as long as your State required license remains in effect.
Q: How do I obtain or renew my contractor's license?
A: Mail a copy of your current South Carolina State license and the application/renewal form (located on the County's web site) with appropriate fee to the Charleston County Building Inspection Services Department. Once your license is received and processed, a receipt will be sent back to you as notification of application/renewal. Renewals may be submitted through the County's web site (https://egovweb.charlestoncounty.org/CitizenAccess_Prod/Site/Public/Main).
Q: Can general contractors perform work such as electrical, plumbing or mechanical?
A: No. There are difference qualification requirements for each trade, and various agencies in the State of South Carolina offer the necessary exams. For more information, please contact the Contractor Licensing Technician at (843)202-6931.
Q: Why must decals be displayed?
A: Decals are displayed on contractor vehicles to identify which contractors are properly licensed or registered by Charleston County.
Base Flood Elevation - The elevation of an area in relation to the mean sea level expected to be reached during a flood. Based on historic data, these figures indicate which areas are most likely to be flooded.
CRS, Community Rating System - The measure of an area's compliance with federal guidelines governing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) - An official map of a community on which the Federal Insurance Administrator has delineated both the special flood hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.
Flood Elevation Certificate - A document describing the base flood elevation of a property. Flood Elevation Certificates are required before receiving framing or rough-in inspections in flood zones. They are available through any private land surveyor.
Permit - An official document or certificate issued by the building official authorizing performance of a specified activity.
Substantial Improvement - Any repair, reconstruction or improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the property's market value.
Variance - A grant of relief which would allow construction in a manner otherwise prohibited by required standards. Variances are granted only when specific enforcement of standards will result in unnecessary hardship.
Appeal - a request to have the applicable construction Board review and confirm or change a decision of the Charleston County Building Official or his designee.
For inquiries related to flood zones, FEMA flood maps, or hazard mitigation, please contact the Floodplain Management Division at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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