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Interview at the Permit Office: Your Questions Will Be Answered!

Do I need to pull a permit for this? What happens if I don’t pull a permit? What can I expect? What surprise could come up? What happens if you fail the inspection?

These are just a few of the broad questions I have for Mr. Barry Mooneyham, Director of Wake County Planning, Development and Inspections. I’m not sure Mr. Mooneyham knows what to expect, but he was genuinely glad to let me come talk to him this coming Wednesday morning. I have a list of questions for him about building permits and about why people are so hesitant to file for a permit.

Please add your own questions to my list by asking them below in the comments. I’d love to help you get your questions answered. Be on the lookout for the follow up post after my interview. 😉

11 replies
  1. Anjana
    Anjana says:


    I wonder if I am late for this post! I didnt see a follow up interview post so I am hoping there is still time for the interview?

    We re planning to buy a new house in Boston, and the basement has been finished without a permit, it has a 1 bed 1 bath in law unit with a kitchen. We were told that we will have to rip the whole thing up, and redo the entire thing all over with a permit… But we were hoping that maybe the city will come by, and just say, change this, or open this up so we can check it, and save us big bucks (we’re preparing to completely rip it if required, but want to avoid it)… But maybe Mr. Barry might know how to approach this.

    • Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl)
      Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl) says:

      Anjana, I already had the interview. But, my understanding is that you will need to contact your city (or county) permit office and ask for an inspection. Hopefully they won’t have to do more than open a few sections in the drywall. But, you’d definitely want to get a permit before you sell. And also, for your own piece of mind make sure things were done to code. It may seem like a hassle, but I realize now that it is in your best interest to have the city look at your addition. One thing I did learn in our area, is you have to have an egress (window or doorway) to get out of in order for a finished room to be called a bedroom.

  2. kristin
    kristin says:

    I’ll be curious to see all the q and a. I was searching all over for the original post of your kitchen disaster and couldn’t find it. Do you mind sending it to me? Since we are in the process of the same thing I wanted to compare notes. Thanks so much!

  3. Susie
    Susie says:

    I’m moving out of a house that has a laundry room on the second floor between the bedrooms. I want this in every house I have until forever now, it’s so handy! Do I need a permit to move the plumbing and vent?

  4. Erin @ The Impatient Gardener
    Erin @ The Impatient Gardener says:

    We are replacing our cabinets in our kitchen and installing a new vent hood. We aren’t taking down any walls or even changing the layout. One contractor we talked to suggested we would need a permit but for the life of us we can’t figure out why that would be. So … do you need a permit for something like that?

  5. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    We are actually in the process of looking to buy a house in Wake County – is there somewhere online that we can check the permits that have been pulled for a specific house to make sure that any renovations have the correct permits? Also, is there an available listing for renovations that require permits?

  6. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    I’ve got one: Do we need to pull a permit to put up a non-loadbearing wall? I’ve got two bathrooms that share a closet, and it’s awkward to hear what’s going on in the other bathroom.


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