Occupying Existing Buildings

Prior to occupancy of any existing non-residential building, the City of Hickory Permit Center must be notified. Permits and approvals from the following departments will be necessary:
If reoccupying the building involves a change in the occupancy classification or use, improvements to the building and site may be required.
A Quick Look at The Process
  • An inspection will occur involving fire inspectors, zoning officials, and county building officials
  • After the inspection has occurred, the applicant will be notified of what additional plans and permits may be required
  • If no improvements are needed or after the improvements have been completed and approved, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued

Zoning Compliance Permit

A commercial zoning compliance permit is required when a new tenant occupies an existing commercial building. This permit ensures that the proposed use is allowed in the zoning district and meets related zoning code regulations. Completion of the zoning application will automatically generate a fire safety inspection. A building safety inspection may also be necessary. Inspectors will contact you to schedule the safety inspection. To obtain a zoning permit, contact the Permit Center at (828) 323-7410.

Fire Department General Inspection Use Permit

The application for the General Inspection Use Permit must be submitted to the City of Hickory Fire & Life Safety Division prior to occupying the building. A permit will be issued after a fire inspector has approved the building for occupancy. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Fire & Life Safety at (828) 323-7522.


For renovations of existing commercial buildings the Permit Center requires five complete sets of construction plans. However, if the original footprint changes, seven sets of construction plans will be required. All plans must have the appropriate seals and signatures of architects and/or engineers. Plans for restaurants must also be submitted to the Catawba County Environmental Health Department. The Permit Center will be able to provide you the information needed on what types of plans and how many sets of plans are required. They can be reached at (828) 323-7410.

Fire Department Construction Permits

Fire Department Construction Permits are required for the installation, renovation or modification of automatic sprinkler systems, fire alarm and detection systems, automatic fire suppression systems, and flammable/combustible liquids storage tanks. Additional information about these permits can be obtained by contacting Fire & Life Safety at (828) 323-7522.

Approval For Occupancy

After the completion of all work done under a permit and after said work complies with the applicable state and local regulations, the tenant may occupy the building. An addition or enlargement of an existing building shall not be occupied, nor shall a change in the occupancy or use of a building occur, until approval is given. For more information please contact the Permit Center at (828) 323-7410.

Key Documents







76 North Center Street
Hickory, NC 28601
Planning Dept. : (828) 323-7422
Office Fax: (828) 323-7550


City News Room

CityWide Footer

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Accessibility Statement
Drupal 7 Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux