Skip to main content

Single Family and Duplex Construction Information


All new residential buildings and additions must be permitted prior to construction. Please see the Residential Permit Review Flow Chart for an overview of the permitting process. For construction of single-family residences and residential accessory buildings, you will need to complete the necessary applications online through the ePermit System. A surveyor's site plan is preferable and may be required for certain projects. The site plan should include the following information: property boundaries of the site, the location of existing and proposed buildings or additions, the distances from the new construction to the property lines, the location and the widths of new driveways, and a drainage plan. New construction and additions must comply with zoning setback requirements. For new duplexes, a fire wall separation plan sheet will be needed. 

Permit Applications

Typically, a new single-family residence or duplex will require the following permits and/or approvals:

  • Building Permits (Catawba County Building Services)
  • Residential Zoning and Grading Permit (City of Hickory Planning)
  • Erosion Control Affidavit (City of Hickory Engineering) / Erosion Control Plan (Catawba County Erosion Control)
  • Public Water Tap (City of Hickory Public Utilities) / Well Permit (Catawba County Environmental Health)
  • Public Sewer Tap (City of Hickory Public Utilities) / Septic System Permit (Catawba County Environmental Health)

Additions to existing residences and accessory structures, such as garages and storage sheds, may require some or all of the above. The Permit Center is available to answer questions and assist you in being prepared to apply for the permits you need. You can reach them at (828) 323-7410.

Building and Trade Permits

If the project involves electrical, plumbing, heating or air-conditioning work, additional permits will be required. In most cases the electrical, plumbing, heating or air-conditioning contractor will obtain these permits by directly contacting Catawba County Building Services at (828) 465-8399.

Erosion and Sedimentation Control

Erosion and sedimentation control are required regardless of the size of the land disturbance. The law requires land developers to prevent erosion and off site sedimentation on all disturbed areas. If one (1) acre or more is disturbed, an erosion and sedimentation control plan must be filed with the Catawba County Erosion and Sedimentation Control Division thirty (30) days prior to beginning work. For more information, please contact Catawba County Erosion and Sedimentation Control at (828) 465-8161 or the City of Hickory Engineering Division at (828) 323-7416.

Water and Sewer Service

If a water and/or sewer tap is needed for a new or existing residence, you may apply and pay your fees at the Collections Division located on the 2nd floor of City Hall. For further information, call Billing & Collections/Customer Service at (828) 323-7424. A connection to public water and sewer is generally required for new development, unless a connection is not available or feasible. Annexation is generally required for connections to the city's sewer system. If public water and sewer service is not available to the property, you will need to obtain well and septic tank permits from Catawba County Environmental Health.

Locally Designated Historic Properties

A Certificate of Appropriateness is required prior to exterior renovations, additions, or new construction to a property that has been locally designated as a historic property. Further information regarding historic designations can be found on the Historic Preservation Commission's webpage or by contacting the Planning and Development Division at (828) 323-7422.

Floodplain Development

Properties that are located within the floodplain subject to a one percent (1%) or greater chance of being flooded in any given year, more commonly known as the one hundred (100) year floodplain, are subject to the regulations in the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. Development within the floodplain will require a Floodplain Permit Application and plans indicating compliance with the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. If you have questions regarding the ordinance or development within the floodplain, please contact the Planning and Development Division at (828) 323-7422 and ask to speak with the Floodplain Administrator.

Key Documents

One and Two Family Permit Review Flow Chart
Residential Setbacks and Minimum Lot Sizes