Frequently Asked Questions
What fees do you charge?
Our fees are set by Lancaster County Council by ordinance. Staff does not have the authority to waive or reduce fees.
Building valuation data for website.pdf Building Valuation data per square foot by Occupancy and Construction Type
Do I need a permit?
Generally a permit is required any time an owner or authorized agent intends to construct, enlarge, alter, move, repair, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure or to enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace and electrical, mechanical, or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by the codes, or to cause such work to be done.
You do not need a permit for:
- Fences under 7 ft. in height
- Sidewalks or driveways (may need a driveway encroachment permit from the local Public Works Department or South Carolina Department of Transportation.
- Swings or playground equipment
- Painting, papering, tiling carpeting, counter tops, cabinets and similar finish work
- Above ground swimming pools less than 24 inches deep
- Security Alarms
- Detached accessory structure less than 200 square foot will not require a building inspection.
- Retaining walls under 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or Class I, II or IIIa liquids.
- Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity is not greater than 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width
is not greater than 2:1
- Window awnings in Group R-3 and U occupancies, supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from
the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
- Nonfixed and moveable fixtures , cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches in height.
- Repairs and maintenance of a minor nature including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical
equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
- Radio and television transmitting station equipment does not require a permit, however servie and equipment to support such
equipment does require a permit.
- Portable heating appliances
- Replacement of any minor parts that do not alter the approval of such equipment nor render it unsafe.
- Portable heating, cooling or ventilation equipment or portable evaporative cooler
- Steam , heat or chilled water piping within in heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.
- Self contained refrigeration system containing 10 pounds or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of one hp or les
- The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe., provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drain pipe water,
soil waste or grain pipes becomes defective and it becomes necessary to replace the same with new material, such work shall be
considered as new work and a permit and inspection shall be obtained.
- The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valve or fixtures and the removal and reinstallation of water closets,
provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves
Do I need a contractor's license to do work?
The answer is a very definite ....maybe. If you are doing residential work in the house you live in and you own it, you do not have to be licensed. The State of South Carolina will even allow you to construct your own house without being licensed. However, you must agree to live in the house for a period of two years and to complete " Homewowners Exemption " form and file it with the Register of Deed, where it becomes part of the property record. Most other residential work that exceeds $200 in labor and materials or both requires a residential specialty license, which allows you to do up to 3 construction processes or a residential Builders license or a commercial builders license.
If you are doing commercial work, you must be licensed if the work exceeds $5,000 in other than Assembly or Educational occupancies
Please refer to the document attached for a list of other work that does not require a license.
No License Required For This Work
What kind of drawings do I need ?
Residential drawings should be of sufficient detail and clarity that any contractor should be able to take the drawings and construct the intended project. Drawings should include a footing/slab detail, wall sections showing floor system, wall section showing insulation, siding , roofing, a floor plan showing electrical , plumbing, and window sizes, as well as elevations showing how the building will look.
Where do I find Rescheck software?
Click here to access the Rescheck software site.
Where do I find Comcheck software?
How long will it take for my plan review?
Generally speaking, plan review times are determined by the number and complexity of plans which were submitted ahead of yours which still need to be reviewed. For residential plans, we try to complete them in 5 working days and for commercial plans , due to their complexity, 15 to 30 business days is probably routine, although it may take longer depending on complexity and the volume of plans ahead of yours. . Plans are reviewed in the order received. Commercial and Industrial projects are required to meet with the Technical Review Committee facilitated by the Development Service Coordinator. Contact (803) 416-9390 for information.
What type of inspections do I need?
Types of Residential Inspections:
Saw Pole— Due to changing requirements and the number of electrical providers, Lancaster County will no longer inspect construction saw pole installations. Upon issuance of a permit, at your request, our clerks will fax saw power connection to the appropriate utility. It is your responsibility to stay abreast of each utility’s requirements for saw poles. Lancaster County makes no claim for fitness nor any responsibility for power connection to saw poles. This is strictly between the contractor and the utility.
Footing—Footing inspection required after trenches have been excavated, forms and grade stakes have been erected, before concrete is placed. Note 12” to the bottom of the footing, 8” min. concrete thickness. Wooden grade stakes are not allowed to be used in the footings. Field soil reports are to be provided at this time.
Foundation—To be made when foundation wall has been completed and floor joists and plates are installed, but before floor is placed.
Plumb Under Slab—Required after the installation of all plumbing pipes to be in the slab. Tests must be on all DVW and water lines. Provide a 10 foot head on all DVW tests and a minimum pressure of 100 psi on water supply lines.
Slab—Required after reinforcing and vapor retarder have been set and before any concrete is placed. Slope to the overhead door.
- Rough-In Plumbing—Required after all drain, waste, vent, and water distribution piping has been installed. Drain, waste, and vent shall be filled with water above the flood level rim of the highest fixture. Water piping shall be provided with water test at a minimum 100 PSI for a minimum of 30 minutes with no measurable loss at the time of the inspection. To be done in conjunction with other trades as "Rough In"
- Rough-In Mechanical—Required after duct work has been installed including: boots, returns, refrigerant lines and condensate line. Supply and return opening must be covered.
- To be done with other trades as Rough in.
- Rough-In Electrical—Required after all wiring has been pulled for ceiling fans, smoke detectors, switches, receptacles, and all other appliances. Service and electrical panel to be installed. To be done at Rough in.
- Rough-In Gas—Gas inspection with pressure test shall be by means of a 30 PSI gauge with a test pressure of 10 PSI + or - 1 psi. showing on the gauge. To be done with other trades as Rough in.
- Rough-In—Required to be made with the rough-in plumbing, mechanical, and electrical inspections. Truss drawings bearing the engineer’s stamp must be provided on-site for the inspector’s review Typed final soil reports must be provided at this time.
Insulation—Required after insulation has been installed in sidewalls and other areas that will be concealed but prior to the installation of wall coverings. Blown insulation need not be placed in the attic at this time but bafles should be installed.
Temporary Power and Gas—After the structure has received wall covering, the contractor may “make up” receptacles, switches and light fixtures or wire nut and securely tape switches, receptacles and light fixtures. The general aim is to prevent accidental shock. The service and electrical panels are to be made up. The gas line is to be bonded if using Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) per manufacturers specifications.
Final—Required the building has been completed, the yard graded and grass sown or sod placed according to subdivision agreements. If no agreement exists, yard is to be graded and seed and straw placed. Building address is to be displayed at the road/drive interface. Building should be in “move in “ condition. Electrical panels are to have typed directories. 6 mil poly placed in crawlspace. A side hinged crawl space access door is required large enough to remove any HVAC equipment in crawlspace or 18 inches by 24 inches if no equipment is present. A "Duct Blaster" test is required before the Certificate of Occupancy will be issued.
Can I request inspections online?
Our Contractors portal is up and running !!!! You may now schedule your inspections online and receive the results of your inspection via email , your smartphone or tablet ! Go to Evolve. Please remember to request inspections no later than 3 pm on the business day prior to the day you need the inspection.
How long are records kept?
Record retention is regulated by the SC Code of Laws. You may view the retention schedule at the SC Archives website. Any records in our possession with the exception of copyrighted drawings are available through a Freedom of Information request. We are prohibited from making copies of copyrighted house plans by copyright laws of the United States. If you require copies of copyrighted drawings, you should contact the builder or design professional who created the drawings.
Record Retention Policy