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About Construction Projects in North Carolina

Browse our North Carolina heavy equipment rental locations by city. BigRentz offers a wide variety of heavy equipment for rent, including earth moving machines, aerial equipment, lift trucks, compaction equipment, and job site services.

What You Need To Know

North Carolina is a state on the rise. Its population is growing faster than the national average. Its gross domestic product has also increased faster than any other U.S. states since 2013. Such strong growth has fuelled a local building boom.

Building Permits

You’ll need a building permit for most construction, renovation, or demolition jobs in North Carolina. You’ll usually get your permit from the planning department of the county you’re building in. Major cities like Raleigh handle their building permits.

To get a building permit, you’ll usually submit the following:

  • A completed application form
  • A set of building plans
  • An elevation certificate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (if you’re building in a floodplain)

You can’t build without a building permit. You may also need the following permit types before you can start work:

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Grading
  • Mechanical
  • Demolition
  • County floodplain development

Your project’s nature and complexity determine the permits you’ll need.

Soil Types

From the sandy Atlantic Coast to the rocky Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina has many soil types. Cecil soil is North Carolina’s most common soil. You’ll find it in more than 1.6 million acres in the state, including around the Piedmont region. Cecil soil comes from felsic, igneous, and metamorphic rock. It drains well and is very fertile. A type of Cecil soil, called Cecil clay, is found south of the Raleigh Durham metro area.

You’ll find sandhill soil, a loose, sandy soil, around the state’s Coastal Plain region. This is very different to the peaty organic soils found around the state’s wetlands and swamps.

The Right Equipment for the Job

Different soils suit different equipment. Inspect your site before hiring, so you have the right equipment for the job.

Forklifts and boom lifts love compact soil like Cecil clay. Cecil clay is firm but can become muddy after rain. Choose a boom lift with a crawler undercarriage or four-wheel drive train for muddy clay terrain.

While you can probably hire a standard manlift or scissor lift in Raleigh or Durham, the rocky soils around the Appalachian Mountains need specialized equipment. Choose rough terrain versions when building on a mountainous ground.

Building Licenses

You’ll need a building license to work on any project valued at $30,000 or more in North Carolina. Download the application form from the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors website. Applicants must pass the North Carolina contractor’s exam, or the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) accredited building exam.

Submit the following with your license application:

  • Three letters of reference
  • Financial statements
  • Proof you’ve passed the NASCLA exam if you’re not sitting the state exam

North Carolina has a reciprocity agreement with South Carolina and Tennessee. If you’ve passed the contractor’s exam in one of these states, you don’t need to pass the North Carolina exam.

North Carolina building licenses expire on Dec. 31.

Gathering the right permits and licenses takes time. You also need to understand North Carolina’s soils to get the right hire equipment. But put in the effort, and your local building business can thrive.

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