Residential Building Permits

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When is a residential building permit required?

A building permit is required whenever you construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move or demolish a building or structure, or if you install or alter electrical, heating, air conditioning or plumbing equipment.

All projects, whether they need a permit or not, must comply with the adopted building codes and regulations and the Hilton Head Island Municipal Code.

Residential Building Permit Process

Step 1. Submit Application for Permit

Single Family Building Permit Application

Step 2. Plan Review

  1. Depending on your proposed project, plans will be reviewed by various divisions.
    • Types of reviews include planning and zoning, structural and fire.
    • The assigned reviewers check to see that your application is in compliance with the specific code or regulations. If the reviewer needs additional information you will be contacted with identified items required.
  2. Revise Plans for Corrections Needed
    • Complete and timely responses will speed up the re-review of the project.
    • If the revisions are complete, the reviewer will sign off and the project will move on in the process (see step 3).
    • If the reviewer needs additional information or has identified additional corrections they will request this information from you (return to steps 2 and 2a).

Step 3. Plans Approved, Permit Issued

  1. When all required reviews are approved, your permit will be in pre-issue status and you will be notified of your final fee total.
  2. After the balance is paid the plans submitter will be notified that the approved plans and permit are available for pick up.

Step 4. Inspections

  1. When you pick up your permit, you will receive an inspection card listing all of the inspections you will need during construction.
  2. Inspections can be scheduled online or by calling 843-341-4757.

Step 5. Certificate of Occupancy

After passing all inspections and submitting any requested final paperwork, you will receive a Certificate of Occupancy for new construction or a "Final" for other construction.

View our Community Development Application Process Table

What's Needed? (Submittal Requirements)

Site Plan Submittal

  • Three sets of site plans and building elevations for one and two family construction
  • A tree survey may be required, depending on extent of construction and location of site
  • Drawings must be drawn to scale indicating:
    • Setback, buffer and height requirements of the Land Management Ordinance (LMO)
    • All new construction including fences with boundaries of adjoining properties
    • Existing structures, if applicable
    • Spot grades or topographic lines to establish pre-construction grade
    • Total square footage of parcel and total square footage of impervious and pervious land
    • Mean Sea Level (MSL) height of first habitable floor
    • Floor to Floor height or MSL or each additional floor
    • Dimension top of roof and any roof feature
    • Required Base Flood Elevation if construction is in a flood hazard zone

Building Plan Submittal

  • Three sets of building plans
  • If you are building a new single family home, you are required to have a SC engineer stamp the plans. If you are constructing an addition or structural remodel, a SC engineer or SC architect must seal and stamp the plans.
  • Drawings must indicate:
    • Structural wall section showing total number of stories in building
    • Foundations
    • Floor plan
    • Electrical plan showing size of service and panel location
    • V zone certification, if applicable
    • Elevations

Codes, Design Requirements, Setbacks

Design Requirements

  • Wind design 140mph ultimate, ASCE 7-16
  • Seismic design C
  • Flood design ASCE 24-14


Setbacks are subject to Planning Division requirements based on the zoning district it is located.


Building permit fees are based on a comparison of the declared cost of construction and the minimum cost of construction as outlined by the International Code Council.

  • The fee is calculated using the higher of the two compared figures.

One & Two Family New Construction

Valuation Rate
$500 - 2,000 $35
$2,001 - 3,000 $38.50
$3,001 - 50,000 $38.50 plus $4.50 for each additional $1,000, or fraction of, up to $50,000
$50,001 and over $250 plus $3.50 for each additional $1,000, or fraction of, construction value

One & Two Family Miscellaneous Construction, Repairs, Renovations, or Additions

Valuation Rate
$0 - 1,000 $35
$1,001 - 2,000 $70
$2,001 - 3,000 $77
$3,001 - 50,000 $77 plus $9 for each additional $1,000, or fraction of, up to $50,000
$50,001 and over $500 plus $3.50 for each additional $1,000, or fraction of, construction value

Permit Expiration

  • A permit expires if work authorized is not started within six months of the date of issue or if work is abandoned or suspended for a period of six months.
  • If an extension is required, submit your request in writing indicating the reason for the delay in completion of the project.
  • Keep in mind that a structure cannot be occupied until a Certificate of Occupancy is issued for a new structure.


Contact the Community Development Information Center at or 843-341-4757