The Engineering Division is responsible for administrative and engineering services for the Department of Public Service and other departments in the city as required by code and policy. The main activities of the Engineering Division include:

  • Plan Reviews - The plan review section reviews proposed development plans to ensure adherence to requirements of the City Code related to public infrastructure, including streets and drainage issues.
  • Site and Utility-Work Inspections - Engineering inspectors ensure that approved projects and utility work in the rights of way are constructed according to the approved plans and permits.
  • Project Management - The project management section manages drainage improvement and some rights-of-way improvement projects within the city. The section has in-house engineering capabilities for small improvement or repair projects. Consultants and contractors are employed for major projects.


The Steel Plate policy was formally adopted by the Charleston City Council on April 23, 2013.

General Engineering Right-of-Way(ROW) Info/FAQ

  • A licensed contractor is required for any work that is completed in the city owned ROW.
  • All sidewalks, regardless of who maintains the street, are maintained by the City of Charleston and will need a permit for any work or blocking that is done.
  • When applying for a sidewalk blocking permit, the sidewalk does not need to be fully blocked if 36 inches of clearance from the work to the back of the curb can be maintained via ADA compliance.
  • Any portion of the driveway or sidewalk that is in the ROW must be standard broom finished concrete. 
    • If the applicant chooses another material, they will need to apply for and receive an issued Encroachment Agreement before the Engineering Permit may be issued.

Right-of-Way (ROW) Obstruction Definitions

  • Full sidewalk closure: The obstruction of a sidewalk such that no access is provided to the existing sidewalk for general pedestrian traffic. 
  • Auxiliary sidewalk closure (AUX): The obstruction of a sidewalk such that no access is provided to the existing sidewalk for general pedestrian traffic, but supplementary or alternative means such as cargo containers, scaffolding and temporarily constructed boardwalks/paths are provided to facilitate continued pedestrian movement through or adjacent to the obstructed sidewalk.
  • Partial Sidewalk closure: The obstruction or a sidewalk such that limited, ADA and PROWAG compliant access is provided to the existing sidewalk utilizing means such as barricades and traffic cones .

Types of Engineering Inspections

  • Engineering Review (formerly known as a Lot inspection):
    • Required documentation needed for this inspection:  Engineering Permit Application and a Site Plan.  Please be advised, the proposed work must be noted and shown on both documents.
    • Scheduled when work is ready to start; typically, the first engineering inspection after receiving an approved building permit.
    • Verifies if any drainage easements encroach onto the lot or if any structures are proposed to be installed within a drainage easement.
    • Verifies who maintains the drainage easement(s) encroaching onto the lot, the site plan for the lot matches the address on the permit, the proposed work matches on both the Engineering Permit Application and Site plan, and any/all drainage structures are marked on the site plan in accordance with the approved plans.
    •  Commercial inspections do not have Lot Inspections only Single Family Residential has Engineering Reviews.  
  • ROW (Right of Way) Inspection: 
    • Required documentation needed for this inspection:  Approved Engineering Permit Application and Site Plan.
    • Scheduled under the Engineering Permit when work in the City of Charleston’s Right of Way (ROW) is ready for inspection.  Examples of inspections include but are not limited to: formed concrete driveway apron, formed sidewalk, and/or formed concrete curb prior to concrete pour, storm drainage pipe for driveway installation/replacement, irrigation installation, and utility installation. 
    • Verifies formed board depths for sidewalks are 4 inches thick, driveway aprons are 6 inches thick, and concrete curb meets the required thickness per approved plans.  
  • Engineering Residential Final Inspection: 
    • Required documentation needed for this inspection:  Approved Building Permit, Approved Engineering Permit Application*, and Site Plan.
    • Scheduled once new residential construction is complete.
    • Verifies all structures are installed per approved plan, the lot is permanently stabilized, post construction cleanup is complete, the lot is graded correctly to provide positive drainage, and if there are any outstanding items remaining, these items have been addressed.
    • Inspection needed prior to issuance of a Certificate of Construction Completion.
    • Approved Engineering Application*: Please be advised, if you do not have the required documentation and/or required inspections, you will not be issued a Certificate of Construction Completion.  For example, if you only submit for a Building Permit for new residential construction and you needed an Engineering Permit for work taking place within the City of Charleston’s ROW, you must submit the required documentation for an Engineering Permit and schedule the required inspections.
    • If it has been determined by the City of Charleston, an Engineering Permit is not needed, an Engineering Residential Final Inspection is still required.