A design professional’s seal and signature are generally required, on plans for all commercial construction projects (NC General Statute 83A-13(c) 1-6. This requirement is subject to the exceptions listed in NC General Statute 83A-13(c1):
((c) Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to require an architectural license for the preparation, sale, or furnishing of plans, specifications and related data, or for the supervision of construction pursuant thereto, where the building, buildings, or project involved is in one of the following categories:
(1) A family residence, up to eight units attached with grade level exit, which is not a part of or physically connected with any other buildings or residential units;
(2) A building upon any farm for the use of any farmer, unless the building is of such nature and intended for such use as to substantially involve the health or safety of the public;
(3) An institutional or commercial building if it does not have a total value exceeding two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000);
(4) An institutional or commercial building if the total building area does not exceed 3,000 square feet in gross floor area;
(5) Alteration, remodeling, or renovation of an existing building that is exempt under this section, or alteration, remodeling, or renovation of an existing building or building site that does not alter or affect the structural system of the building; change the building's access or exit pattern; or change the live or dead load on the building's structural system. This subdivision shall not limit or change any other exemptions to this Chapter or to the practice of engineering under Chapter 89C of the General Statutes;
(6) The preparation and use of details and shop drawings, assembly or erection drawings, or graphic descriptions utilized to detail or illustrate a portion of the work required to construct the project in accordance with the plans and specifications prepared or to be prepared under the requirements or exemptions of this Chapter.
(c1) Notwithstanding subdivisions (c)(3) and (4) of this section, a commercial building project with a total value of less than two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) and a total project area of less than 3,000 square feet shall be exempt from the requirement for a professional architectural seal.
The Boards governing the practice of Architecture and Engineering in North Carolina have also published a comprehensive brochure clarifying their position on this topic.