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In general, permits are required to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert, or demolish any building or structure. Here are some of the typical exemptions from building permits:
Keep in mind that exemption from a building permit does not grant exemption from any other requirements of the code, and you may still be required to obtain permits from other City departments. For a list of all permit exemptions, refer to the 2015 International Residential and Building Codes.
Whether built on site or delivered, all structures require a permit unless otherwise exempt. All portions of the structure must be inspected and all building code requirements must be met. Additionally, plans must be submitted for review prior to permit issuance.
Per the Washington State Building Code, work may not be started prior to obtaining a permit. Going through the permitting process is a valuable step in your project to help prevent any work from needing to be redone or removed if it does not meet the building code or any other City ordinances.
There are limited exceptions to work in cases of emergencies. Mechanical and plumbing work that must be completed to prevent damage to the building or may cause an unsafe condition, such as no heat during winter months, is permitted to be started prior to permit issuance provided that the required permits are applied for the next working day.
In general, Washington State laws permit owners of properties to do their own work. For additional information contact the
You may apply online for building, plumbing, mechanical, and combination permits. Go to the Citizen Connect portal, create a user account, and follow the screen prompts to submit your application. Once we receive your online submittal, we will review it for completeness, then email you with payment instructions, including a link for online payments.
As applicable you must submit 2 sets of building plans, 3 sets of civil plans, and/or 3 sets of fire alarm or fire sprinkler plans.
Architects and engineers are required in accordance with State law. Architects are generally required to design projects where the area of work exceeds 4,000 square feet.
Engineers are required to design items not meeting the prescriptive requirements of the code where the practice of engineering is needed to demonstrate compliance, such as using a steel beam for a large wall opening in a house, roof trusses, or retaining walls. See
Many plumbing and mechanical permits are over-the-counter and can be issued the same day. For permits involving more extensive work such as the reconfiguration of space, additions, and new structures, a plan review must be completed prior to permit issuance. You should allow at least 2 weeks for plan review.
Most minor projects such as decks or room reconfigurations are completed within a week. You should plan on allowing at least 2 weeks for plan review for a new home or for additions and other major work.
Note: Additional review time is required for each resubmission of plans for required corrections or changes to plans.
Unfortunately, not all manufactured products meet the Washington State Building Code, depending on their application. Many manufacturers recommend that you check with your local building department for specific requirements before purchase. If you are unsure that a product will be acceptable for your application, check the reviewed plans, read the manufacturer’s instructions, or ask one of our building inspectors.
Our goal is to fulfill inspection requests the same day. To ensure we can get you on an inspector’s schedule or if a specific time is needed, it is recommended that requests be made the day before.