You need a construction permit to remodel or add onto your building, whether it is a single-family house, multifamily building, or a commercial or industrial building. New structures that are accessory to an existing house, such as a backyard cottage, are considered additions.
Examples of common projects are adding a second floor, creating another living unit in your home, or remodeling a building for a new business.
Fees are based on the value of your project. You pay approximately 75 percent of your fee when you submit your plans and the rest when you pick up your permit. Use our fee estimator to estimate how much your permit will cost. We will also charge hourly fees for certain reviews, such as drainage and geotechnical; see our Fee Subtitle for details.
We try to finish our initial review of simple permit applications in 2-3 weeks and complex permits in 8 weeks.
How long it takes to get the final permit depends on how complex your project is and how many corrections, if any, you need to make.
If you have a small project, you may be able to get a same-day permit called a subject-to-field-inspection permit.
Get your property information. Find property information to help you plan your project.
Determine restrictions to your project. Research our codes to determine building size limits and construction and life / safety requirements.
Find incentives for your project. Research the City's different incentives that might apply to your project.
Determine if you need a land use permit. If your project is not a single-family building, you might need a Land Use / Master Use Permit. We need 4 to 8 months (or more) to review land use permits, which must be submitted before you submit your construction permit application.
Attend a coaching session. We offer 20 minutes of free coaching at the Applicant Services Center to answer drainage, land use, geotechnical or construction permit questions. If you need a longer coaching session, we offer one-hour sessions for a fee.
Get a project number. Get a project number by starting your application online or by submitting a preliminary application form. You will need to include a preliminary site plan or location plan with the form. You can use the number to track your project.
Request a pre-application site visit. You need a pre-application site visit if you will disturb more than 750 square feet of land or disturb any land on a site with an environmentally critical area (other than liquefaction or peat-settlement prone areas). Request a pre-application site visit online or submit a pre-application site visit form. Our report will include information about your site conditions and any additional requirements.
Request a pre-submittal conference (optional). We recommend pre-submittal conferences for very complex projects, including buildings with unusual structural systems, substantial alterations, or work in environmentally critical areas or shorelines. One-hour pre-submittal conference fees vary based on the type of conference you need.
Apply for exemptions. You may need an exemption if your project is located in an environmentally critical area or near the shoreline.
Prepare your plans. Plans should be to scale and easy to read and scan.
Fill out forms.
Coordinate with other agencies. You may need permits or approvals from other agencies. These are the most common agencies you may need to work with for your permit type:
Get your project screened. We screen your application to make sure it is ready to submit. Screening is available on a walk-in basis at the Applicant Services Center.
Schedule an intake appointment. Call (206) 684-8850 to schedule an intake appointment at the Applicant Services Center, or schedule an electronic appointment. You may schedule an appointment without screening if you are a consistently prepared applicant with a rating of 80 percent or better.
Pay fees. Approximately 75 percent of your permit fees are due at intake. The fees are calculated based on your project value.
Make corrections and resubmit your plans. Your project reviewer will send you a corrections letter if changes are needed.
Pick up or print permit. You will be contacted when your plans are approved. You can pick up your permit and approved plans at the permit issuance counter in the Applicant Service Center. If you submitted your plans electronically, you can print your permit and approved plans from your DPD Project Portal.
Pay fees. You will need to pay all outstanding fees to pick up or print your permit.
Get related permits. You may need to get additional permits or approvals from other departments.
Request an inspection. See the construction inspections page for when to call us and how to schedule your inspection.
Receive your certificate of occupancy. You only need a certificate of occupancy if you have changed the use of, or number of residences in, your building. Single-family and duplex projects never need a certificate of occupancy; you just need a final "approved" inspection for your project.
Close your permit. Your permit information will be archived in our electronic document management system.