Message From the Director

Nathan Torgelson, SDCI DirectorI am honored to serve as the director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections under the leadership of Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. My commitment is to carry out the Mayor's progressive vision for a more affordable, inclusive, and vibrant Seattle.

SDCI is committed to an anti-racist work environment. We made strides this year creating an Anti-racist Taskforce and continuing the critical work of the Race and Social Justice Change Team. We implemented pay equity in SDCI for non-represented positions through a commitment to provide equal compensation for work in the same classification. Data showed that there were disparate impacts for BIPOC and female identifying employees in pay in these positions. We have started forums for BIPOC employees and for white allies to discuss how we can advance an anti-racist work environment. The pandemic and the civil rights reckoning has been a wakeup call and has given us a platform to advance this work with focused purpose.

During the pandemic, the Accela online permitting platform has allowed us to seamlessly accept, review, and issue permits with so many staff working remotely. Hats off to employees who are out working in community or continue to come into the office to complete work that cannot be done remotely.

The City of Seattle is closely tracking COVID before determining when our Applicant Service Center (ASC) can reopen. The earliest we anticipate opening is 2Q 2022. We are currently exploring how we can provide ASC services virtually rather than just via email or over the phone. We are thinking hard about how we can provide even better customer service through various virtual tools. We know many of you miss face-to-face interaction with City staff, but many of you would prefer to ask questions virtually rather than come downtown.

In the meantime, our Design Review board and public meetings will continue virtually, which allow you to comment and follow specific projects from the comfort of your homes. Also, our Shaping Seattle map is back and is better than ever! It includes code compliance cases and all active development projects in Seattle - including but not limited to Design Review projects. We will soon be adding information to the Shaping Seattle about all the properties registered under our Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance Program.  

We continue to work in partnership with multiple City departments on implementing the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) requirements to ensure that everyone can have a home in Seattle. At SDCI we make sure affordable housing permit applications get top priority. We also oversee a variety of tenant protections to make sure that renters in Seattle have a safe place to live. Our Renting in Seattle web portal and (206) 684-5700 phone number is a one-stop resource for renters and landlords. With Council passage of the revised regulations to promote more development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and detached accessory dwelling units (DADUs), we have introduced ten standard DADU plans which will significantly expedite their permitting process. For our residents in Seattle who want to better understand a proposed project or policy change, or understand how to file a code complaint, please check our What's Happening in Your Neighborhood webpage to help you better navigate our web presence. A majority of our work involves the construction, inspection, and use of buildings and lands, but it's the people who live and work in and use those buildings and land that drive our purpose. We're here to help our customers and the people who live and work in our city navigate our complex regulatory process. 

I appreciate your patience as we continue to experience robust permitting activity, despite COVID. 

Our purpose statement is our commitment to you: Helping people build a safe, livable, and inclusive Seattle.

Our values are equity, respect, quality, integrity, and service.

Please let us know how we are doing. We welcome and value your input.

Nathan Torgelson, Director
(206) 684-0343

Annual Report

Our 2020 Annual Report covers our permitting activity, code compliance work, and department highlights.