Construction Permit - New Building, Multifamily, Commercial, Mixed Use, or Industrial

What Is It?

You need a construction permit to build a new multifamily, commercial, mixed use, or industrial building. Learn how to get a building permit.

How Much Does It Cost?

Fees are based on the value of your project. You pay approximately 75 percent of your fee when you submit your plans. 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. All fees are subject to an additional technology fee. See our Fee Subtitle for details. Fees for Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) review of shoring and excavation near a right-of-way, if applicable for your project, will be collected directly by SDOT.

How Long Does It Take?

We try to finish our initial review in 8 weeks. How long it takes to get your permit depends on how complex your project is, how many corrections you need to make, and the completeness of your correction responses. We recommend planning for 4 weeks per correction cycle, with an average of 2 correction cycles. After all of our reviews are complete and approved, allow an additional 6 business days for final review and preparation.

Steps to Get Your Permit

Get your property information. Find property information to help you plan your project

Determine restrictions to your project. Research the Land Use Code to determine allowable uses, building size limits, setbacks, and parking requirements; research the Seattle Building Code (SBC) to determine construction and life/safety requirements.

Research Stormwater Code requirements. We may require a drainage review of your project. You need to determine whether stormwater requirements apply to your project to submit a complete and accurate application. 

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. Find out early if your project will need a land use permit in addition to a construction permit. We need four to eight months (or more) to review land use permits. You must submit your land use permit for review before you submit your construction permit application.

Attend a coaching session. We offer 20 minutes of free video coaching through the Applicant Services Center to answer drainage, land use, geotechnical, or construction permit questions. If you need a longer session with a land use planner or a geotechnical engineer, we offer one-hour sessions for a fee.

Start your application. Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services Portal. You will need to upload a site plan and a complete legal description for your site. You'll receive an email once we have added the pre-application site visit (PASV) fees to your project. (Most projects require a PASV.) After you have paid the fee, we will perform the inspection. Your preliminary application materials will be sent to other departments for their review and comment as part of this process.

Review your preliminary application report. You will receive a preliminary application report that will include critical information about whether you need Design Review, SEPA, or street improvements. Our report will include information from the utilities about your specific site and proposal. Our report will also identify potential project stoppers.

Note: If your project requires street improvements, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) may require you to submit plans to them at least 5 days before your permit intake appointment. We will not accept your project at intake if SDOT doesn't accept your plans.

Request a pre-submittal conference. You need to attend a construction pre-submittal conference for high-rises and buildings with atriums. We also recommend pre-submittal conferences for complex projects, including buildings with unusual structural systems, work in environmentally critical areas (ECA) or shorelines, or zoning complications. Pre-submittal conference fees vary depending on the type of conference selected.

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.

Complete 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  through your Seattle Services Portal. You may schedule an appointment without screening if you wish, but we recommend you have your project screened if you haven't submitted many applications.

Schedule an intake appointment. Schedule an electronic intake appointment through the Seattle Services Portal. You must upload all application documents by 7:00 a.m. on the day of your appointment. You do not need to be onsite during your intake appointment. However, you do need to be available for questions. We may call or email you on your appointment day for more information.

Tip: Submit your completed application early to be eligible for an earlier appointment in case of a cancellation. Once you submit your application, we'll add your project to The Intake Express Lane. This means your application will likely be taken in well ahead of your scheduled appointment. We can usually take in your application within 2-3 weeks after you upload your complete application. For more information, read How Can I Get in the Intake Express Lane?

Pay fees. Approximately 75 percent of your permit fees are due at intake. Fees are calculated based on your project value.

Make corrections and resubmit your plans. Once all of our reviews are done, you will receive an email telling you that corrected and/or additional documents can be uploaded into your portal. Your project may require multiple correction rounds before our reviews are complete.

Pay final fees. We will notify you to pay any final fees before we issue your permit.

Print your permit. We will notify you when we have issued your permit and the documents are available in your Seattle Services Portal. Print the permit and approved plan set and have it on site for our inspector.

Display your permit. Place your permit in a visible location on the project site.

Get related permits. You may need to get additional permits or approvals from other departments.

Renew your permit. Your permit is valid for 18 months after the issue date. If your project is taking longer than that, you need to apply for a renewal.

Request an inspection. See the construction inspections page for when to call us and how to schedule your inspection.

Get special inspections. If we assigned special inspections as part of your permit, some parts of your project will need to be inspected by a special inspector during construction. See the special inspections page for more details.

Receive your certificate of occupancy.

Close out Special Inspections for your project. See the Special Inspections page for information on how to submit a final letter to us for review.

Close your permit. After passing the final inspection, your permit information will be archived in our electronic document management system.

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.