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Research a Project

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Find Property Information & Permit History

Researching the permit history of a property can be complicated - or fairly simple - depending on what information you are looking for.

Finding information often requires consulting multiple resources. Many data and documents are available to you through online tools available on the SDCI Resources page. To help you better navigate our research options, this page consolidates SDCI property and permit information resources.

To start, you need to first identify the time frame (e.g., active permit versus older permits) and the types of site information you are looking for. Click on the expandable headings below to learn how to research options for each criteria.

Know What Active Project You’re Looking For?

Shaping Seattle allows you to enter an address, project number, or browse a map to find the site or area that you are interested in and see what permit activity is underway. This tool is helpful if you'd like to view multiple permits within a geographic area or are unsure of the address or project number. You can also quickly review the project description, learn the permit stage, identify related permits, and access most documents.  

Important note: Most construction plans (including trade, side sewer, electrical, etc.) from 2007-present are not listed but are available via request. For security reasons, access to approved construction plans must be accompanied by an individually-written request. For a copy of approved building plans associated with an issued permit, send your request, including the permit number and project address, to the microfilm library (SCI_Microfilm@seattle.gov). We will send the plans to you by email. Please note that construction plans for certain buildings, including jails and infrastructure facilities, are not available to the public.    

Know What Active Project You’re Looking For?

With an address or project number, you can access the SDCI permit tracking system using the Seattle Services Portal to find all permit activity from 2005 to present, including the: 

  • Applicant team 
  • Project description 
  • Permit status 
  • Inspection status 
  • Related permits 
  • Project documents, including plans, application materials, comment letters, and technical reports 

On the Seattle Services Portal home page, click on Search All Records and enter an address or record number. Once you get your results, you can sort them alphabetically or numerically by clicking on the column title. The links under the Record Number column title will take you to all the information available through the Seattle Services Portal. 

Important note: Most construction plans (including trade, side sewer, electrical, etc.) from 2007-present are not listed but are available via request. For security reasons, access to approved construction plans must be accompanied by an individually-written request. For a copy of approved building plans associated with an issued permit, send your request, including the permit number and project address, to the microfilm library (SCI_Microfilm@seattle.gov). We will send the plans to you by email. Please note that construction plans for certain buildings, including jails and infrastructure facilities, are not available to the public.    

Are you looking for characteristics associated with a site, such as zoning or environmentally critical areas? If so, please visit the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections GIS map 

On this map, you can enter an address or zoom to the point on the map you are interested in and select the informational layer(s) you would like to view. Available layers include: 

  • Zoning 
  • Environmentally critical areas 
  • Urban centers and villages 
  • Parcel boundaries 
  • Shoreline environments 
  • Other GIS overlays 

Click on the help icon (?) on the upper right-hand bar on the map for more details on how to navigate the site.  

Are you trying to do custom research using permits numbers, date, and descriptions for activity on a site, on current or historical projects? Please visit the Seattle Open Data Land Use Permits Map and Land Use Permits Dataset or the Building Permit Map and Building Permit Dataset

On these open data maps, you can enter an address or zoom to the point on the map you are interested in and then click the dots associated with that site. If there is a lengthy history of permitting on a site, these maps may be difficult to navigate. 

The land use and building permit datasets include all permitting data from 2005 in a data view. These datasets are helpful if you are doing extensive research on permitting trends. You can download a spreadsheet to manipulate the data. You can also contact the Seattle Open Data team to get help setting up an API if you need one for your research project. 

Are you looking for the legal description, parcel number, year built, tax and sales history of a site, or related attributes of an existing building as recorded by the County? Visit the King County Department of Assessments Parcel Viewer. You can search by address or parcel number, or zoom in on the map and click on a parcel. Once a parcel is selected, you will get direct links to the King County Assessor’s Property Report and details. 

Are you looking for land use plans, permits, inspection reports, or historic records for any permit past or present? Please visit Permit and Property Records, SDCI’s online public-facing document library. You can search this tool by address or record number. SDCI is conducting a multi-year process of scanning all plans and permits into the electronic library; the following list shows what is currently available. 

  • Land use plans and projects from 2007-present.  
  • All permits and inspections from 2005-present. 
  • All of the oldest permits (from approximately 1894 to 1970) and microfiche permits (1970-2004), except roll film, have been scanned and are accessible from the Permit and Property Records page. You will find your results under the Historical Microfilm Permit title.  

Important notes:

  • Multiple documents may be scanned under a single Historical Microfilm Permit title. You will need to open each link to review the contents.
  • The date listed for each Historical Microfilm Permit is the date of the scanned upload, not the date associated with the contents of that scan. 

If what you are searching for is not included in the list above, nor in the Seattle Services Portal, please review the Find Historic Records (Pre-2004) section of this page. You may also contact the Microfilm Library directly at SCI_Microfilm@seattle.gov for assistance. Many addresses are different today than they were in the past. The library can help you find where those records are stored. 

Important note: Most construction plans (including trade, side sewer, electrical, etc.) from 2007-present are not listed but are available via request. For security reasons, access to approved construction plans must be accompanied by an individually-written request. For a copy of approved building plans associated with an issued permit, send your request, including the permit number and project address, to the microfilm library (SCI_Microfilm@seattle.gov). We will send the plans to you by email. Please note that construction plans for certain buildings, including jails and infrastructure facilities, are not available to the public.    

You can also order paper copies of documents for a per-page printing cost, plus postage. Please visit the Microfilm Library webpage for current prices. 

Are you looking for side sewer lateral maps, aerial photographs, and side sewer cards? Please visit the Side Sewer Cards and Maps search tool. You can search by the address, parcel, or card number. 

Find active complaints or violations on ourShaping Seattle: Property & Building Complaint map. To dive deeper on complaints from a data-based map or dataset, visit the Seattle Open Data Code Complaints and Violations Map and Code Complaints and Violations Dataset. 

Find active rental registrations on ourShaping Seattle: Rental Housing Registrations map.To dive deeper on rental registration information from a data-based map or dataset, visit the Seattle Open Data Rental Property Registration Map and Rental Property Registration Dataset. 

Is the address you are using bringing back limited or unexpected results? It could be because the address has changed over time. Parcels and/or buildings may have been divided or large sites with multiple buildings may have had different approaches for assigning addresses over time. Permits may be filed under those different addresses. Often, old addresses are “retired” and new addresses are assigned as these changes occur. For more information on the addressing work conducted by SDCI and the City, please see Tip 130: Addressing Review. 

To find all possible addresses for a site, visit the Seattle Parcel Data site. You can enter an address to get a list of Addresses Located at this Parcel in the top expandable menu drop-down section.  

If you do not have an address or are unsure about an address, use an online map application, such as Google maps, to zoom to the site of interest. Once you identify the property, you can click on the site and the pin drop will identify the current address. 

If you are running into difficulties or suspect that there are documents that you are unable to access, please see the Historic Records section below. You can also contact the Microfilm Library (SCI_Microfilm@seattle.gov) for help finding those records, and we’ll assist you any way we can. 

For historic records not found in any of the resources listed above, contact the Microfilm Library. The SDCI Microfilm Library maintains an extensive collection of records that are being digitized and stored electronically. Our microfilm documents provide historical permit information and are filed by address. Below is a list of site information contained in our Microfilm Library and scanning project status updates:  

  • Microfiche permits from 1970-2004.
    Scanning Project Status Winter 2022: Uploading files from 1970-2004 is underway and expected to be completed in 2023.   
    • Deed / property abstracts until around 1980-1985, stored by legal description. 
      Scanning Project Status Winter 2022: Scanned and available upon request. 
      • Construction plans for commercial, multifamily, and institutional structures from about 1900-2007.  
        Scanning Project Status Winter 2022: Construction plans are currently being scanned. 
        • Construction plans for single-family, duplex, or triplex structures are on fiche beginning around 1974 or 1975.  
          Scanning Project Status Winter 2022: Construction plans are currently being scanned. 
          • Land use projects plans before 2007 may not have been available on microfilm. Please contact the Microfilm Library for assistance. 
            Scanning Project Status Winter 2022: We will scan these in a future phase of the scanning project.   
            • Roll film permits from 1894 through 1970.
              Scanning Project Status Winter 2022: Scanned and available upon request.

            It is best to contact the Microfilm Library directly if you are unable to find something in the Seattle Services Portal or in SDCI’s Permit and Property Records. Many addresses are different today than they were in the past, and the library can help you find where those records are stored. When in doubt, contact SCI_Microfilm@seattle.gov and we’ll assist you any way we can. 

            AADU or attached accessory dwelling unit: An AADU is a room or set of rooms designed and established by permit to be a separate dwelling unit. AADUs can be located in a single-family home in the neighborhood residential NR3, NR2, and NR1 and neighborhood residential small lot (RSL) zones. In the RSL zone they can also be located in a principal dwelling of an apartment unit, carriage or cottage house, rowhouse, or townhouse. In the low-rise (LR) zones, AADUs can be located in a single-family home, rowhouse, or townhouse unit. AADUs must include living, sleeping, kitchen, and bathroom facilities, have a lockable entrance door, and be located within the same structure as a principal or primary dwelling unit. 

            DADU or detached accessory dwelling unit: A DADU is a type of accessory dwelling unit consisting of a room or set of rooms designed and established by permit to be a separate dwelling unit. DADUs share a lot with a single-family home in NR3, NR2, and NR1 zones, any principal unit in an RSL zone, or with a single-family home, rowhouse, or townhouse in a low-rise zone. DADUs must include living, sleeping, kitchen, and bathroom facilities and have a lockable entrance door. 

            DAP or discrete address point: The DAP or discrete address point / master address file / common placename layer of the City’s GIS was created to relate various City departments’ definitions of “address” to a specific point or set of points. Each address corresponds to a unique point described geographically in the GIS as an X/Y coordinate. The DAP is the X/Y coordinate with a list of relevant addresses and common place names as contributed by City of Seattle departments. 

            Development site or dev site: A development site is one or more lots within the City of Seattle boundaries comprised of the development’s area to which certain standards are applied for the land use, building, and electrical code (at a minimum). A development site may already exist from prior permitting or may be created through a platting or building permit process. An existing development site is required before submitting a permit application or early design review application.  

            GIS or geographic information system: GIS at the City comprises mapping technologies that enable users to analyze and understand spatial relationships among things that exist and occur in a given location. See Development Site Permitting Guidelines for more information.  

            Microfiche: Microfiche includes SDCI’s historical records from 1970-2003. 

            Parcel: A piece of land representing a tax parcel in King County for assessment purposes. Each parcel in King County is uniquely identified by a parcel number (also referred to as PIN - Parcel Identification Number). This is a 10-digit alpha-numeric number and corresponds to the first 10 characters of a property tax account number.  

            Roll film: Roll film consists of the historical records from 1894-1970 that preceded microfiche. 

            Record or record number: In our system, all project, permits, and code enforcement projects are called “records” and are assigned a “record number.” Each SDCI record number ends with a suffix to indicate the type of record. For example, 6700737-CN is a construction permit and 010678-18CP is a complaint. See What does my SDCI record number suffix mean? for the complete list of suffixes and associated record types. 

            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.