How to obtain a building or planning permit -

Permits for Building a House

Simple House Building / May 27, 2022

What Is It?

You need a construction permit to build a new single-family house or duplex. The construction permit does not cover specialty work that you will need to do, such as electrical, HVAC, plumbing, or side sewer.

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 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 the Fee Subtitle for details.

How Long Does It Take?

The time it takes to get your permit depends on how complex your project is, how many corrections you need to make to your plans, and how quickly and completely you respond to plan review comments. We try to finish our initial review of simple buildings (such as a typical new home) in about 2 weeks. If the building is large or structurally complex, our initial review will take about 8 weeks.

1. Research

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

Determine restrictions to your project. Research the codes to determine building size limits, setbacks, parking requirements, and life / safety requirements.

Find incentives for your project. Research the City's different incentives that might apply to your project.

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. You may want a longer coaching session if your project is complex, or if your property has an environmentally critical area. We offer one-hour coaching sessions for a fee.

2. Start Permit Application

Apply for a project number. Get a project number by starting your preliminary application online through your Project 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. (All new single family or duplex 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, 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 you haven't submitted these plans.

Apply for exemptions. You may need an exemption if your project is located in an environmentally critical area or near the shoreline.

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