A single-family garage is used to park a car and store items; it may be in a building separate from a house or it may be attached to a house.
Construction permit - subject-to-field-inspection. Most new and remodeled garages require only a subject-to-field-inspection permit. To qualify, your garage needs to be 750 square feet or less, a single story without a roof deck, and with beams spanning 14 feet or less. We issue subject-to-field-inspection permits over the counter, typically on the day you apply.
Construction permit - addition or alteration. If your project doesn’t quality for a subject-to-field-inspection permit, you will need an addition or alteration permit. If your garage will be located in an environmentally critical area (such as a steep slope or creek) or if you need to dig an area over 750 square feet for your garage’s construction (including any driveway or other paved area), you need to schedule a pre-application site visit and we may have additional requirements.
Electrical or plumbing permit. You may also need to get an electrical permit or plumbing permit if your garage will be wired for electricity or have a sink. You may also need to apply for electrical service changes or new services from Seattle City Light.
Our Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) and Environmentally Critical Area Code limit the size and placement of your garage.
The combined footprint of your structures (including new garage), covered areas, and decks 36 inches or more above the ground can’t exceed a certain percentage of your lot size. That percentage depends upon your property’s land use zone.
In single-family zones, we limit the total coverage of all structures to 35 percent of the lot area (on lots 5,000 square feet or larger) or 1,000 square feet plus 15 percent of the lot area (on lots smaller than 5,000 square feet).
You usually can’t put a garage within the front 20 feet or the side 5 feet of your property. You may place your garage in your rear yard (within the last 25 feet or the rear 20 percent of your lot’s depth, whichever is less), but we limit its size and height.
If your garage will be located in an environmentally critical area, additional restrictions will apply. Please visit the Applicant Services Center for coaching.
Your garage will also need to meet our building code requirements. For subject-to-field-inspection permits, we check those requirements when we inspect your project during construction. For addition or alteration permits, we check them during our review of your construction plans.
Garage drawings rarely require a professional stamp from an architect or engineer. You may prepare the drawings yourself or hire a professional to help you.