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.
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.
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.
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.
Attend a coaching session. We offer 20 minutes of free coaching 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.
Get a project number. Get a project number by starting your application online or by submitting a preliminary application form. You will need to include a preliminary site plan with the form. You can use the number to track your project.
Request a pre-application site visit. If you submitted your preliminary application online, the site visit request was completed at the same time. You can also submit a hardcopy request form. Our site inspectors will visit your site and conduct a preliminary review of your project. At the same time, your project will be reviewed by us, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), City Light, and Seattle Public Utilities to identify major project requirements. You’ll get a preliminary assessment report with information about your site’s conditions, next steps, what to include in your plans, and what to provide at your intake appointment.
Note: If your project requires street improvements, 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.
Request a pre-submittal conference. We recommend pre-submittal conferences for very complex projects, including buildings with unusual structural systems, substantial alterations, or work in environmentally critical areas or shorelines. One-hour pre-submittal conference fees vary based on the type of conference you need.
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 and microfilm.
Fill out 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 on a walk-in basis at the Applicant Services Center.
Schedule an intake appointment. After your plans have passed screening, call (206) 684-8850 to schedule an intake appointment at the Applicant Services Center, or schedule an intake appointment online to submit electronically. You may schedule an appointment without screening if you are a consistently prepared applicant with a rating of 80 percent or better.
Pay fees. Approximately 75 percent of your permit fees are due at intake. The fees are calculated based on your project value.
Make corrections and resubmit your plans. Your project reviewer will send you a corrections letter if changes are needed.
Pick up or print permit. You will be contacted when your plans are approved. You can pick up your permit and approved plans at the permit issuance counter in the Applicant Service Center. If you submitted your plans electronically, you can print your permit and approved plans from your DPD Project Portal.
Pay fees. You will need to pay all outstanding fees to pick up or print your permit.
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.
Request an inspection. See the construction inspections page for when to call us and how to schedule your inspection.
Close your permit. After passing the final inspection, your permit information will be archived in our electronic document management system.