New construction and most alterations of multifamily buildings will require plan review as part of the construction permit approval process. If your project is minor in nature, please refer to CAM 316, Subject-to-Field-Inspection Permits, to determine whether your project qualifies for a Subject-to-Field-Inspection (STFI) Permit.
Applying for a Construction Permit
DPD’s goal is to provide you with assistance in advance of your application submittal, so that the application materials are complete and accurate, reducing the need for correction cycles that will delay approval.
Step 1. Coaching
Coaching is not required, but is available for all applicants to ensure unique or particular issues are identifi ed with your proposed project. It is important to receive coaching fi rst from a land use planner to determine what is allowed on your property, what development standards apply, whether your project will require a land use permit, and what the permit process will entail. During coaching, you can explain your project to a DPD planner, who will then help you identify whether any land use permits will be required for your project. The number of dwelling units, the total square footage of the proposed building(s), the amount of parking, and the zoning of the property are primary factors in determining whether SEPA review, shoreline review, design review, and other discretionary reviews will be required for your project. Except for unit lot subdivision permits, most land use permit approvals must be obtained before a construction permit can be approved for your project. It is important to fi nd out early whether your project will need a land use permit, as this will affect the timing of the overall permitting process. In general, land use permits can take 4-8 months to review, sometimes longer depending on the project complexity.
Related information to assist you in determining whether your project requires a land use permit:
- CAM 208, When Environmental Review is Required in Seattle
- CAM 209, Master Use Permit Application Requirements for Shoreline Permits
- CAM 210, Master Use Permit Requirements for Variances
Once you have talked to a land use planner, we recommend that you sign up to speak to a permit specialist or permit leader for information about the construction permit process.
DPD staff can identify the specifi ccode and application requirements for your project, as well as outline the permit process and estimate the permit fees. In order to address all issues, questions and concerns, you may need more than one coaching visit.
No appointment or fee is necessary for coaching, which is available to the public in the DPD Applicant Services Center (location & hours). The busiest times for coaching are between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when wait times often exceed 1 hour.
Pre-submittal conferences are another form of coaching that are available by appointment only. Because of limited staff resources, these conferences are intended to serve the applicant who has already gone through coaching, and has follow-up questions about interpreting complex code or technical requirements. Requests for Pre-submittal conferences are screened to ensure that the issues to be discussed are beyond general questions that can be answered through the coaching process.
Pre-submittal conferences, both land use and construction, with a land use planner are required for multifamily or commercial projects that trigger the design review process (see CAM 238, Design Review: General Information, Application Instructions, and Submittal Requirements). Pre-submittal conferences are also required for highrise structures and buildings that include an atrium (see CAM 318, Building Code Pre-design/Code Interpretation Conferences). Information on how to schedule a pre-submittal conference can be obtained during coaching in the ASC.
Step 2. Research & Prepare a Preliminary Site Plan for Your Proposed Project
The preliminary site plan should be prepared according to the standards outlined in CAM 103, Site Plan Requirements, and CAM 103A, Site Plan Guidelines, and should convey where your structure(s) will be located, the amount of other impervious surfaces, the general topography of your site, and the existing level of street and alley improvements in the right-of-ways abutting your site. If there is an existing buried oil tank on the site that must be removed, a permit is needed. For more information, read the Seattle Fire Department's Administrative Rule 34.02.04, Decommissioning Residential Heating Oil Tanks. Two copies of the preliminary site plan will be needed for Step 3.
Step 3. Submit a DPD Preliminary Application Package to the Applicant Services Center
Once you know for sure that you will build a multifamily or commercial project on a site in Seattle, you should submit a DPD Preliminary Application package available on the DPD Forms website. A separate package is required for any required land use permits, in addition to the construction permit.