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.
Research Stormwater Code requirements. We may require a drainage review of your project. You need to determine whether stormwater requirements apply to your project to submit a complete and accurate application.
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.
Start your application. Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services 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.
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.
Prepare your plans. Plans should be to scale and easy to read.
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 or through your Seattle Services Portal. You may schedule an appointment without screening if you are consistently prepared applicant with a rating of 80 percent or better.
Schedule an intake appointment. Schedule an electronic intake appointment through your Seattle Services Portal. You must upload all application documents by 7:00 a.m. on the day of your appointment. We may contact you that day for more information.
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. Once all of our reviews are done, you will receive an email telling you that corrected and/or additional documents can be uploaded into your portal. Your project may require multiple correction rounds before our reviews are complete.
Pay final fees. We will notify you to pay any final fees before we issue your permit.
Print your permit. We will notify you when we have issued your permit and the documents are available in your Seattle Services Portal. Print the permit and approved plan set and have it on site for our inspector.
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.