Code Compliance

The minimum safety standards in the Seattle Fire Code are so important to the safety of the community and buildings that the department ensures they are being met.

Building inspection program. The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) conducts inspections of multifamily residential, commercial and industrial buildings. We do not inspect houses that are intended for one family or two families. For information about the most frequent violations SFD finds and steps you can take to stay safe and help ensure a successful building inspection, please review Client Assistance Memorandum 5969 - Fire Safety Building Inspections.

What happens if the inspector finds a problem?

  • Correction Notice / Notice of Violation (NOV): The building owner/responsible party is given a Correction Notice / NOV that identifies the problems or "violations" and provides a date by which the problems must be fixed. No fee or charge.
  • Re-inspections: The SFD inspector returns to the property. There is no charge for the first re-inspection. However, if the violation has not been corrected, it will be referred to the Fire Marshal's Office. Every time the Fire Marshal's Office must inspect to gain compliance, there is a fee of $373.
  • Citations: Starting January 2020, inspectors can also write citations (e.g., blocked exits, failure to maintain a fire sprinkler system). The citation penalty is $373+. Citations can be appealed to the Hearing Examiner.
  • Orders to Comply: The fire code includes fines of up to $1,000 per day and prosecution in a court of law. 

Compliance fees are established in the Seattle Municipal Code, Section 22.602.050. These fees are charged for re-inspections that are required to gain compliance with the fire code.

The invoices are being sent to the recorded owner of the property since it is the owner's responsibility to ensure the fire code requirements and/ or fire protection equipment is being properly maintained. The department will not engage in investigative activities to determine a responsible party. If you feel a different party was responsible for causing a false alarm or for any fire code violations, you may wish to pursue that party, but the Fire Department considers all nuisance alarms and fire code violations against the owner.

Compliance re-inspection fees are established in the Seattle Municipal Code, Section 22.602.050. The authority to waive fees is limited to the Fire Chief, the Fire Marshal and the Assistant Fire Marshal. The following policies ensure all customers are treated consistently and fairly and are used to determine whether a fee waiver is granted. You can request a fee waiver if:

  • Violation Invalid: the violation notice as originally written is determined by the Compliance Unit to be invalid during inspection or prior to inspection.
  • Unable to Validate Violation: the violation notice as written cannot be validated due to a building alteration or demolition, as determined by the Compliance Unit.
  • Conflicting Enforcement: the violation notice as originally written is determined by the Compliance Unit to pertain to a condition that was directed by another jurisdictions or agency. We work with customers to ensure fire code compliance; however, compliance fees may be waived. Documentation of the direction from the other jurisdiction or agency is required to process this type of fee waiver request.
  • Conditions Caused by Third Parties: the violation pertains to conditions that are caused by someone who is not the owner, responsible party, or part of a tenant/landlord agreement with respect to the building address in the violation. Documentation may be required to process this type of fee waiver request.
  • Mitigating Circumstances Outside of Responsible Party's Control: the responsible party has initiated a good faith effort to resolve the violation notice timely however due to circumstances outside of the responsible party's control, the violation has not been corrected on the compliance timeline established by the Compliance Unit. Documentation that demonstrates the responsible party has begun the good faith effort to resolve the violation timely will be required to process this type of fee waiver request.

If you would like to request a compliance re-inspection fee refund, please contact the Fire Prevention Division Compliance Unit at (206) 386-1333 or by email at SFD_FMO_Compliance@seattle.gov. Please provide information as to why you believe your are entitled to a refund and supporting documentation including a copy of the original Notice of Violation.

Compliance re-inspection fees are established in the Seattle Municipal Code, Section 22.602.050. The authority to waive fees is limited to the Fire Chief, the Fire Marshal and the Assistant Fire Marshal. The following policies ensure all customers are treated consistently and fairly and are used to determine whether a fee waiver is granted.

  • Violation Invalid: the violation notice as originally written is determined by the Compliance Unit to be invalid during inspection or prior to inspection.
  • Unable to Validate Violation: the violation notice as written cannot be validated due to a building alteration or demolition, as determined by the Compliance Unit.
  • Conflicting Enforcement: the violation notice as originally written is determined by the Compliance Unit to pertain to a condition that was directed by another jurisdictions or agency. We work with customers to ensure fire code compliance; however, compliance fees may be waived. Documentation of the direction from the other jurisdiction or agency is required to process this type of fee waiver request.
  • Conditions Caused by Third Parties: the violation pertains to conditions that are caused by someone who is not the owner, responsible party, or part of a tenant/landlord agreement with respect to the building address in the violation. Documentation may be required to process this type of fee waiver request.
  • Mitigating Circumstances Outside of Responsible Party's Control: the responsible party has initiated a good faith effort to resolve the violation notice timely however due to circumstances outside of the responsible party's control, the violation has not been corrected on the compliance timeline established by the Compliance Unit. Documentation that demonstrates the responsible party has begun the good faith effort to resolve the violation timely will be required to process this type of fee waiver request.

You will need to provide information as to why you believe you are entitled to a refund and supporting documentation including a copy of the original Notice of Violation.