Construction Inspections

** New: Customers should now use our new online form for scheduling inspections and review our tips for online scheduling.**

COVID Updates and Re-Opening: Private construction COVID site protocols are now lifted. On June 30, 2021, Governor Inslee lifted Phase 3 COVID restrictions.



Along with Plan Review, construction inspection services ensure buildings under construction and those being remodeled are in compliance with the Seattle Fire Code and that key safety systems such as fire alarms and fire sprinklers are designed correctly and work properly at the time the building is occupied.

Schedule or Cancel an Inspection

Advisory ** Due to unforeseen staffing challenges we are trying our best to schedule your inspection requests as quickly as possible.  We understand the urgency regarding your projects and we are instituting measures to meet the inspection requests in a timely manner.  We appreciate everyone's patience during this period.  

We will respond to your request in the order it was received and provide an email confirmation with the date/time your inspection has been scheduled.  Please allow time for your request to be processed. We will confirm the inspection details as soon as possible. 

Before you schedule your inspection, be sure you meet our inspection pre-requisites

To schedule an inspection - use our new online form for regular or overtime inspections. You will be asked to affirm that the project will comply with all COVID restrictions from the Governor. The older PDF straight-time and overtime forms should only be used on the rare occasion that the City's website is down.  

To cancel an inspection - Email SFD_FMO_Engineering@seattle.gov

  • Subject line: Cancel Inspection
  • Include inspection date, time, location, and type

Cancel inspections timely to avoid fees. Regular inspections must be cancelled in writing 24 hours prior to the inspection. Overtime inspections must be cancelled in writing by 9 a.m. on the business day prior to the inspection. If you do not meet this timeline and fail to appear within 20 minutes of the scheduled inspection time, you will be charged a fee equal to the actual labor costs including applicable administrative overhead.

Questions about Construction Inspections

  • Arrange to have all required equipment and personnel including those with relevant certification onsite at the appointed time.
  • Required pre-tests must be completed and/or pre-test paperwork must be available for the inspector. 
  • Stamped/approved set of fire system plans (sprinkler, alarm, etc.) onsite, if applicable. 
  • Proof of required SDCI electrical permit sign off, if applicable.
  • Proof of SDCI certification for elevators (final white tag), if applicable. 
  • Sprinkler piping not covered prior to the inspection (including both drywall and ceiling tiles). 
  • Underground sprinkler supply line not covered before inspection.
  • Compliance with COVID requirements from the Governor.
  • See also additional mandatory PRE-REQUISITES FOR CERTAIN INSPECTION TYPES in the following section.

Here are additional tips to help you pass specific types of inspections: 

  • BDA/DAS (Emergency responder radio communications):  You must upload the acceptance/commissioning report to SFD using www.thecomplianceengine.com. This became mandatory April 1, 2021.
  • Fire alarm: The electrical permit must be signed off by the Department of Constructions and Inspections (SDCI) and the system must be pretested. This includes all auxiliary equipment and the fire alarm controls. The site must be considered "Final Clean", including but not limited to all carpeting, ceiling tile, drywall, doors and relights in place to conduct alarm audibility tests.    
  • Range hoods and suppression/alternative extinguishing systems (not wet/dry sprinkler systems): Before calling for inspection, equipment protected by the hood or suppression system must be on site, installed and operable (gas and power). In addition, before the inspector arrives, ensure there is a placard mounted to the hood specifying equipment that is protected by the hood, from left to right, and provide a mounted K class extinguisher near the hood. Please ensure the following documents are available on site for your inspector when they arrive: As-Built drawings and SDCI mechanical permit for Type 1 hood if applicable. If the suppression system is monitored by the fire alarm system, then you will need technicians with both a fire alarm certification and a rangehood certification present at the time of inspection to test the newly installed system. 
  • Sprinkler system inspection prior to cover: You must call for cover inspections prior to installation of drywall or tiles that would interfere with visual access to sprinkler system pipes and heads. Any time a sprinkler head is changed or moved, you must have an inspection. 
  • "Underground" or fire water supply connection to City water main - inspection prior to cover: Underground pipe inspection must occur prior to covering. All tie rodding, etc. must be complete and coated with bituminous or other acceptable corrosion retarding material. Inspection of thrust blocks may occur during or after pouring. Depth and width of the block must be exposed for measurement. See also SFD Administrative Rule 9.03.20 Table A for additional inspection requirements. May be combined with "underground" flush and/or flow tests in many but not all circumstances, discuss with your inspector.
  • "Underground" or fire water supply connection to City water main - hydrostatic flow test: Underground may be covered if cover inspection has occurred and pressure drops must be within allowable limits. Hydro must occur prior to connection with the building or the City of Seattle. If a city check valve is present, a "frying pan" must be installed. See also SFD Administrative Rule 9.03.20 Table A for additional inspection requirements. May be combined with "underground" flush and/or flow tests in many but not all circumstances, discuss with your inspector.
  • "Underground"  or fire water supply connection to City water main or "Underground" - Underground flush: Inspection must occur prior to connecting with the building system. See also SFD Administrative Rule 9.03.20 Table A for additional inspection requirements. May be combined with "underground" flush and/or flow tests in many but not all circumstances, discuss with your inspector.

Submit an inspection request form. All systems which require a functional test must be pretested prior to the inspection being scheduled.

When submitting the form to request an inspection, you will need to provide information about the project, onsite contact name and information, and financially responsible party name and contact information. You will also need: Certification number of the installer/tester who will be present during the test, SDCI plan review number if applicable, and information about SDCI permitting completed (if applicable).

Depends on the availability of inspectors. We are currently scheduling about 9 days out. Overtime inspections may be available sooner and there is an additional cost (based on City's labor contract). 

A representative capable of performing the required tests, providing access to inspection areas, and certified by the Seattle Fire Department must be present. This person must:

  • Present their certification card to inspector for verification 
  • Have a copy of the approved plans 
  • Have a copy of the plan review letter

Please email SFD_FMO_Engineering@seattle.gov and your message will be forwarded to your assigned inspector.  

Please email your code related question to SFD_FMO_PlanReview@seattle.gov.

Please do not email field inspection problems or scheduling questions to the Plan Review email address. For field inspection questions or scheduling questions please email SFD_FMO_Engineering@seattle.gov

Fees for most construction inspections include a repeat inspection at no charge if the system does not pass the first inspection. If your reason for the failed inspection is due to a lack of preparation, the Seattle Municipal Code provides the ability to recover the costs incurred in providing that inspection. The fee is $273 per hour, including time spent by inspectors preparing for the inspection, traveling and at the job site. The fee will be charged whenever an inspection fails for the following reasons:  

  • All required equipment and personnel including those with relevant certification not onsite within 20 minutes of appointed time.  
  • Required pre-tests not completed and/or pre-test paperwork not available before inspection is scheduled to begin.  
  • No stamped/approved set of fire system plans (sprinkler, alarm, etc.) onsite, if applicable.  
  • Unable to provide proof of required SDCI electrical permit sign off, if applicable. 
  • No proof of SDCI certification for elevators (final white tag), if applicable.  
  • Sprinkler piping covered before inspection (including both drywall and ceiling tiles).  
  • Underground sprinkler supply line covered before inspection.
  • Failure to follow Safe Start site requirements established by the Governor.

Please email SFD_FMO_Engineering@seattle.gov and your message will be forwarded to your assigned inspector for any explanation or clarification that may be necessary. If you have your inspector's mobile number you may also contact your assigned inspector directly.

Fees for construction inspection services are separate and in addition to any SDCI fees.

Construction InspectionsFee
Fire Alarm Systems $543 plus $5.43 per device > six devices
Fire Alarm Systems with more than six (6) devices and no new control panel installation or major modification to the system  $273 plus $5.43 per device > devices
Fire Extinguishing System - Pre-Engineered or Rangehood  $233
Fire Sprinkler Systems $328 plus $3.28 per sprinkler head > six sprinkler heads
Standpipe $233 plus $5 per landing with PRVs (pressure reducing valves)
Fire Pump $233 per pump
Sprinkler System Supply Main $289
Tenant Improvement (TI) Inspection without modification of fire protection systems, Or TI with six (6) or less sprinkler heads and 6 or less fire alarm devices $208
Emergency Responder Radio System Coverage - Systems Testing  $208 per hour (one-hour minimum)
Request for Temporary Certificate of Occupancy recommendation $248 plus time charge for all related inspection and review
Failed/Missed Inspection Fee $273 per hour (one-hour minimum)
Overtime Inspection Fee $100.56 per hour (may be subject to a 1.5-hour or four-hour minimum based on labor contracts)

*The time charge shall be equal to actual labor costs including any applicable administrative overhead.

Occupancy and use of the structure are permitted only after approval of SDCI which takes the form of a Certificate of Occupancy. You are in violation if you occupy the premises prior to obtaining this approval. 

In some cases a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy may also be approved prior to the issue of the full Certificate of Occupancy - please see information above. Individuals who are non construction workers are permitted to enter the building prior to the building receiving a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy when permitted by the General Contractor. The General Contractor is responsible to provide safety training to authorized individuals and to ensure they are properly equipped with all personal protection equipment required for the construction site by Washington State Labor & Industry regulations. All such individuals touring the building are required to be escorted by the General Contractor or their designee.

Individuals preparing the building for occupancy do not require an escort when permitted by the General Contractor. In occupancies required to be provided with automatic sprinklers, storage or accumulation of combustible material not associated with building construction is prohibited in the building before the sprinkler system is approved.

The legal owner is responsible for requesting inspections and approvals. If you want your builder to assume this responsibility, this should be specified within your contract. Check your permit and make sure final approval to occupy has been given before moving into the building. Normally, the installing company schedules the inspection appointment for their installation.

  • Inform your SFD New Construction inspector and Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) inspector of your intent to request TCO/phased occupancy
  • Review Administrative Rule 9.07 - Partial/Phased Occupancy, Occupancy During Construction and Temporary Certificates of Occupancy
  • A MINIMUM of two weeks prior to your desired TCO date, write a TCO request letter and email to the Lieutenant of Engineering: SFD_FMO_Engineering@seattle.gov
  • Work with your SFD inspector to ensure your project is on track for TCO
  • Once required inspections are complete and your project is ready, your SFD inspector will notify you that it's ready for TCO walkthrough by the Lieutenant of Engineering
  • Schedule your TCO inspection with our Inspection Request Form.

SPU requires inspections for water service piping used for fire protection and domestic water. To schedule a SPU inspection for underground cover or backflow assemblies: call (206) 684-5803, between 8 a.m. - 9 a.m.; after 9 a.m., call (206) 684-3333. 

Radio coverage must meet code requirements in all new high-rise buildings and buildings that are larger than 50,000 square feet, or have basements larger than 10,000 square feet, or have floors used for human occupancy more than 30 feet below the finished floor of the lowest level of exit discharge. There are two ways to meet this requirement: (1) demonstrate that the building meets minimum coverage standards for the King County Radio System without the use of amplification systems, or (2) install amplifications systems such as a Bi-Directional Antenna (BDA) or Distributed Antenna System (DAS). Where these buildings pass sufficient radio signals through part of the building, emergency responder radio coverage need only be provided for those areas within the building that do not receive sufficient radio signals. To find more information and required forms, please review our dedicated webpage on BDA/DAS and Client Assistance Memorandum #5123 -  Emergency Responder Public Safety Radio Enhancement Systems.