Construction Inspections

Along with Plan Review, construction inspection services ensure buildings under construction and those being remodeled are in accordance 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. 

Inspection Fees

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 > 6 devices
Fire Alarm Systems with more than 6 devices and no new control panel installation or major modification to the system  $273 plus $5.43 per device > 6 devices
Fire Extinguishing System - Pre-Engineered or Rangehood  $233
Fire Sprinkler Systems $328 plus $3.28 per sprinkler head > 6 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 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);
Knox Box Inspection $229
Request for Temporary Certificate of Occupancy recommendation $248 plus time charge for all related inspection and review
Failed/Missed Inspection Fee $227 hour, one hour minimum

Schedule or Cancel an Inspection 

To schedule an inspection: 

To cancel an inspection:

  • Regular inspections must be cancelled 24 hours in advance
  • Overtime inspections must be cancelled by 9 a.m. on the business day prior to the inspection
  • Email sfd_fmo_ot_inspections@seattle.gov
    • Subject line: Cancel Inspection
    • Include inspection date, time, location, and type

Note:  Additional fees apply if your inspection is not cancelled within the correct timeframe.

Questions about Construction Inspections

Before any inspection the work must be completed, pretested, and ready. If a plan review letter was generated, all items listed on the letter must be resolved before requesting an inspection. A copy of the approved plans and a copy of the plan review letter must be at the job site at the time of inspection. 

Additional criteria that determine your readiness for specific types of inspections: 

  • 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.    
  • Underground 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. 
  • Underground hydro:  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.
  • Underground flush:  Inspection must occur prior to connecting with the building system. 
  • Sprinkler cover:  You must call for cover inspections prior to installation of drywall or tiles that would interfere with visual access.  Any time a sprinkler head is changed or moved, you must have an inspection. 
  • Elevator:  The electrical and elevator permits must be signed off and the fire alarm system completely installed.

Call (206) 386-1443 or you may call the inspector assigned to your area if you know their name and number. All systems which require a functional test must be pretested prior to the inspection being scheduled.

  • Name
  • Company 
  • Phone number 
  • Inspection address
  • Certification number of the installer/tester who will be present during the test 
  • Plan review number 
  • Type of inspection 
  • Number of devices to be tested

Construction InspectionsFee
Fire Alarm Systems $543 plus $5.43 per device > 6 devices
Fire Alarm Systems with more than 6 devices and no new control panel installation or major modification to the system  $273 plus $5.43 per device > 6 devices
Fire Extinguishing System - Pre-Engineered or Rangehood  $233
Fire Sprinkler Systems $328 plus $3.28 per sprinkler head > 6 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 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);
Knox Box Inspection $229
Request for Temporary Certificate of Occupancy recommendation $248 plus time charge for all related inspection and review
Failed/Missed Inspection Fee $227 hour, one hour minimum

Depends on the availability of inspectors. Overtime inspections are available for a fee. 

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

Messages for inspectors may be left at any time by calling (206) 386-1443. Inspectors will return calls when in the office.  Inspectors are in the office, scheduling appointments between 8 a.m. - 9 a.m., Monday - Friday.

The Lieutenant of Engineering, or a Fire Protection Engineer, are available during the day to answer specific questions related to the Seattle Fire Code, call (206) 386-1443.  

Note: It is acceptable to call Plan Review Engineers with fire code related questions, but do not call them regarding field inspection problems or scheduling.

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 $227 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.

Regular inspections need to be cancelled in writing 24 hours prior to the inspection.

Overtime inspections need to be cancelled in writing by 9 a.m. 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.

To cancel a regular or overtime inspection:

  • Email sfd_fmo_ot_inspections@seattle.gov
    • Subject line:  Cancel Inspection
    • nclude inspection date, time, location, and type

Contact your assigned inspector directly or at (206) 386-1443 for any explanation or clarification which may be necessary.

Occupancy and use of the structure are permitted only after approval of SDCI. You are in violation if you occupy the premises prior to obtaining this approval. We consider occupancy to occur when non-construction employees or people begin working in or using the structure. Occupancy also occurs when non-permanent mounted stock or furnishings are moved into the building.

The legal owner is responsible to call for 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.

When the fire protection systems are approved, inspected, and the exit ways are completed.

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.