Construction Inspections

** Notice regarding inspection scheduling delays. We are experiencing staffing challenges in scheduling inspections. We know these challenges impact our customers and we sincerely apologize. We are working to reduce delays by identifying additional resources for scheduling. In an effort to improve the timeliness of our scheduling system, we will also introduce a new online submittal process for construction inspection requests as of February 2021. Check back in early 2021 for a link to the new form. Thank you for your patience. **

COVID Updates and Re-Opening - Fire Marshal's Service Adjustments Summary

SFD is providing construction-related inspections for projects that comply with the Governor's updated guidance and the City's requirements for construction projects seeking inspections. SFD inspectors will need to leave a jobsite and charge a failed inspection fee if the jobsite is not following state and City guidance on safe construction during the pandemic.

Overtime inspections are now available. SFD is once again providing inspections on overtime for customers who need an inspection outside of regular business hours or on an expedited basis. Customers are billed an additional fee equivalent to the City's extra labor costs for this service.

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.

2021 Inspection Fees

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

Construction InspectionsFee
Fire Alarm Systems $700 plus $7.00 per device > 6 devices
Fire Alarm Systems with more than 6 devices and no new control panel installation or major modification to the system  $352 plus $7.00 per device > 6 devices
Fire Extinguishing System - Pre-Engineered or Rangehood  $301
Fire Sprinkler Systems $423 plus $4.23 per sprinkler head > 6 sprinkler heads
Standpipe $301 plus $6 per landing with PRVs (pressure reducing valves)
Fire Pump $301 per pump
Sprinkler System Supply Main $373
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 $268
Emergency Responder Radio System Coverage - Systems Testing  $268 per hour (one hour minimum);
Request for Temporary Certificate of Occupancy recommendation $320 plus time charge* for all related inspection and review
Failed/Missed Inspection Fee $273 hour, one hour minimum
*The time charge shall be equal to actual labor costs including any applicable administrative overhead.

Schedule or Cancel an Inspection - Please Allow Extra Time

We are currently scheduling roughly 9 business days out for regular inspections and 2 days out for overtime inspections. We will respond to you in the order your request is received to provide you with a confirmed scheduled inspection date/time. Please allow time for us to process your request. Your request will be confirmed as soon as possible.  

To schedule an inspection: 

To cancel an inspection - use email:

  • 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.

Schedule a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) Inspection

  • 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:
  • 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 walkthrough with the Lieutenant of Engineering by calling (206) 386-1447

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.    
  • 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. 
  • Fire water supply connection to City water main - "Underground" 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.
  • Fire water supply connection to City water main - "Underground" 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • BDA/DAS (Emergency responder radio communications): You must upload the acceptance/commissioning report to SFD using This is optional through 3/31/2021 and becomes mandatory 4/01/2021.

When submitting the form to request an inspection, you will need to provide:

  • 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

It depends upon the availability of inspectors. We are currently scheduling about nine 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 and your message will be forwarded to your assigned inspector.  

Please email your code related question to

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

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 and your message will be forwarded to your assigned inspector for any explanation or clarification that may be necessary. If you have your inspectors mobile number you may also contact your assigned inspector directly.

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 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.

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.