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Construction Inspections FAQ

Select a link from the listing below of Frequently Asked Questions regarding construction inspections by the Seattle Fire Department.


Q.

When do I call for an Inspection?

A.

All Inspections: Work must be complete, pretested and ready. If a plan review letter was generated, all items listed on the letter must be resolved before calling for 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.

Fire Alarm: Before calling for an inspection the electrical permit must be signed off by the Department of Construction and Land Use and the system must be pretested. This includes all auxiliary equipment and the fire alarm controls. All carpeting, ceiling tile, drywall and doors must be 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. Tie in with the city and the building is not necessary. 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, however, pressure drops must be within allowable limits. Hydro must occur prior to connection with the building or the City. If testing against City check valves, 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.

Radio Coverage Validation Testing: For wireless radio coverage enhancement systems testing, call after the electrical permit has been signed off by DPD and the radio installer/engineer has successfully completed all acceptance testing.

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Q.

Whom do I call to request an Inspection?

A.

Inspection requests are made by calling 386-1443 or you may call the inspector assigned to your area of the city if you know their name and/or number. All systems which require a functional test must be pretested prior to the inspection appointment date.


Q.

What information do I give when I call to request an Inspection?

A.

Your name, your company, your phone number, the inspection address, the Seattle Fire Department Certification Number of the installer/tester who will be present during the test, the Seattle Fire Department Plan Review Number, the type of inspection, and the number of devices to be tested.


Q.

What does a Construction Inspection cost?

A.

Please review the Inspection Fee Rates for more details.

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Q.

How soon after I call can I expect my Inspection?

A.

Short time delays of two or more days may occur, due to the availability of inspectors. Overtime inspections, available for a fee, may be requested and will be filled as inspectors are available. Careful adherence to the procedures outlined in this bulletin will reduce the likelihood of a delay.


Q.

Must I be present when the Inspector comes and do I need approved plans on site?

A.

A representative capable of performing the required tests, capable of providing access to inspection areas, and certified by the Seattle Fire Department must be present. This person must have a copy of the approved plans and a copy of the plan review letter.


Q.

If I need to speak to my Inspector when can he/she be reached

A.

Scheduling of appointments is done between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM, Monday through Friday. Messages for Inspectors may be left on voicemail at any time.  Inspectors will return calls as soon as possible when they are in the office, however due to inspection schedules, call may not be returned until the next business day.

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Q.

What do I do if I have a code related question during the day when an Inspector is not available?

A.

The Engineering Lieutenant or a Fire Protection Engineer is available during the day to answer specific questions related to the Seattle Fire Code. They may be contacted at 206-386-1443.
Note: Plan Review Engineers can assist with Fire Code-related questions.  Field inspection questions should be directed to the Engineering Lieutenant.


Q.

What will happen if my system fails to pass Inspection?

A.

All systems must be pre-tested to prove they work correctly before Engineering Inspectors perform their inspection. If a system fails to pass the original inspection, a fee will be invoiced for all subsequent reinspections. Invoiced fees reflect actual time required for the inspection, to include office and travel time for Inspectors (two hours minimum).


Q.

What do I do if don't understand the required corrections?

A.

You may contact your assigned inspector directly or at 206-386-1443 for any explanation or clarification which may be necessary.


Q.

When can I occupy or use my structure?

A.

Occupancy and use of the structure is permitted only after approval of the Department of Planning and Development. You are in violation if you occupy the premises prior to obtaining this approval. The Fire Department considers occupancy to occur when non-construction employees or people begin working in or using the structure. Occupancy also occurs when nonpermanent mounted stock or furnishings are moved into the building.


Q.

If I contract with a builder for the construction who is responsible to call for Inspections and final Occupancy Approval?

A.

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, but you should check your permit and make sure final approval to occupy has been given prior to moving into the building. Normally, the installing company schedules the inspection appointment for their installation.


Q.

When can I request approval to occupy my building?

A.

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


Q.

Is the standpipe fee applied per system or per riser?

A.

The standpipe fee is applied per system.  A system can be either "wet", "dry" or a combination.  A project with separate "wet" and "dry" systems would be charged for two systems.


Q.

When do I pay the fees?

A.

Most fees will be collected at the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) at the time you pick up approved plans.  The inspection fee for Tenant Improvement (TI) with 6 or fewer alarm devices will be charged up front at the OTC permit counter.  TI's with 6 or fewer sprinkler heads and no fire alarm devices, will be invoiced after the inspection is conducted.  The Sprinkler System Supply Main fee will be invoiced to the contractor after the inspection is conducted.



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Last Modified:   January 02, 2013

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