Message From the Director

Nathan Torgelson, SDCI Director

I am honored to serve as the director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections under the leadership of Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. My commitment is to carry out the Mayor's progressive vision for a more affordable, inclusive, and vibrant Seattle.

Although we had a rocky roll out of our new Accela online permitting platform about 2 years ago, this system has allowed us to seamlessly accept, review, and issue permits during the current COVID-19 pandemic with staff working remotely. Hats off to our staff who are out in the field or continue to come in the office to complete work that cannot be done remotely. Our construction inspectors are in the field and we appreciate the industry closely following the Governor's orders for safe construction and inspection practices. We have also reinitiated our annual boiler and conveyance inspections in existing structures when safety protocols can be followed. Our inspectors are also piloting virtual inspections when possible. Finally, we are conducting code compliance field checks when they can be done outdoors, such as vacant buildings, junk storage, and shoreline violations. We will reevaluate restarting the Rental Registration Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) inspections this fall, and we continue with emergency housing inspections.

Staff continue to come in the office and go in the field to prepare and post land use information notices. In August, we will begin virtual design review board meetings. Also, our Shaping Seattle map is back and is better than ever, including information by map of all active development projects in Seattle, including but not limited to design review projects.

We continue to work in partnership with multiple City departments on implementing the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) requirements to ensure that everyone can have a home in Seattle. At SDCI we make sure affordable housing permit applications get top priority. We also oversee a variety of tenant protections to make sure that renters in Seattle have a safe place to live. Our Renting in Seattle web portal and (206) 684-5700 phone number is a one-stop resource for renters and landlords. With Council passage of the revised regulations to promote more development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs), we look forward to introducing ten standard DADU plans in August 2020 which will significantly expedite their permitting process.

I appreciate your continued patience as we continue to experience the biggest boom in the City's building history and as we continue to make improvements to our 1 ½ year-old permit tracking system, Accela. Last year we hired and trained 13 term-limited staff in SDCI's land use division to help address the Master Use Permit application backlog. 

For our residents in Seattle who want to better understand a proposed project or policy change, or understand how to file a code complaint, please check our What’s Happening in Your Neighborhood webpage to help you better navigate our web presence. A majority of our work involves the construction, inspection, and use of buildings and lands, but it's the people who live and work in and use those buildings and land that drive our purpose. We're here to help our customers and the people who live and work in our city navigate our increasingly complex regulatory process. 

We look forward to reopening our applicant permit center, hosting in-person meetings, and seeing you in person when the Governor's future phase reopening allows. In the meantime, please refer to our website to access resources and information and contact staff via phone and email.

Stay safe Seattle! 

Our purpose statement is our commitment to you: Helping people build a safe, livable, and inclusive Seattle.

Our Values are equity, respect, quality, integrity, and service.

Please let us know how we are doing. We welcome and value your input.

Nathan Torgelson, Director
(206) 684-0343

Annual Report

Our 2019 Annual Report covers our permitting activity, code compliance work, and department highlights.