Demolition Permit - Building

What Is It?

You need a demolition permit to remove a building. If you are in an environmentally critical area, you need a demolition permit no matter the size of the building.

You don’t need a demolition permit if:

  • You’re removing an accessory structure with roof area less than 120 square feet
  • You’re removing a portion of a building as part of an alteration

All demolition permits must be submitted as separate applications.

All demolition permits require at least 15 days of rat abatement by a licensed pest control company immediately prior to the start of work.

Our land use code has special rules for demolition of housing. In some cases, we won't issue your demolition permit until we have issued your building permit. If you’d like to deconstruct your building instead of demolishing it, you may be able to get a deconstruction permit before the building permit is issued.

How Much Does It Cost?

The fee for a demolition permit is the base fee per the current fee schedule, plus any additional review fees. You may need to pay additional hourly review fees if the disturbed ground area exceeds 750 square feet or deep cuts in the soil or shoring are needed. You pay 75 percent of your fees when you submit your plans. You pay the remaining fees when you pick up your permit.

How Long Does It Take?

The total time it takes to get your permit depends on how complex your project is and how many corrections you need to make on your plans. We try to finish initial review of simple permit applications in 2-3 weeks (8 weeks for complex projects) from when you pay or intake fees. You will need to schedule an intake appointment after your screening has been approved. (See next available appointment times.)

If your plans require corrections, we recommend planning for 4 weeks per correction cycle (2 weeks for you to respond to corrections and 2 weeks for us to review the changes). The average project involves 2 correction cycles. Our final review usually takes one week.

If you have a small demolition project or are demolishing the interior only, you may be able to get a subject-to-field-inspection permit, which is issued on the same day that you apply.

Steps to Get Your Permit

Get your property information. Find property information to help you plan your project.

Determine restrictions to your project.

  • Contact the Department of Neighborhoods Preservation Program to determine your building’s landmark status. If your building is a designated landmark or in a historic or in a special district, you may need a certificate of approval.
  • If you’re demolishing housing, find out if you need to provide relocation assistance for tenants.
  • Find out if environmental review is required for your project under environmentally critical area, State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), or Seattle SEPA regulations. If environmental review is required, you need to apply for a land use SEPA permit before we can issue your demolition permit.
  • Determine whether you have met the requirements concerning asbestos and lead removal.

Research Stormwater Code requirements: We may require a drainage review of your project. You need to determine whether stormwater requirements apply to your project to submit a complete and accurate application.

Find incentives for your project. Research the City's different incentives that might apply to your project.

Attend a coaching session. We offer 20 minutes of free coaching at the Applicant Services Center to answer drainage, land use, geotechnical or construction permit questions. If you need a longer coaching session, we offer one-hour sessions with hourly fees applied.

Start your application. Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services Portal. You will need to include a preliminary site plan with the form. 

Request a pre-application site visit. You need a pre-application site visit if you will disturb more than 750 square feet of land or disturb any land on a site with an environmentally critical area (other than liquefaction or peat-settlement prone areas). Request a pre-application site visit online through the Seattle Services Portal. Our report will include information about your next steps, what to include in your plans, and what to provide at your intake appointment.

Request a pre-submittal conference (optional). We recommend pre-submittal conferences for very complex projects, including buildings with unusual structural systems, substantial alterations, or work in environmentally critical areas or shorelines. You will need to pay a minimum conference fee of 1.5 hours of staff time. We might charge additional hourly fees based on the number of City staff attending the conference, and the amount of follow-up time required.

Prepare your plans. Plans should be to scale and easy to read.

Fill out forms.

Coordinate with other agencies. You may need permits or approvals from other agencies. These are the most common agencies you may need to work with for your permit type:

Get your project screened by our permit techs. We screen your application to make sure it’s ready to submit. We prefer that you submit your application for screening through the Seattle Services Portal. Screening is also available on a walk-in basis at the Applicant Services Center on the 20th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower. You may schedule an appointment without screening if you are a consistently prepared applicant with a rating of 80 percent or better.

Schedule an intake appointment. Schedule an intake appointment through your Seattle Services Portal. You must upload all application documents by 7:00 a.m. on the day of your appointment. We may contact you that day for more information.

Tip: Submit your completed application early to be eligible for an earlier appointment in case of a cancellation. Once you submit your application, we'll add your project to The Intake Express Lane. This means your application will likely be taken in well ahead of your scheduled appointment. We can usually take in your application within 2-3 weeks after you upload your complete application.

Pay fees. Approximately 75 percent of your permit fees are due at intake. The fees are calculated based on your project value.

Make corrections and resubmit your plans. Your project reviewer will send you a corrections letter if changes are needed.

Pay fees. You will need to pay all outstanding fees before we issue your permit.

Print permit. You will be contacted when your plans are approved. You can print your permit and approved plans from your Seattle Services Portal.

Display your permit and plans. Place your permit in a visible location on the project site. You need to have copies of your approved plans on site for the inspectors.

Get related permits. You may need to get additional permits or approvals from other departments.

Request an inspection. See the construction inspections page for when to call us and how to schedule your inspection.

Get special inspections. If we assigned special inspections as part of your permit, some parts of your project will need to be inspected during construction. See the special inspections page for more details.

Close out Special Inspections for your project. See the special inspections page for information on how to submit a final letter to us for review.

Close your permit. Your permit information will be archived in our electronic document management system.