Residential Deconstruction

What Is It?

Deconstructing a building allows you to take it apart systematically, so you can salvage reusable building materials and recycle materials that can’t be reused. Salvaging reusable building materials reduces the amount of construction waste sent to landfills and reduces the demand on natural resources.

If you are removing housing, deconstruction may allow you to begin the process before we have issued you a new building permit for your site. (A new building permit is sometimes required before you can demolish housing; see Demolition of Housing for other rules that may apply).

To qualify for a residential deconstruction permit, you must:

  • Reuse a minimum of 20 percent of the building materials, by weight and excluding asphalt, brick, and concrete
  • Recycle or reuse a minimum of 50 percent of the building materials, by weight and excluding asphalt, brick, and concrete
  • Recycle or reuse 100 percent of asphalt, brick, and concrete
  • Submit a Waste Diversion Plan with your permit application and plans (as described in Directors Rule 4-2009, Demolition Permits With Waste Diversion Plan)
  • Submit a Waste Diversion Report that identifies the actual rates of salvaged and recycled materials when deconstruction is complete

If you want to deconstruct a building in an environmentally critical area, such as a wetland or a steep slope, there are different restrictions you must follow.

How Much Does It Cost?

The fee for a deconstruction permit is the base fee, per the Fee Subtitle, plus any additional review fees. You may need to pay additional fees if the disturbed ground area exceeds 750 square feet or if your project needs deep cuts in the soil or shoring (supports to prevent collapse).

You pay your fees when you submit your plans. You pay the remaining fees when you pick up your permit.

How Long Does It Take?

The time it takes to get your permit depends on how complex your project is, how many corrections you need to make to your plans, and how quickly and completely you respond to plan review comments. We try to finish our initial review of your residential deconstruction (demolition) permit application in 2-4 weeks.

We will review your plans to make sure they meet our code standards. Your inspector will review building code requirements on site during your inspections.

Read the Code

Steps to Get Your Permit

Get your property information. Find information about your property that you’ll need to plan 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 removing housing, find out if you need to provide relocation assistance for tenants.
  • Find out if environmental review is required for you 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 deconstruction permit.
  • Determine whether you have met the requirements concerning asbestos and lead removal.
  • Attend a coaching session. We offer 20 minutes of free coaching to answer drainage, land use, geotechnical, or construction permit questions. If you need longer coaching with a land use planner or a geotechnical engineer, we offer one-hour sessions for a fee.

Start your application. Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services Portal. You will need to include either a location plan (for interior work) or a site plan (for exterior work).

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

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

Get your project screened. We screen your application to make sure it is ready to submit. Screening through your Seattle Services Portal. 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 electronic intake appointment through the 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.

Pay fees. Approximately 75 percent of your permit fees are due at intake.

Make corrections and resubmit your plans. Once your project has been accepted and is in review, your reviewer will send you a corrections letter if changes are needed.

Pay fees. You need to pay all outstanding fees when you’re notified that your plans have been approved.

Print your permit. We will notify you when we have issued your permit and the documents are available in your Seattle Services Portal. Print the permit and approved plan set.

Display your permit. Place your permit, approved coversheet, and plans in a visible location on the project site.

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.

When deconstruction is complete, submit your final waste diversion report to sciprioritygreen@seatle.gov so your permit can be closed.