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.

Our Accela online permitting platform has allowed us to seamlessly accept, review, and issue permits during the current COVID-19 pandemic with so many of our 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. This past summer we 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 continue 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 next spring, 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 began virtual design review board meetings which allow the public to comment and follow specific projects from the comfort of their homes. Also, our Shaping Seattle map is back and is better than ever, including code compliance cases and 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 have introduced ten standard DADU plans which will significantly expedite their permitting process. 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 complex regulatory process. 

I appreciate your patience as we continue to experience robust permitting activity, despite COVID. We look forward to seeing you in person sometime in 2021. In the meantime, please refer to our website to access resources and information and contact staff via phone and email. 

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
nathan.torgelson@seattle.gov
(206) 684-0343

Annual Report

Our 2020 Annual Report covers our permitting activity, code compliance work, and department highlights.