Construction Permit - Temporary Structures & Uses - SDCI (2024)

What Is It?

A temporary permit allows you to use a building or property for something different than its ordinary use for a short period of time. Learn how to get a building permit. Some common examples include:

  • Temporarily installing prefabricated structures such as offices or classrooms
  • Setting up tents or canopies for a farmer’s market
  • Holding an event for many people in an existing commercial building
  • Building temporary platforms or bleachers for a festival

The Seattle Land Use Code has rules for temporary uses; the Seattle Building Code has rules for temporary structure and occupancies.

  • Tip 206, Temporary Use Permits
  • Tip 306, Temporary Structure or Temporary Occupancy Permits

Some temporary permits are issued by the Seattle Fire Department. These permits include the temporary use of a building for assembly not more than once every 3 months, or the temporary installation of limited-size tents. See the Seattle Fire Department Special Events section for more information.

How Much Does It Cost?

Our fees are based on the number of temporary structures proposed and/or the duration of the proposed temporary use.All fees are subject to an additional technology fee. See our Fee Subtitle for details.

  • Fee Subtitle

How Long Does It Take?

We try to complete the initial review for temporary permit applications in 2 weeks, though actual review time depends on the scope of work. The total time it takes to get your permit depends on how complex your project is and how many corrections, if any, you need to make to your plans. In addition, if a temporary use will exceed 4 weeks, you may need a discretionary land use permit, which can significantly lengthen the permit review time.

Steps to Get Your Permit

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

  • Tip 233, Sources for Property Information

Determine restrictions that apply to your project. Research the codes to determine allowable uses, building size limits, and construction requirements.

  • Land Use Code
  • Seattle Building Code
  • Zoning Information

Start your application. Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services Portal. You will need to upload a site plan and a complete legal description for your site.

  • Tip 103, Site Plan Requirements

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. Request a pre-application site visit online through your Seattle Services Portal. You'll receive an email once we have added the pre-application site visit (PASV) fees to your project. After you have paid the fee, we will perform the inspection.You will receive a preliminary application report that will include information about your site conditions and any additional requirements.

Apply for exemptions. Learn more about exemptions from code requirements.

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:

  • Seattle Fire Department
  • Seattle Business Licensing
  • Seattle Labor Standards – Hiring Independent Contractors
  • Office of Economic Development

Prepare your plans. Plans should be to scale and easy to read. If your project includes a temporary structure that is open to the public or adjacent to areas open to the public, you will need an engineered design by a Washington State licensed structural engineer.

  • Temporary Structure Permit Checklist
  • Temporary Occupancy Permit Checklist
  • Tip 103, Site Plan Requirements
  • Tip 103B, Environmentally Critical Area Site Plan Requirements
  • Tip 106, General Standards for Plans and Drawings

Attend a coaching session. If you have questions about requirements for your project, contact the Applicant Services Center for permit coaching.

Schedule an appointment.Temporary permit applications typically do not require a formal intake appointment. Contact a Temporary Permits Facilitator to set up a time to bring in your application materials. Call (206) 684-8850 to find out who the current facilitators are.

Pay fees. You pay most of all your fees when you submit your application. If you submit electronically, we will notify you when you need to pay your fees, and you may pay fees online.

Make corrections and resubmit your plans. Once all of our reviews are done, you will receive an email telling you that corrected and/or additional documents can be uploaded into your portal. Your project may require multiple correction rounds before our reviews are complete.

Pay final fees. We will notify you to pay any final fees before we issue your permit.

Print your permit and approved plan set. 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 and have it on site for our inspector.

Display your permit. Place your permit 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.

Close your permit. After your project has passed its final inspection, your permit information will be archived in our electronic document management system.

Remove your temporary structure. If your permit includes a temporary structure, you will need to remove it at the end of your specified time period.

Construction Permit - Temporary Structures & Uses - SDCI (2024)


What is administrative conditional use SDCI? ›

An administrative conditional use is a type of Master Use Permit that has a public comment period, a review and decision by the Director of SDCI, and an appeal process.

What can a homeowner do without a permit in Washington state? ›

You do not need a permit for:
  1. A storage shed with a floor area of 200 square feet or less, as an accessory to a residential house or for agricultural use.
  2. Fences 6 feet high or less.
  3. Most retaining walls 4 feet high or less.
  4. Replacement of roofing or siding for detached one and two-family houses.

How long does it take to get a construction permit in Seattle? ›

We try to finish our initial review of simple permit applications in 2-3 weeks and complex permits in 8 weeks. How long it takes to get the final permit depends on how complex your project is and how many corrections, if any, you need to make.

What requires a building permit in Washington state? ›

Washington State statutes call for local jurisdictions (cities and counties) to require a building permit when any structural change or when alterations are made to an existing building or when any new construction is undertaken.

What does administrative use only mean? ›

Administrative use only means that motorized access is restricted, often with a locked gate, to Forest Service personnel or those that hold an authorized use permit to access the motorized route, such as for utility companies to maintain their facilities. These routes would not show up on the motor vehicle use map.

What is a conditional use permit in Florida? ›

conditional use shall authorize an additional use for the affected parcel of real property in. addition to those permitted in the applicable zoning classification. The initial burden is on the. applicant to demonstrate that all applicable standards and criteria are met.

What is the largest structure you can build without a permit in Washington? ›

Important: The 200 square foot (or less) Exempt Structure may be constructed on a lot with or without a residence. If there is a residence on the same lot, you may build an exempt accessory structure up to 800 SF.

Do I need a permit to remodel my bathroom in Washington state? ›

Adding or remodeling a bathroom normally requires building, plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits. The building permit is required if you are adding or relocating walls or have removed a wall and/or ceiling finish to the studs and joists.

Can I sue previous owner for unpermitted work in Washington state? ›

If the owner did not disclose the work (which they are legally obligated to), then you can sue them for misleading real estate practices. Because the unpermitted work wasn't disclosed, the inspector wouldn't know to check for it, would approve the house, and could put you at risk of the repairs break down.

How do I get a building permit in WA? ›

An application must be lodged with the permit authority or local government that has responsibility for the area in which the building is (or is intended to be) located. Form templates are available to permit authorities on the Local Government Extranet.

Can you build a house in Washington state? ›

Permits and fees are mandatory for building in Washington. You should plan for these costs and work closely with a contractor once they're approved. Make sure to check with your builder for what permits you'll need.

How long does it take to get a construction permit in the US? ›

The length of time it takes to obtain building permits in the United States can vary widely depending on the specific location and the complexity of the project. In general, the permit process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months or more.

What happens if you build without a permit in Washington state? ›

Remodeling without permits in Washington leads to legal and financial troubles. Insurance may deny claims for noncompliant renovations. Unsafe construction risks accidents and property damage. Unpermitted work can lower property value and complicate sales.

What size shed can I build without a permit in WA? ›


In Western Australia the common regulation is 10 square metres. Anything larger than 10 sqm may require a permit and if it's under 10 sqm, you may not need one. However, it's worth checking with your local council directly to be safe rather than sorry.

What's the biggest size shed without a permit? ›

The quick and simple answer is: you usually don't need a permit if the shed is 120 square feet or less. In California, most jurisdictions have adopted the 120 square foot rule. If your shed area is larger than 120 square feet, it needs a building permit. If it's less than that, it doesn't.

What is a conditional use permit San Francisco? ›

A conditional use refers to how a parcel or building is operated that is not principally permitted in a particular zoning district. Pursuant to Planning Code Section 303, the Planning Commission shall hear and make determinations regarding Conditional Use Authorization applications.

What is a conditional use permit Stafford County? ›

Conditional Use Permits may be approved upon a finding by the Board of Supervisors that the use will not be detrimental to the character and development of the adjacent land and will be in harmony with the purpose and intent of the zoning ordinance.

What is a conditional use permit Texas? ›

A conditional use permit is issued to the property owner for a specific use within the zoning district as allowed in the Land Use Chart (Exhibit A) of the Zoning Ordinance. When someone wishes to obtain a conditional use permit, an application for the permit is obtained from the Planning and Zoning Department.

What is a conditional use permit in Washington state? ›

A conditional use permit (CUP) allows the county to consider a use of a property that is not routinely allowed, but can potentially be made compatible through the application of project and site-specific conditions.

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