How Do You Get a Permit? - SDCI (2024)

The permit process differs for each permit type, and may also vary depending on the complexity of your project. These steps are a general guideline to follow to apply for a permit. You will submit most permit applications through the Seattle Services Portal.

  • How to Get a Building Permit Infographic


  • Use our Research a Project page to:
    • Research your property information, zoning, and permit history
    • See land use plans and projects
    • Find historical records
  • Review the SDCI website for common projects, permit types, Director’s Rules, and Checklists and Standards and to create fee estimates.
  • Research Green Building permit incentives
  • Get answers
    • Submit a building or land use question
    • Chat with an SDCI expert
    • Review applicable Tips
    • Visit the Seattle Services Portal Help Center
    • Contact the Applicant Services Center for a free 20-minute video coaching session to answer simple questions about the building and land use code, application process, and submittal requirements
    • Request a paid scheduled one-hour coaching session to answer land use, geotechnical, building, energy, and mechanical questions

Start Permit Application

Preliminary Application Materials

Submit your preliminary application materials through your Seattle Services Portal. You will need to create an account if you don't have one.

After you submit your preliminary application, you will be given a construction (-CN) or land use (-LU) record number. Use the -CN or -LU number for the rest of the permit process.

Pre-Application Site Visit

We require a Pre-Application Site Visit (PASV) for land use (MUP), new construction, grading applications, most environmentally critical areas (ECA), and other projects with ground disturbance greater than 750 square feet in non-environmentally critical areas. If we conducted a PASV at your development site within the past 24 months, we do not require an additional PASV.

  • You will receive a Pre-Application Site Visit Report identifying site conditions including ECAs, drainage patterns, trees, existing structures, street curb, and potential property line impacts.
  • Based on the PASV results, we may require additional submittal materials.

Preliminary Assessment Report

We will conduct a Preliminary Assessment on all MUPs and new construction applications. This is a preliminary review of your project by SDCI, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Public Utilities, and Seattle City Light to identify major project stoppers. We start this process once you submit your preliminary application, request thePre-Application Site Visit, and pay the associated fees.

  • Begin the Street Improvement Plan process, if required.
  • Begin ECA exemption process, if required. See Tip 327A, Environmentally Critical Areas Exemptions, Relief from Prohibition on Steep Slope Development, and Modifications to Submittal Requirements, or Tip 327B, Environmentally Critical Areas — Small Project Waivers Application Instructions and Submittal Requirements.

Pre-Submittal Conference Application

We require Pre-Submittal Conferences for:

  • High-rise structure and atrium construction
  • Early Design Guidance
  • Streamline Design Review

We recommend Pre-Submittal Conferences for:

  • Substantial alterations
  • Buildings with unusual structural systems
  • ECA exceptions
  • Shoreline Substantial Development permits
  • System analysis for energy code compliance
  • Complex zoning interpretations
  • Right-of-way requirements
  • Council actions (e.g. rezones)

We have a limited number of Pre-Submittal Conferences available that we schedule based on available resources and the complexity of the application.

  • Submit the Pre-Submittal Conference Application form (for construction projects or for land use projects) and a Statement of Financial Authorization to request a conference to discuss codes, processes, or complex issues spanning many disciplines (e.g. construction, land use, etc.) and/or involving several City departments.
  • Submit a list of questions about your project that you want answered. Please cite the appropriate code sections that apply to your questions.
  • You must pay the initial pre-submittal conference fees before we schedule your appointment.

Prepare Your Plans

  • Prepare plans showing all your proposed work. See Tip 106, General Standards for Plans and Drawings.
  • Determine which permit forms are required for your permit type.
  • See theChecklists and Standards on our forms page for more information.
  • Review the PASV Report or Preliminary Assessment Report you received after submitting your pre-application to see additional requirements.

Submit Application

Optional Application Screening

We offer optional application screening for construction projects (-CN records) only. Upload your application materials to the Seattle Services Portal and we will help ensure you have what you need for a successful permit application intake. For instructions, read How to Submit a Construction (-CN)Application for Screening.

Schedule an Intake Appointment

Schedule an electronic intake appointment through theSeattle Services Portal. You do not need to schedule an appointment for subject-to-field-inspection permits. For more information, see How to Schedule an SDCI Inspection or Appointment.

  • Your appointment will be done electronically. You do not need to come to our office or be onsite during your appointment.
  • You need to be available for questions. We may call or email you on your appointment 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.For more information, read How Can I Get in the Intake Express Lane?

Submit Your Permit Application

  • Review the checklists and standards on our forms page to help you gather all the necessary documentation for your application.
  • You must upload all application documents by 7:00 a.m. on the day of your appointment. We may contact you by phone or email that day for more information.
  • You will need to pay all fees once we determine your application is complete. If you don’t pay your fees within 48 hours, we will reject your intake and you will need to reschedule.
  • If a Street Improvement Plan (SIP) is required, a 60% complete SIP must be submitted to the Seattle Department of Transportation, screened, and accepted 5 days prior to SDCI’s construction intake appointment.
  • See How to Submit Materials for Intake for more information.

Make Corrections & Resubmit Your Plans

After you submit your permit application, we will review your plans. If we need additional information or changes to your plans, you will receive an email telling you that corrected and/or additional documents can be uploaded into your portal.

Pay Fees

  • You may pay fees online through the Seattle Services Portal. We accept Visa and Mastercard.
  • If you have questions about fees, see How Much Will Your Permit Cost?
  • For help paying fees, see How to Pay Fees.
  • If you need to pay by check, see How Do I Pay by Check.
  • You will get a confirmation page when you have successfully submitted your payment. If you don’t, contact our cashier to check payment status at

Print Permit

After paying any outstanding fees, print your approved plans and permit.

Customer Support

If you have questions about the permitting process, contact us through the Virtual Applicant Services Center. You can contact staff via phone, email, or chat.

If your application is already being reviewed, please contact your assigned reviewer directly. You can find your assigned reviewer by logging into the Seattle Services Portal. See Frequently Asked Questions About SDCI's Review Status and Target Due Dates for information on how to find your reviewer.

How Do You Get a Permit? - SDCI (2024)
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