Get Ready for the 2015 Building Codes

The City is updating the codes we use to review and inspect your projects. We plan to use the 2015 Seattle codes to review new building permit applications and plans submitted after January 1, 2017. Seattle’s codes are based on model codes published by the International Code Council, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, and the State of Washington’s adoption of codes.

Updated Codes:

  • Seattle Building Code (SBC)
  • Seattle Residential Code (SRC)
  • Seattle Existing Buildings Code (SEBC)
  • Seattle Plumbing Code (SPC)
  • Seattle Energy Code (SEC)
  • Seattle Mechanical Code (SMC)
  • Seattle Fuel Gas Code (SFGC)
  • Seattle Fire Code (SFC)
  • Seattle Boiler and Pressure Vessels Code


What to expect:

  • We are updating amendments from previous years and transferring them into the new Seattle codes.
  • Applicants can choose to have their project reviewed using either the 2012 code or 2015 code if they submit a complete building permit application and plans after the legislation goes into effect but before January 1, 2017.



  • We added a new solar-ready roof chapter that requires new homes be built so that they are easily retrofitted for future solar photovoltaic panels. Note: This will not go into effect until the State Building Code Council reviews and approves it.
  • We increased the non-residential solar-ready roof requirement to 20 stories in height, beyond the 5-story maximum in the State code.
  • The plumbing code continues its shift to reliance on manufacturer’s instructions rather than developing additional prescriptive requirements that vary across systems.
  • We eliminated the two-story limitation for the podium portion of “5 over 2” podium-style buildings. This change will allow these buildings to have up to eight stories.
  • We now require rat eradication before we issue demolition permits.
  • We revised and reorganized the Boiler and Pressure Vessels Code for the first time in ten years.


Public Outreach

The Seattle DCI Code Development Team has reached out to stakeholders including the Master Builders Association, local chapter of the Architects Institute of America (AIA), and others since the beginning of 2016. The Seattle codes incorporate amendments and changes from these groups. The City’s Construction Codes Advisory Board also reviewed our code updates in detail and recommended amendments to the codes.

What happens now?

The City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee (PLUZ) will review the updated codes in September. The full City Council will review the updated codes later this fall.


Kathleen Petrie, Sustainable Codes Analyst
(206) 615-0541