2015 Codes: Vesting FAQs

Are you concerned about whether your permit application will be accepted before the change to the 2015 Seattle codes? Here are some FAQs to help you understand the steps you need to take.

When an I required to compliance with the 2015 codes?
January 1, 2017 is when compliance with the 2015 Seattle codes become mandatory.  Between November 6, 2016 and January 1, 2017, you may choose to use the 2012 or the 2015 codes. You must make your choice clear on the plans you submit. If you choose to comply with the 2015 code, the full suite of applicable 2015 codes will apply to your project.  (You can’t choose the 2015 Seattle Building Code (SBC) and the 2012 Seattle Energy Code (SEC), for example).

How do I get my project vested to the 2012 codes?
You need to successfully complete the intake process and pay the intake fees before close of business on Friday December 30, 2016.  (SBC 101.3.1)

What if the first available intake appointment is in 2017, but I want my project to be vested to the 2012 codes?
Schedule the first available appointment and upload your completed drawings and documents as soon as you can. After you press “SUBMIT TO SDCI,” we will do our best to move your appointment up to a cancellation or an added appointment in this year.  We will assume that you want your project vested to the 2012 codes, if it is submitted before mid-December.

I’m working on a phased project. Which phase vests a project to the 2012 codes?
You need to successfully submit the “complete structural frame” for the entire building in order to vest the building to the 2012 code. (SBC 101.3.1 Exception)

To what code is an initial tenant improvement project usually vested?
Initial tenant improvement projects are vested to the code that applied to the “shell and core” construction permit. To vest, you must submit the initial tenant improvement application no more than 18 months after the date of the final inspection for the shell and core construction. (SBC 101.3.2)

Will changes in the 2015 Seattle Existing Building Code requirements for Substantial Alteration projects affect my project requirements?
Substantial Alteration projects (except for those that are deemed a Substantial Alteration solely because they were changed to a higher hazard occupancy) are required to improve the energy performance of the building envelope (2012 Seattle Existing Building Code (SEBC) 303.1.4; 2015 SEBC 304.1.4). In the 2015 Seattle Energy Code, there is now a “disproportionality exception” that has a cost cap on the required building envelop improvements, of 20% of the project valuation, when using the Thermal Performance Method (2015 SEC C503.8.3).

When can I buy copies of the new codes?
We are working on getting the hard-copy of codes published and don’t have a date yet.  The new codes will likely be available in late December or January.  In the meantime, you have access to the Seattle amendments to the ICC codes on our website.  For the SBC go to our Building Code web page. For other Seattle codes, see our list of codes we enforce.

Which codes are changing?
The 2015 versions of Seattle’s Building, Residential, Existing Building, Energy, Mechanical, Plumbing, Fuel Gas, and Fire Codes have been adopted. The 2005 Boiler Code is currently being updated and amended, but adoption is probably several months away.

Questions? Please contact Steve Burns steve.burns@seattle.gov or Andy Lunde andrew.lunde@seattle.gov.

Draft 2015 Mechanical and Fuel Gas Codes Available in September

DPD will soon be posting the 2015 International Mechanical Code and International Fuel Gas Code, both with Seattle Amendments, for public review and comment on our website. In late September DPD will also host a series of technical review sessions where participants will learn specific differences between the 2012 and 2015 versions of these codes.  Keep an eye out for these drafts and review sessions to be posted soon at www.seattle.gov/dpd/codesrules/changestocode/BuildingCodeUpdate/.