New Permitting Software Pilots Underway

We’re piloting some permit application types in our new permitting system. We’re starting small and limiting participation in this early phase – the pilots are by invitation only at this point. We plan to fully launch the system later this year. Please watch for more information here and on our website. If you are interested in participating in an upcoming pilot, please complete the survey.

Quicker Permitting Option for Single-Family Substantial Alterations

On October 1, 2017, we will begin issuing some single family substantial alteration projects as a Subject-to-Field-Inspection (STFI) permit. We often issue STFI permits on the same day you apply. To qualify for this new permit type, your project must meet both of the following criteria:

  • Your work must meet the limitations described in Tip 316, Subject-to-Field-Inspection Permits for structural or non-structural alterations, ground level one-story additions and/or dormer additions
  • The project must be considered a substantial alteration because the physical or economic life of the building is extended (Seattle Residential Code section R107.9)

We currently require plan review for all substantial alteration projects. We consider a single-family project to be a substantial alteration if it does one of the following:

  • Repairs a building with a damage ratio of 60 percent or more
  • Extends the physical or economic life of the building
  • Changes use to one within the scope of Seattle Residential Code from a use not from within the scope of Seattle Residential Code
  • Changes use of an accessory structure to another use
  • Changes use from single family or duplex to townhouse
  • Changes use to an adult family home or family home child care

You will also need to show seismic upgrades to the foundations and cripple walls throughout your house unless it was built new per the 1985 Uniform Building Code or a more recent code.  You may provide a design by a licensed engineer or you may use our prescriptive Earthquake Home Retrofit Plan Set, also known as Project Impact.  If you use an engineered design, your application must include structural plans prepared and stamped by a licensed engineer showing the required upgrades.  If you use Project Impact, you will need a separate permit for that work.  Your Project Impact permit must be issued before we issue your STFI, and the work must be completed before the final STFI inspection.

Substantial alteration projects require certain upgrades throughout the structure, including in areas where alterations are not planned.  You may need to upgrade:

  • Egress windows
  • Stairs
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Foundations and cripple walls
  • Unreinforced masonry chimneys

See the Seattle Residential Code section R107.9 for complete requirements.  Your building inspector will check to make sure that you have made all required upgrades to the house.

Questions may be directed to:

Jamie Anderson
(206) 615-0715

New Requirement for Online Electrical Plan Review Applications

As of April 17, 2017 all electrical plan review applications must now be submitted electronically using the SDCI Project Portal.

  • You can find the Project Portal at . If you do not have an account, you need to create one. (Under the Help button in the project portal there are many helpful guides for setting up a new account and submitting applications).
  • Log in to your account. Click on Start a Preliminary Application located at the top left side of your portal page. The system will walk you through each step of entering the application information.  Remember to select Electrical for the application type.
  • After you have submitted your application, our staff will complete your preliminary application and notify you.
  • Once you receive the notification, log into your portal account. Your project number should be in the Application in Progress Click on your project number and follow the steps to complete your submittal. Once everything is complete and your documents are uploaded, click on Submit for Intake.

For further assistance or questions regarding the project portal, please call (206) 684-8850 or visit our website at

Protect Your Home From Landslides and Earthquakes

The City of Seattle is hosting two upcoming presentations on February 11 to help you prepare for an emergency. Our landslide awareness presentation will explain how you can prevent landslides on your property. Our earthquake retrofit presentation covers what you need to do to help your home survive an earthquake.

Event Details:

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Filipino Community Center
5740 Martin Luther King Jr Way S.
2nd Floor Conference Room
(This venue is ADA accessible.)

Presentation Schedule:

  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Earthquake Retrofit
    Earthquake retrofit expert Tony Holder will give an overview of how Seattle’s geology can make your home vulnerable to damage during an earthquake. The presentation will discuss how to assess your house to see if it needs to be retrofitted. We’ll also explain how to retrofit your home, including a brief overview of the permitting process.
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. – Landslide Awareness
    Senior Geotechnical Engineer, Dean Griswold, P.E., will explain why landslides happen and where landslides typically occur in Seattle.  He will explain how to determine if your property is in a landslide-prone area, preventative measures you can take to protect your property from landslides, and who to call in case of a landslide.


These presentations are part of the South Seattle Home Fair (February 11, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at the Filipino Community Center). In addition to the above presentations, the City, along with local organizations, are offering free one-on-one Q&A sessions to discuss services and answer questions. We’ll have information about emergency management, rental housing, affordable housing, raingardens, building permits, building and electrical inspections, code requirements, and much more.

Habitat for Humanity, Home Sight, Rebuilding Together Seattle, Southeast Seattle Tool Library, Office of Emergency Management, the Seattle Emergency Communications Hubs, and many others will also be on hand to answer questions.

For more information about this event, view the calendar description at

Reminder: We’re Updating Our Permitting System in Early 2017!

We’re replacing our current permitting system. It will be easier to use than the permit portal we have now! In early 2017, the Seattle Services Portal will allow you to:

  • Apply for a permit, access project updates, research property information, check the status of a complaint, find Rental Registration info, schedule inspections, and more all in one place
  • Access the information on your smartphone
  • Select project sites from a map, as well as with an address, when applying for permits or just doing research
  • Pay fees more easily, with the ability to pay all outstanding City of Seattle fees all at once


We’ll keep you updated on the upcoming changes and information that you’ll need to know. For instance, you’ll probably have to reset your password in the new Seattle Services Portal.

We’ll also publish several how-to guides which will be available on our website