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City of Seattle: Permits + Timelines

For most residential projects, there are three types of construction permits in the city of Seattle.


Permit Type: Subject to Field Inspection (STFI)

About: An expedited, over-the-counter permit for projects the city considers “simple”, based on restrictions set by the Building Department. See Tip 316 published by the city of Seattle for more information.

Timeline Estimate: 4-6 weeks to be issued post design + permit submittal


Permit Type: Substantial Alternations Permit

About: Typical for full home remodels, which extend the physical or economic life of a significant portion of an existing building. This permit type requires a seismic retrofit of the home designed by a licensed structural engineer. See Tip 314 published by the City of Seattle for more information.

Timeline Estimate: 6-8 weeks to be issued post design + permit submittal


Permit Type: Full Plan Review

About: A thorough and longer process for projects the City considers “more complicated”, based on restrictions set by the Building Department. This permit requires a more detailed set of architectural and structural drawings and potentially additional consultants depending on the scope of the project. See Tip 238 published by the City of Seattle for more information.

Timeline Estimate: 6-9 months to be issued post design + permit submittal

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