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Do You Need a Permit for Foundation Repair in Seattle?

Sam Smith Foundation Repair Consultant

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If you are wondering whether or not you need a foundation repair permit in Seattle, you are in luck! This Regional Foundation Repair guide will answer the following questions:

  • Why Should You Get a Permit for Foundation Repair in Seattle?
  • How Do You Obtain a Foundation Repair Permit in Seattle?
  • What is the Cost of Obtaining a Permit in Seattle?

And much more! For homeowners, foundation-related issues are one of the worst problems to have and necessitate swift action. However, on most occasions, the costs and time involved cause homeowners to look the other way, hoping the problems will go away by themselves. The result is the continued deterioration of the foundation and the issues spreading to other areas of the home, becoming even more difficult and expensive to fix. There are numerous signs that your foundation might need some fixing which you need to be on the lookout for. Some of these signs are conspicuous, while others are subtle and harder to notice. If you are in doubt, reach out to professionals such as Regional Foundation Repair and we will schedule a free inspection to determine the state of your home. Before commencing any foundation repair works, you must check whether your city requires a building permit for foundation repair. Regional Foundation contractors handle everything, including dealing directly with the city if construction permits are a necessity. When you work with us, you can relax and let us take care of everything. This guide discusses construction permits in the city of Seattle as pertaining to foundation repair.

Why Should You Get a Permit for Foundation Repair in Seattle?

Image Template - 2021-11-18T122829.487 For foundation repair works in Seattle, a construction permit is essential, and there are numerous benefits to getting city-approved permits for the repairs. Without a permit, city officials can step in and halt the project at any time. You can also be subjected to hefty fines for non-compliance, which can be as much as $500 per day. This can set you back a couple of bucks and greatly inconvenience you. So, what are some of the benefits of having your foundation repairs approved by King County officials?

Increase Resale Value

If you decide to sell your home or even if you are just trying to get a new appraisal, only works done with valid structural permits can be included in the appraisal value of your home. Evaluators will inquire about any repairs or improvements done to the house and if they have documented permits. Unpermitted repairs are not recognized and do not add any value to your home. Therefore, you should have all repairs and improvements done to your home permitted to ensure that your home’s value increases with any work done.

Avoid Problems with Authorities

Any repair works that are done without a construction permit can be halted at any time by city officials. Unpermitted works are not recognized by the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI). Officials can issue a stop-work order in the middle of your building project and can even fine you harshly for non-compliance. By obtaining a Seattle permit, you can avoid the inconveniences of your project being delayed and even lawsuits filed against you.

City Permitted Work is Safe and Insured

Along with documenting the increased value of your home, city permits ensure that the foundation repair works done in your Seattle home are up to code, safe, and of excellent quality. Insurance covers are also available for permitted works only. If you come across contractors who are offering lower bids to do the repairs, and they claim a permit is not necessary because the work done is little, avoid them at all costs. These contractors often do not have your best interests at heart. Regional Foundation Repair contractors ensure that all foundation repair plans are city approved and permitted before any repairs commence.

Avoid Extra Costs

Image Template - 2021-11-18T122938.734 If you have unpermitted repairs done to your property’s foundation, you may be forced to demolish later and have permitted works done. Not only is this inconvenient but costly as well. You will lose time and money in the process and end up paying way more than you would have if you took the right approach from the beginning. It is also required by law that any repairs done previously must be duly declared to prospective buyers during any house sale. If a buyer realizes that there were repairs done that lacked proper documentation, they may take legal action against you. We save you the hassle, time and money in the long run by sorting out all permits and approvals with the city officials.

How Do You Obtain a Foundation Repair Permit in Seattle?

When trying to obtain a building permit for foundation repair in the City of Seattle, you might notice that the process is not as straightforward as other jurisdictions in the region. The application also often takes longer to process when compared to other cities. The following is a breakdown of the process of obtaining a foundation repair license in Seattle.


The first step to acquiring a permit in Seattle is to conduct research and find out any property information that will help you plan your project. The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) have codes to determine any restrictions to your project such as building size limits, construction zones, and safety limits. When undertaking the research, you can look for information concerning zoning and environmental critical areas using the GIS map. While researching, you will also need to determine whether stormwater requirements apply to your project so that you can submit a complete and accurate application. You may also find out if you need a land-use permit, especially if your project is a multi-family unit. Land use permits take longer (usually 4 to 8 months-or longer) to review, and they must be submitted before handing in your construction permit application if they are deemed necessary for your project.

Commence Permit Application

Image Template - 2021-11-18T123048.167 After you complete the Building and Land Use pre-application online through the Seattle Services Portal, you will be required to upload a site plan and a comprehensive legal description of your site. If your project will utilize more than 750 square feet or disturb any environmentally critical area then you will need to schedule a pre-application site visit. During the application, if your site is located in an environmentally critical area or near the shoreline, then you can apply for exemptions. Small projects are also eligible for waivers, which you can apply for. Afterwards, you should prepare site plans that are to scale and easy to read. You will then be required to fill out application forms, depending on your permit type, project type and scope. There are other agencies that you may need permits or approvals from, and you must coordinate with them at this stage.

Submit Plans for Screening

As you submit your engineered plans through the Applicant Services Center, the plans and applications are screened to make sure that they are ready for submission. Once your plans have been screened, you will need to schedule an electronic intake appointment through the portal. It is mandatory that all application documents are uploaded by 7:00 a.m. on the day of your appointment. The Seattle officials usually take in your application within 2-3 weeks after you upload your complete application. In Seattle, most permits require a few cycles of jurisdictional review and plan revisions. An initial review is conducted and comments are issued in regards to plan revisions or any additional information. Most projects require 1-3 rounds of reviews and comments. You may be required to revise the plans and resubmit them for another review. Once all the reviews are done, you will receive an email informing you that your plan has been approved, at which point, you will be required to pay a percentage of the permit fees (often 75 percent).

Permit Issuance

You will receive a notification from the Seattle officials to pay any final fees before the issuance of your permit. Once all plans have been approved and all fees paid, you will be notified when your permit and approved plans are available in the Seattle Services Portal for printing. After printing your permit, you will be required to place it in a visible location on the project site. You may also need to get additional permits or approvals from other departments relating to your project. Your permit is usually valid for 18 months after the issue date, and if your project is taking longer than that, then you will need to apply for a renewal.

What is the Cost of Obtaining a Permit in Seattle?

In Seattle, determining the overall cost of obtaining your permit is not as forthright as in other cities. The total cost for your permit is determined by several factors such as the size and complexity of your project, the value of the work you are doing, any additional permits required for your project, inspection fees, and the duration it takes to review your application and plans. The SDCI Fee Estimator Worksheet enables you to calculate how much the total fees sum up to, and on several occasions, you will pay approximately 75 percent of your permit fees at intake. However, if your project qualifies for a Subject-to-Field-Inspection (STFI) permit, you will only need to pay 40 percent of the plan review fees. Ensure that you provide detailed information for the best estimate of your permit costs.

Which Type of Projects Does Not Require a Permit?

Image Template - 2021-11-18T123144.046 Even though most projects in Seattle require a permit, some do not need one. However, your project still must meet all building code requirements and development standards even if they do not require a permit. Minor repairs that cost $6,000 or less in any six months’ period do not require a permit. The $6,000 limit is based on the fair market value of labor and materials, even if you decide to DIY. Any repairs or remodel work on load-bearing supports, changes to the building envelope, and work that reduces egress, light, ventilation or fire resistance necessitate a permit no matter how small the project. Unless your project is in an environmentally critical area, projects that do not require a permit include, but are not limited to:

  • Painting or cleaning the exterior or interior of a building.
  • Re-pointing a chimney.
  • Installing and refurbishing kitchen cabinets.
  • Patio and concrete slabs on grade.
  • Adding insulation to existing buildings.
  • Abatement of hazardous materials.
  • Paneling or other surface finishes over existing walls and ceilings.
  • Limited in kind or similar replacement of deteriorated parts of a structure.
  • Constructing a one-story detached accessory building such as a tool or storage shed, greenhouse, playhouse, or similar building if the projected roof area is less than 120 square feet and the building foundation is only a slab on grade.
  • Retaining walls and rockeries not over 4 feet in height from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall.
  • Construction of arbors or other open-framed landscape structures not exceeding 120 square feet in area.
  • Fences less than 8 feet high and without any concrete or masonry elements higher than 6 feet.
  • Platforms, walkways, and driveways less than 18 inches above grade and not over a basement or other building story.
  • Repair and/or replacement of roofing and sliding in detached single-family or two-family dwelling units if no changes are made to the building envelope and the work done is as good as the existing structure.
  • Installing dish and panel antennas 2 meters or less in diameter or diagonal measurement.
  • Removing or replacing underground storage tanks that are subject to regulation by a state or federal agency. A Seattle Fire Department permit is required to remove, replace and decommission underground storage tanks.

Before doing any repairs to your property, it is wise to find out which works require permits and those that do not to avoid any inconveniences once the work commences.

What are the Requirements for Getting a Permit in Seattle?

Image Template - 2021-11-18T123319.587 Before proceeding with any repairs to a failing foundation or any structural failures, you must obtain an inspection report and afterwards a residential repair permit. You will also need mechanical, plumbing, and electrical permits. You will also need to submit detailed and easy-to-read site plans through the Seattle Services Portal. The site plans must be stamped by a licensed architect or engineer for approval. You will then follow the permit application procedure and pay the required fees. When you partner with competent foundation repair contractors such as Regional Foundation Repair, we can help you with the permit application and also the delivery of exceptional standard repairs.

How Can a Foundation Repair Expert Help?

Image Template - 2021-11-18T123210.377 As an owner, you may decide to go through the process of obtaining a license on your own, and this is okay. If you choose this approach, Seattle Department of Construction & Inspection county officials will assist you as much as reasonably possible. However, it is highly recommended that you work with qualified and licensed professionals such as Regional Foundation Repair. In Seattle, fully prepared applications are required for all plan review projects. By working with us, you may fast-track the entire process because well-prepared plans have a much higher chance of being reviewed quickly and require fewer corrections. When you partner with us, we understand that it is essentially our responsibility to secure the permit on behalf of our clients and offer value for your money. If applications are made by registered building contractors with proof of license, then you can rest assured that the permits will be processed sooner rather than later. For projects with complex structural elements, involve variances, or are located in an ECA or shoreline, we will get all structural engineers’ reports and architects’ stamps. At Regional Foundation Repair, our clients are our top priority and we ensure that you receive exceptional service when partnering with us. We repair your foundations and even upgrade them to current standards while adhering to all Seattle building code requirements and development standards, increasing the value of your home in the process. Contact us today and let us handle your foundation repair needs. We stand by all our repairs and offer a lifetime warranty for all repairs done. You can relax while you let us handle everything including any permits and documentation.

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Sam Smith Foundation Repair Consultant
SHORT BIO: Hey, I'm Sam Smith. I'm one of our service techs here at Regional Foundation Repair. I'm here to help you learn more about your home's foundation. I've been doing this for a while, so I have a few insider tips and tricks to share!

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