Message From the Director

Nathan Torgelson, SDCI Director

I am honored to serve as the director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections under the leadership of Mayor Bruce Harrell. My commitment is to carry out the Mayor's vision of One Seattle; a Seattle where we embrace our differences and celebrate our commonality.

In 2022 SDCI launched a Virtual Applicant Services Center, where members of the public and applicants can live-chat with a staff member and talk to a person online to help answer questions and resolve permit issues. Our goal is to replicate online all services that were physically provided on the 20th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower. We know that some members of the public do not have online resources, and, along with SDOT, we are now offering in-person assistance on the 4th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower near the other department service counters. Our Design Review board and public meetings continue to be virtual, which allow you to comment and follow specific projects from the comfort of your homes. Members of the public who do not have access to technology can now view the virtual public meetings in our offices on the 19th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower.

I encourage you to explore our Shaping Seattle website that includes properties registered under our Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance program, in addition to code compliance cases and all active development projects in Seattle - including Design Review projects.

SDCI is working in tandem with several City departments and the Mayor’s Office on how to increase and speed up production of housing in Seattle. We are working closely with the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) to encourage the conversion of underused office space to housing. At SDCI we make sure affordable housing permit applications get top priority. The City Council passed legislation last year that exempts all affordable housing projects (ownership and rental) from Design Review. In addition, the City Council passed temporary legislation that exempts projects from Design Review that provide their mandatory housing affordability (MHA) commitment onsite. Finally, last year the State passed legislation that exempts all projects that provide housing from SEPA review, until at least the adoption of Seattle’s updated Comprehensive Plan.

Along with OPCD we are looking at ways to increase the efficiency of the Design Review process while using a racial equity lens. We know that the Design Review process is not always accessible to underserved communities. SDCI oversees a variety of tenant protections to make sure that renters in Seattle have a safe place to live. Our Renting in Seattle web portal and (206) 684-5700 phone number is a one-stop resource for renters and landlords. We will continue to work with tenants and landlords in 2024 to ensure that State and local regulations for landlords and tenants are consistent. With Council passage of revised regulations to promote more development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and detached accessory dwelling units (DADUs), we have standard DADU plans which significantly expedite their permitting process. For our residents in Seattle who want to better understand a proposed project or policy change, or understand how to file a code complaint, please check our What's Happening in Your Neighborhood webpage to help you better navigate our web presence. A majority of our work involves the construction, inspection, and use of buildings and lands, but it's the people who live and work in and use those buildings and land that drive our purpose. We're here to help our customers and the people who live and work in our city navigate our complex regulatory process. We are also working with a variety of stakeholders to examine how to upgrade unreinforced masonry buildings (URMs) in Seattle, which house office workers and residents and are extremely vulnerable in the event of an earthquake.

SDCI is committed to an anti-racist work environment. We made strides over the past three years by creating an Anti-Racist Taskforce and continuing the critical work of the Race and Social Justice Change Team. We implemented pay equity in SDCI for non-represented positions through a commitment to provide equal compensation for work in the same classification. Data showed that there were disparate impacts for BIPOC and female-identifying employees in pay in these positions. We have started forums for BIPOC employees and for white allies to discuss how we can advance an anti-racist work environment. Ordinance 126799, adopted by the Council and approved by the Mayor in April 2023, provides a framework for us to continue this important work.

Our purpose statement is our commitment to you: Helping people build a safe, livable, and inclusive Seattle.

Our vision is: To set the standard for awesome local government service.

Our values are equity, respect, quality, integrity, and service.

Please let us know how we are doing. We welcome and value your input.

Nathan Torgelson, Director
(206) 684-0343

Annual Report

Our 2023 Annual Report covers our permitting activity, code compliance work, and department highlights.

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.