Construction Permit - Subject-to-Field-Inspection

What Is It?

A subject-to-field-inspection permit is a construction permit for small projects that meet certain criteria. We don’t have as many plan requirements for subject-to-field-inspection permits because of the simplicity of the work. Examples of common projects that qualify for this permit include constructing a detached garage, remodeling a portion of your house, constructing a small single-story addition to your house, and interior non-structural alterations to an existing commercial space. Learn how to get a building permit.

Find out if your project qualifies for this type of permit:

How Much Does It Cost?

Fees are based on the value of your project and are due when you receive your permit. All fees are subject to an additional technology fee. See our Fee Subtitle for details.

How Long Does It Take?

We issue STFI permits through the Seattle Services Portal. For information on how to apply for your STFI Building Permit read How to Submit a Construction Subject to Field Inspection Application.

We will review your plans to make sure they qualify for a STFI permit and comply with the land use code. If your project exceeds what is allowed under a STFI permit we will give you directions for how to apply for a regular building permit. We may contact you and request more information or ask you to complete required forms. This application and screening process takes a few days. Once everything is in order and fees are paid, we issue the permit document and a copy of the stamped approved plans electronically in the project portal. You print them out and have them available for the field inspections. Your building inspector will review building code requirements on site during these inspections.

Steps to Get Your Permit

Get your property information. Find property information to help you plan your project.

Note: If your project is in a commercial or multifamily building, you need to confirm that you will not change the use (such as retail, restaurant, dance hall, or warehouse) and occupancy of your space in order to qualify for a subject-to-field-inspection permit. You can confirm this by finding the most recent permit that established a use and occupancy for the space in the Microfilm Library.

Determine restrictions to your project. Research our codes to determine building size limits and construction and life safety requirements.

Attend a coaching session. We offer 20 minutes of free video coaching through the Applicant Services Center to answer drainage, land use, geotechnical, or construction permit questions. If you need a longer coaching session, we offer one-hour sessions for a fee.

Start your application. Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services Portal. You will need to upload a site plan and a complete legal description for your site.

Request a pre-application site visit. You need a pre-application site visit if you will disturb more than 750 square feet of land or disturb any land on a site with an environmentally critical area. Request a pre-application site visit online through your Seattle Services Portal. Our report will include information about your site conditions and additional requirements.

If you will disturb more than 750 square feet of land, your project will require an Addition or Alteration permit. If you will disturb any land on a site with an environmentally critical area, your project will probably require an Addition or Alteration permit. Visit the Applicant Services Center for coaching.

Apply for exemptions. You may need an exemption from code requirements if your project is located in an environmentally critical area or near the shoreline.

Prepare your plans. Plans should be to scale and easy to read. Your plans should clearly show all the existing conditions and all of your proposed alterations.

Fill out forms.

Coordinate with other agencies. You may need permits or approvals from other agencies. These are the most common agencies you may need to work with for your permit type:

Submit your application. Sign in to your Seattle Services Portal, click on your project number (under My Records), and upload your application materials and plans. We will review your plans to  make sure they are complete and meet the criteria for a subject-to-field-inspection permit. If changes are needed, we may ask you to revise your plans and submit them again. 

Pay fees. Most of your permit fees are due at intake. The fees are calculated based on your project value.

Pay final fees. We will notify you if you need to pay any final fees before we issue your permit. 

Print your permit. We will notify you when we have issued your permit and the documents are available in your Seattle Services Portal. Print the permit and approved plan set.

Display your permit. Place your permit in a visible location on the project site.

Get related permits. You may need to get additional permits or approvals from other departments.

Renew your permit. Your permit is valid for 18 months after the issue date. If your project is taking longer than that, you need to apply for a renewal.

Request an inspection. See the construction inspection page for when to call us and how to schedule your inspection.

Close your permit. Your permit information will be archived in our electronic document management system.

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.