Construction Without a Permit

See also: Land Use Code

What Is It?

A black man is told to stop work because he didn't have a permit.You need to get a permit for most construction projects that involve:

We may issue a stop work order against you if you start a building, addition, or remodeling project without a permit. If you build without a permit or fail to get a final inspection approval, we may fine you or take other enforcement action against you.

What It Isn’t

This page does not cover projects that do not need a permit; see Do You Need a Permit? You can find a list of permit exceptions in the Seattle Residential Code (SRC) and the Seattle Building Code (SBC).

Rules to Follow

Our ordinances require that you get a construction permit for projects that involve new construction, renovation, or alterations of buildings.

If you need help determining if you need a construction permit for your project, contact the Applicant Services Center to get help from a permit specialist. You will need:

  • The address
  • A sketch showing existing structures on the property, with dimensions and distances to property lines
  • A proposal of your project

Read the Code


If you build without a permit, you may be fined up to $500 per day.

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.