Special Inspections

What Is It?

For some types of construction you are required to get special inspections. Special inspections are in addition to inspections performed by our inspectors. Your project reviewer determines which special inspection items are needed during review of your permit application. Required special inspections often include structural or geotechnical inspections.

The special inspection agency evaluates aspects of construction that are critical to structural safety, site stability, and environmental conditions. The special inspection agency also confirms that the work is built according to the plans we approved. All structural special inspectors must be certified by the Washington Association of Building Officials. Geotechnical special inspectors must be the Geotechnical Engineer of Record for the project, and they must be a licensed professional engineer in the state of Washington with at least 4 years of experience in a responsible geotechnical engineering position.

How Much Does It Cost?

The project owner selects and pays the special inspection agency. (The contractor cannot pay for special inspections.) We charge a one-hour fee when we issue your permit to review reports and letters, address construction issues, and close out the special inspections. We charge and bill the project owner for additional time at our hourly rate if necessary.

Steps of the Special Inspection Program

  • When we review your plan during your permit application, we identify what parts of your construction project require special inspections. You will receive a special inspection nomination form with a list of items to be inspected.
  • You nominate a special inspection agency and return the signed nomination form to your project reviewer.
  • After we issue your permit, we will send you a Special Inspection Authorization Letter with the name of the special inspection agency and the list of items to be inspected. After you receive the Special Inspection Authorization letter, you (or your representative), your contractor, and the special inspector will attend a pre-construction meeting to discuss the project.
  • The special inspector writes a field report after each site visit and uploads it to the Seattle Services Portal. The special inspector notifies us by telephone or email of construction concerns that need immediate attention.
  • At the end of construction, the special inspector writes a “final letter” detailing how you addressed each of the special inspection items on the Special Inspection Authorization Letter. The special inspector uploads the final letter to the Seattle Services Portal.
  • We review the final letter. We will either accept the final letter or request clarification or more information. We must accept the final letter before the building permit can be completed.


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
Contact Us

Newsletter Updates


Sign up for the latest updates from Construction and Inspections

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.