Demolition Permit - Building

What Is It?

You need a demolition permit to remove a commercial, institutional, or residential building with a dwelling unit(s). 

You don’t need a demolition permit if:

  • You're removing a one-story accessory structure with roof area less than 120 square feet, when the structure is built on either pier blocks or a slab on grade.
  • You're removing a structure, such as a detached garage, accessory to a single-family residence or duplex as part of a larger project. Removal of the accessory structure may be included in your construction permit. You do not need a separate demolition permit.
  • You're removing a portion of a building as part of an alteration, or you are removing all interior finishes and non-structural partitions often referred to as “soft demolition”. This work only requires a construction permit.

All demolition permits allow removal of one (1) single building. Multiple buildings on a site must be submitted as separate demolition permit applications.

Shoring requires a separate construction permit. If you have other construction work proposed, you may include the shoring work with the larger project, or you may submit it as a separate permit. Sometimes demolition of a building requires shoring to protect neighboring properties or the right-of-way. Reference the construction permit number that includes shoring on your demolition plans. You can include the shoring plans in your demolition permit, but they should be clearly marked as "for reference only." We will issue your demolition permit after your permit for shoring is issued.

All demolition permits require at least 15 days of rat abatement by a licensed pest control company immediately prior to the start of work.

Our land use code has special rules for demolition of housing. In some cases, we won't issue your demolition permit until we have issued your building or master use permit. If you’d like to deconstruct your building instead of demolishing it, you may be able to get a deconstruction permit before the building permit is issued.

How Much Does It Cost?

The fee for a demolition permit is 1.5 times the base fee per the current fee schedule, plus site inspection fees, a State surcharge, and any additional hourly review fees. All fees are subject to an additional technology fee. See our Fee Subtitle for details.

How Long Does It Take?

When the scope of demolition work requires plan review the total time it takes to get your permit will depend on how complex your project is, and how many corrections you need to make on your plans. We try to finish initial review of simple permit applications in 2-3 weeks (8 weeks for complex projects) from when you pay our intake fees. You will need to schedule an intake appointment. (See next available appointment times.) If you submit your application early, we'll add your project to the Intake Express Lane and your application will be taken in well ahead of your scheduled appointment. We can usually take in your application within 2-3 weeks after you upload your complete application.

If your plans require corrections, we recommend planning for 4 weeks per correction cycle (2 weeks for you to respond to corrections and 2 weeks for us to review the changes). Our final review usually takes one week.

If the scope of your demolition work includes:

  • Less than 5,000 square feet land disturbing activity
  • No associated TRAO requirements
  • No mapped environmental critical areas (ECA)
  • No other conditions that require plan review

You may be able to get a subject-to-field-inspection demolition permit, which is issued shortly after you apply. Your project may qualify if your plans clearly show:

  • Demolition meets land use code requirements
  • SEPA is not required
  • Tree protection is shown
  • Demolition of housing requirements are met
  • Excavation will be contained on the site using one of the methods below:
    • Excavation to remove foundations will not exceed 4 feet in depth
    • Excavation to remove foundations can be contained on the site with all cuts at a 45-degree slope
    • For single family or duplex demolition only: One-story basement walls and slab will remain in place during demolition. Removal of the basement walls and slab must be included in a construction permit to follow. Reference the construction permit number on demolition plans.
  • Delineation of the limits of all ground disturbance less than 5,000 square feet on the site plan and include a Small Demolition Construction Stormwater Control Soil Management Plan in your plan set

To apply for a subject-to-field-inspection permit, follow our step-by-step instructions:

If you have questions about your application, contact an SDCI Staff via our online help center.

Steps to Get Your Permit

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

Determine restrictions to your project.

  • Contact the Department of Neighborhoods Preservation Program to determine your building’s landmark status. If your building is a designated landmark or in a historic or in a special district, you may need a certificate of approval.
  • If you’re demolishing housing, find out if you need to provide relocation assistance for tenants.
  • Find out if environmental review is required for your project under environmentally critical area, State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), or Seattle SEPA regulations. If environmental review is required, you need to apply for a land use SEPA permit before we can issue your demolition permit.
  • Determine whether you have met the requirements concerning asbestos and lead removal.

Research Stormwater Code requirements: We may require a drainage review of your project. You need to determine whether stormwater requirements apply to your project to submit a complete and accurate application.

Find incentives for your project. Research the City's different incentives that might apply to your project.

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 with hourly fees applied.

Start your application. Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services Portal. You will need to include a preliminary site plan with the form. If demolition is part of a larger project, you can submit one pre-application form and we will create separate construction and demolition permit numbers. If you will be demolishing more than one building (other than accessory buildings), submit a pre-application form for each building.

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 the Seattle Services Portal. Our report will include information about your next steps, what to include in your plans, and what to provide at your intake appointment.

Prepare your plans. Your demolition plan set must include a site plan as described in Tip 103. Your site plan needs to show the structure to be removed and existing trees with tree protection. If demolition is part of a larger project, the plans for other work should be clearly marked as "for reference only" or left out of this plan set. Plans should be to scale and easy to read.

If you will disturb less than 5,000 square feet of area, include a Small Demolition Construction Stormwater Control Soil Management Plan in your plan set.

If you will disturb 5,000 or more square feet of area, include a Standard Construction Stormwater Control and Soil Amendment Plan in your plan set. You may also need to include a Standard Drainage and Wastewater Control Plan, depending on the complexity of your site.

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:

Schedule an intake appointment. Schedule an intake appointment through your Seattle Services Portal. You must upload all application documents by 7:00 a.m. on the day of your appointment. You do not need to be onsite during your intake appointment. However, you do need to be available for questions. We may call or email you on your appointment day for more information.

If the demolition is part of a larger project, schedule separate intake appointments for your demolition and construction permits. If you will be demolishing more than one building (other than accessory buildings), schedule an intake appointment for each building.

Tip: Submit your completed application early to be eligible for an earlier appointment in case of a cancellation. Once you submit your application, we'll add your project to The Intake Express Lane. This means your application will likely be taken in well ahead of your scheduled appointment. We can usually take in your application within 2-3 weeks after you upload your complete application. For more information, read How Can I Get in the Intake Express Lane?

Pay fees. You will need to pay the demolition fee (1.5 times the base fee per the current fee schedule) at intake. You will pay all other fees when we issue the permit.

Make corrections and resubmit your plans. Your project reviewer will send you a corrections letter if changes are needed.

Pay fees. You will need to pay all outstanding fees before we issue your permit.

Print permit. You will be contacted when your plans are approved. You can print your permit and approved plans from your Seattle Services Portal.

Display your permit and plans. Place your permit in a visible location on the project site. You need to have copies of your approved plans on site for the inspectors.

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 inspections 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.