Apr. 3 2020

Do You Need a Permit For Your Remodel?

by Bennett Bottorff

One question I often get asked is, do I need a permit for a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project in Seattle?  And, if so, which ones and what do they cost? The answer to this question is probably.  More likely than not, permits will be required for your kitchen or bathroom remodeling project.

A better question may be, when are permits NOT required for a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project?  The city of Seattle does not require permits for minor repairs or alterations that cost a total of $6,000 or less and that occur over six months.  The $6,000 limit is based on the fair market value of labor and parts, regardless of whether or not you are doing the work yourself.

However, a permit is still required for work on load-bearing supports, updates to the building envelope, or work that reduces egress, light, ventilation, or fire resistance, even if the total cost is less than $6,000, regardless of how minor the project is.

Required Permits for a Kitchen or Bathroom Remodeling Project in The City of Seattle.

Plumbing Permit (~$300 – $600)

If you are simply swapping out your faucets and toilet for new ones, you probably won’t be required to get a plumbing permit, but that is where the line stops.  One common reason why a plumbing permit is required during a kitchen or bathroom remodel is that code now requires drains to be 2″ in diameter.  Drains lines on most Seattle, unless they are new or have been remodeled in the last twenty years, will have 1.5″ diameter drain lines. Odds are, if you live in Seattle and you are switching out your tub for a shower, you’ll need to upgrade to a 2″ drain to comply with code, and then you will need a plumbing permit. Other examples of when your remodeling project will require a plumbing permit is when you need to access plumbing that is behind the walls or when you are upgrading your plumbing from galvanized pipes to either copper or PEX.  For more information on how to acquire a Plumbing permit for King County, click here.

Electrical Permit (~$300 – $600)

An electrical permit and inspections are required any time electrical wiring is installed, altered, extended, or connected to any electrical equipment. The only exceptions are when you are simply swapping out the same type of light fixtures or electrical receptacles to a previously existing breaker. Uninspected electrical work could be a disaster waiting to happen, so keep your family and your neighbors safe by hiring a licensed electrician to assist you during your remodeling project. For more information on how to acquire an electrical permit for the City of Seattle, click here.

See also: Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. 

STFI Building Permit (~700 – $1,500)

Anytime your project requires either a plumbing or electrical permit; it’s more than likely is also going to require a building permit. Any major kitchen or bathroom remodel starts with opening the walls and floors to remove existing fixtures, flooring, and tile. This type of building permit is what Seattle calls an STFI or “Subject to field inspection” permit. For more information on how to acquire an STFI Building Permit with the City of Seattle, click here.

See also: Subject-to-Field-Inspection (STFI) Permits.

Street Use Permit (~$200)

Lastly, one permit that often gets overlooked, especially for smaller remodeling projects, is a Street Use Permit.  These allow for dumpsters and portlets. Unlike Plumbing, Electrical, and Build Permits, a Street Use Permit does not require any inspections. For more information on how to acquire a Street Use Permit, click here.

See also: How to Get a Building Permit.

We Are Here to Help

Have more questions? Let us take care of all the details and pull all the required permits for you.  That way, you know you are following all the rules and don’t have to worry about avoiding fines or worse!  In the short term, working with a licensed Design-Build firm like IHR may cost a little more, but it will pay off in the long term not to mention significantly reduce your risk.

At IHR, we believe that if you take the time to develop a detailed plan that clearly defines all expectations, your remodel is more likely to be on a budget, on schedule, and, best of all, a stress-free, enjoyable experience.  Contact us today for more information about permits or bathroom and kitchen remodels.

Confident First Step-1



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