Permit FAQ

1. What are the office hours?

The Permit Center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4 pm.

After hours, leave a message and a representative of the Center will get back to you within 24 hours.

2. What do I need to know about the Development Moratorium?

Please visit the Moratorium on New Development for updates or download specific information regarding the moratorium.


3. Do I need an appointment or can I just walk into City Hall if I have questions?

We try to accommodate anyone who comes to City Hall with questions, although there is not a guarantee that the appropriate person will be available for you to speak with.

Please request an intake appointment for all Paper Submittals:

  • Building permit applications, including over the counter applications.
  • Revisions to an issued permit (originally submitted in paper)
  • Corrections to and existing application (originally submitted in paper)
  • Land Use applications

Building permits can now be submitted electronically at

4. How can I obtain help if I’m in the preliminary planning stages of my project?

If your project is located in a sensitive or critical area, large or a new residential or commercial structure you may need to submit for a Pre-Application meeting.

However, submitting for project guidance is a required prior to submitting for a Pre-Application meeting.


5. Do you have any handouts to help a homeowner with basic construction?

Yes. We recommend visiting for construction tip sheets and guidelines. We also have additional guidelines.

6. Can I demolish my existing house?

Yes. A demo permit is required.   Please note that structures in environmentally sensitive areas may need additional oversight/review.



7. When are permits required?

  • Most construction activities require a permit. For your own protection, and best interest, it is always wise to check with the Permit Center before beginning any construction, alterations or repair work. Failure to obtain a building permit could result in a fine or an order to stop work. SMC 16.20.195 “Permits Required”
  • SMC 16.20.200 “Work exempt from a permit”
  • Removal of any trees or grading/clearing of a property requires a tree removal permit or a clearing and grading permit.
    SMC 16.15.070 “Permit requirements”
  • Some construction activities (e.g. a new dock on Lake Sammamish, a riding arena, etc) may require a land use permit or approval prior to issuance of a building permit.

8. What is the maximum fence height without a permit?

Maximum height is 6 ft above grade.

9. What do I need to start the procedure for my permit?

Contact the Permit Center or a Permit Tech to go over the requirements for your specific project.

10. What projects do not require a building permit?

SMC16.20.200. “Work exempt from permit”

Exemptions from permit requirements of this code and Chapter 16.05 SMC shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code and Chapter 16.05 SMC or any other laws or ordinances of the city of Sammamish.

11. Are any permits available online?

Almost all permits can be submitted through

12. Are any permits available Over-the-Counter?

Yes, for new single family construction in a recorded plat using a registered plan.

13. Do I get all my permits through the City?

No, Electrical permits are issued through the MyBuildingPermit website.

14. What will my building permit cost?

The permit fee is based on the project valuation. Download the City's fee schedule for more information.

15. How do I find status/information about a permit when plan review is still in progress?

Check your permit status on the MyBuildingPermit website. If the information you need is not shown, please call the Permit Center for additional information.

16. Does the City have a Basics or Registered Plan process?

Yes, call our Permit Center and request a Pre-Application meeting to discuss the process. See the Registered Plan Program (Construction Guidelines #9).



17. When do I need an inspection?

After your building permit is issued, a City Building Inspector checks to make sure that your work is done according to code.

As a permit holder, you are required to arrange for each inspection. Building Inspections are requested online.

The required applicable inspections are listed on your Permit Inspection Card provide to you at the time of issuance by the City.

The City of Sammamish Building Division performs sequential visual inspection of work in progress that is under current city-issued Building, Plumbing, and Mechanical permits.

Do not cover or enclose any item without first having obtained an approved inspection by the City of Sammamish.

18. How do I schedule an inspection?

Regular building inspections are requested online and are scheduled as early as the next business day.

19. Can I find out when my inspection will be?

Inspections are scheduled in the morning the day of the inspection.  You can check the schedule here.

The order is subject to change without notice, due to cancellations or other unforeseen events. (Building permits and approved construction drawings are required to be on site for the inspection.) The city of Sammamish does not provide specific inspection times.

20. How can I help to make my inspection a successful one?

  • Arrange for access to area to be inspected.
  • Building permit is to be onsite and visible.
  • Approved construction drawings are to be readily accessible. Construction work pertaining to inspection is to be completed prior to inspector’s arrival.

21. Can more than one inspection be done on the same day?

Inspectors will only make one site visit per day. Call the inspector, prior to placing inspection request, to discuss feasibility of inspecting more than one scope of work during the inspection appointment. Call City Hall at 425-295-0500.

22. How do I check the status of an inspection?

Check inspection status here.  

The inspection results can also be determined by looking at the on-site permit record: if the inspection line is signed, this signifies approval.

If the line is not signed, and a Correction Notice has been left on site, this indicates additional work is to be completed prior to sign-off of inspection.



23. Are there starting and stopping times for construction?

Yes, construction times as allowed per Sammamish Municipal Code, section 16.05.030 are as follows:

  • Monday through Friday: 7:00 am to 8:00 PM.
  • Saturday and Holidays: 9:00 am to 6:00 PM
  • Sundays: No construction.

24. Will a minor change in design require a permit revision?

In most cases, the answer is “yes.” Any change in foot print, wall configuration, or roof design requires a permit revision applied for through our Permit Center.

There are a few instances when the “revision” can be a field approved revision which does not require additional fees or review time for a permit “revision.”

The revisions that can typically be approved in the field are: a change in post or beam species or type, i.e. Parallam instead of Glulam beam; footing size; window header size, window size, etc.

These changes would typically required beam/gravity calcs to verify new sizing, and, if original structure was designed by an engineer, the changes would be required to be accompanied by a letter of approval of changes with original signature and wet-stamp of engineer of record.

25. How do I get my Certificate of Occupancy?

  • Residential (Structures approved under the International Residential Code): the permit inspection card with the “final inspection” approval signature becomes your certificate of occupancy.
  • All new structures or commercial structures involving a change of use require a certificate of occupancy: The completed/finalized inspection card will act as your certificate of occupancy until the official Certificate of Occupancy is provided (usually within 5 working days).



26. When do I need to hire an engineer? My project is quite simple.

Due to the potential of earthquake hazard in Washington most homes and additions require engineering.

Where structural elements do not meet the conventional construction requirements of the International Residential Code, those elements must be designed in accordance with accepted engineering practice.

One key item concerns the amount of solid walls in the structure. (See Construction Guidelines #2 - Braced Walls Continuous w/Openings)

27. Can I use engineering created for a project outside of Sammamish, for the same structure in Sammamish?

No, not unless the engineer of record provides a letter confirming that the calculations are also applicable to the specific site of proposed construction in Sammamish.

Engineering for projects in the city of Sammamish is required to be site specific.

28. What are the design criteria for projects in Sammamish?

  • Ground Snow Load: 25 lb.
  • Wind Speed: 110 mph
  • Seismic Design Category: D2
  • Weathering: Moderate
  • Frost Line Depth: 12 in.
  • Winter Design Temp.: 26o F.
  • Air Freezing Index: 145
  • Mean Annual Temp.: 50o F.
  • Wind Exposure Categories:
  • Upland: Exposure B
  • Beaver and Pine Lakes: Exposure B
  • Lake Sammamish: Exposure C
  • Kzt is site specific (ASCE 7-10, Sec. 26.8)
  • Assumed Soil Bearing: 1500 psf (geotechnical verification is required for soil bearing greater than 1500 psf)
  • Concrete strength: exposed and exterior concrete is required to be 3000 psi minimum due to moderate weathering potential in Sammamish. (IRC Table R402.2 IBC Table 1904.2.2)



29. Where can I build on my property?

The City does not directly regulate where a house or other structures is built on your property; location of buildings is regulated by protection of specific features as follows:

  • All lots within the City will have an “interior” setback (i.e. a back yard and side yard setback) of between 5 feet and 7 feet from property lines, and a street setback of 10 feet to 20 feet from the edge of the street right-of-way.
  • All lots within the City have a maximum impervious surface (i.e. a maximum amount of area covered by house, driveway, outbuildings, patios, etc.) of 30 to 70% of the lot area.
  • Some lots within the City are constrained by environmentally critical areas (e.g. streams, wetlands, steep slopes, etc), which normally require a minimum buffer and setback. Depending on the type and quality of the critical area, the combined buffer and setback may range from 30 feet to 230 feet. Please note: environmentally critical areas and buffers extend across property lines.

30. How do I split my lot into two or more lots?

The first step is to schedule a pre-application conference with the city of Sammamish to discuss the proposed “short subdivision” or “subdivision” (short subdivisions create a total of four or fewer lots). The pre-application conference form is available here.

A conceptual map of the proposed new lots should accompany the form, along with a fee.

At the pre-application conference, the City will go over the subdividing process, identify “next steps” for the applicant, discuss expected design “issues”, and provide answers to property owner questions.

31. How long does it take to split my lot into two or more lots?

On average, subdivisions and short subdivisions require slightly more than one year to receive preliminary approval with conditions.

A public comment period, public appeal period, and a public hearing (for a subdivision) are included in this timeline.

Time required for the applicant to respond to City requests for information is also included in this time; generally the permit is under review at the City between 120 and 180 days.

Following preliminary approval of the subdivision or short subdivision, the applicant will need to install basic infrastructure for the proposed lots prior to recording the lots for sale or development.

32. How many lots can I create from my property?

The maximum number of lots that can be created is dependent upon four basic items:

  • Zoning of the lot (for example, R-4 zoning allows for 4 dwelling units per net acre; R-6 zoning allows for 6 dwelling units per acre)
  • Gross area of the lot
  • Presence of environmentally critical areas and buffers on the property. Please note: environmentally critical areas and buffers extend across property lines.
  • Required installation of public or private streets.

Lot yield is calculated by deducting environmentally critical areas and buffers, and public/private streets from the gross lot area.

The remaining lot area (i.e. the net area of the lot) is multiplied by the zoned density (e.g. 4 dwelling units per acre) to calculate lot yield.

33. Can I build my garage on my property line?

No, garages (and all buildings) are subject to building setbacks (see response to FAQ #28).




34. When is a geological report required?

  • Geotechnical report must be provided when the following site conditions exist:
    • Soil bearing is assumed at other than 1500 PSF.
    • Proposed structure will be placed on a lot bordering a body of water, lakes, streams etc., i.e. Lake Sammamish, Beaver Lake, and Pine Lake.
    • Proposed structure will be placed on or adjacent to a steep slope.
    • Proposed structure will be placed in a sensitive or critical area which may include coal mine/erosion hazards, flood hazards, landslide hazards, steep slope hazards, wetlands, streams and seismic hazard areas.
  • Provide a geotechnical report prepared by a Washington State Licensed Geotechnical, Geological or Structural Engineer to include original signature and wet stamp of engineer.
    • To include original signature and wet stamp of engineer, Geological, Geotechnical, Structural.





  • Drainage review is required when the project triggers the thresholds of SMC 13.20.020. This includes projects located in a critical drainage area, projects proposing 2,000 square feet or more of new and replaced impervious surface, projects that disturb 7,000 square feet or more of land, and projects that construct or modify a 12-inch pipe.



  • Impervious surface is a hard surface that either prevents or retards the entry of water into the soil mantle. The full definition is in SMC 13.10. Examples of impervious surfaces include roof, walkways, patios, decks, and driveways (including permeable pavement and gravel).



  • Critical drainage areas are defined in SMC 21A.15.255. This includes landslide hazard drainage areas, Beaver Lake drainage subbasin, and Pine Lake drainage subbasin. See the landslide hazard drainage area layer on the Sammamish Property Tool and view the Water Quality map on the Maps and GIS Data webpage for the drainage subbasins.



  • A civil engineer is required for projects located in critical drainage areas. A civil engineer is also required when Targeted or Full drainage review is required in accordance with the applicable King County Surface Water Design Manual.



  • A Right-of-Way (ROW) use permit is required for any activity that occurs in the right-of-way, significantly impacts traffic, or constructs or modifies infrastructure in the ROW. Reference SMC 14.30 for requirements and the Right-of-Way Use Permits page for application information.





Permit Center

Hours: 8:30 am - 4 pm, Monday - Friday
Phone: 425-295-0500
Fax: 425-295-0600