Message From the Director

Nathan Torgelson, SDCI DirectorI am honored to serve as the director of the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections under the leadership of Mayor Bruce Harrell. My commitment is to carry out the Mayor's vision of One Seattle; a Seattle where we embrace our differences and celebrate our commonality.  

SDCI is committed to an anti-racist work environment. We made strides over the past two years by creating an Anti-Racist Taskforce and continuing the critical work of the Race and Social Justice Change Team. We implemented pay equity in SDCI for non-represented positions through a commitment to provide equal compensation for work in the same classification. Data showed that there were disparate impacts for BIPOC and female identifying employees in pay in these positions. We have started forums for BIPOC employees and for white allies to discuss how we can advance an anti-racist work environment. The pandemic and the civil rights reckoning has been a wakeup call and has given us a platform to advance this work with focused purpose.  

During the pandemic, the Seattle Services Portal (Accela) online permitting platform has allowed us to seamlessly accept, review, and issue permits with so many staff working remotely. SDCI continues to make improvements to be more customer service friendly using a virtual format.  

In December 2021, SDCI launched a pilot virtual Applicant Services Center, where members of the public and applicants can live-chat with a staff member and talk to a live person online to help answer questions and resolve permit issues. Our goal is to replicate online all services that were physically provided on the 20th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower. We know that some members of the public do not have online resources, and we continue to explore how in-person services at the Seattle Municipal Tower will be provided post COVID. Our Design Review board and public meetings continue to be virtual, which allow you to comment and follow specific projects from the comfort of your homes. We are exploring how public meetings can continue to be virtual post pandemic while allowing online access in public venues for members of our community who do not have online access in their homes.  

I encourage you to explore our Shaping Seattle website which now includes properties registered under our Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance program, in addition to code compliance cases and all active development projects in Seattle - including Design Review projects. 

We continue to work in partnership with multiple City departments on implementing the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) requirements to ensure that everyone can have a home in Seattle. At SDCI we make sure affordable housing permit applications get top priority. We also oversee a variety of tenant protections to make sure that renters in Seattle have a safe place to live. Our Renting in Seattle web portal and (206) 684-5700 phone number is a one-stop resource for renters and landlords. With Council passage of the revised regulations to promote more development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and detached accessory dwelling units (DADUs), we have ten standard DADU plans which significantly expedite their permitting process. For our residents in Seattle who want to better understand a proposed project or policy change, or understand how to file a code complaint, please check our What's Happening in Your Neighborhood webpage to help you better navigate our web presence. A majority of our work involves the construction, inspection, and use of buildings and lands, but it's the people who live and work in and use those buildings and land that drive our purpose. We're here to help our customers and the people who live and work in our city navigate our complex regulatory process. 

I appreciate your patience as we continue to experience robust permitting activity, despite COVID. 

Our purpose statement is our commitment to you: Helping people build a safe, livable, and inclusive Seattle.

Our values are equity, respect, quality, integrity, and service.

Please let us know how we are doing. We welcome and value your input.

Nathan Torgelson, Director
(206) 684-0343

Annual Report

Our 2020 Annual Report covers our permitting activity, code compliance work, and department highlights.