Earthquake Home Retrofit Permit

What Is It?

We want to help you to protect your home against earthquake damage by speeding up the application process for Earthquake Home Retrofit Permits (also known as Project Impact). We also provide you with suggestions, called prescriptive plan sets, on how to retrofit your home. These plan sets help you obtain the Earthquake Home Retrofit Permit quickly and easily. They also eliminate the need to hire a design professional to develop drawings. If your project does not meet the requirements of our prescriptive plan set, you can also submit a voluntary seismic retrofit designed by an engineer.

Our home retrofit plans address common locations of earthquake damage to single-family homes by following the ABC of home earthquake retrofits: anchor the home to a foundation; brace the wall between the foundation and the first floor; and connect that wall to first floor framing.

How Much Does It Cost?

Our fees are based on your estimated value of work, labor, and materials. Earthquake Home Retrofit projects that use our prescriptive plan set qualify for reduced permit fees.

How Long Does It Take?

We usually do our initial review of Earthquake Home Retrofit Permits in two weeks. If your retrofit is designed by an engineer, your project may qualify for a subject-to-field-inspection permit. Subject-to-field-inspection permits are issued over the counter on the day you apply if you apply in person, or within a few days if you apply electronically.

Steps to Get Your Permit

Determine if your house qualifies. Complete the checklist in the How to Complete the Home Assessment Checklist booklet to see if you can use prescriptive plan sets to retrofit your home. If your home does not qualify, you can still do seismic retrofitting, but you will need to work with a structural engineer.

Start your application. Complete the Building & Land Use Pre-Application online using the Seattle Services Portal. You will need to upload a site plan and a complete legal description for your site.

Prepare your plans. Follow the instructions in the Guide to Completing an Earthquake Retrofit Plan for Wood-frame Residential Buildings to prepare your plan sets. If you submit a voluntary seismic retrofit designed by an engineer, your plans will need to be stamped by an engineer and include a location plan, foundation and framing plan, structural notes, and structural details.

Submit your plans. You need to submit your plans 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 an engineer prepared your home retrofit plans, you may submit them as a subject-to-field-inspection permit. Otherwise, you can submit your plans for screening after uploading all your plans and documents. If all looks good, we will process your plans and you can pay your fees.

Pay fees. You pay most of your fees when you submit your application.

Pay final fees. We will notify you if you need to pay any final fees before we issue your permit.

Print your permit. We will notify you when we have issued your permit and the documents are available in your Seattle Services Portal. Print the permit and approved plan.

Display your permit. Place your permit in a visible location on the project site.

Get related permits. You may need to get additional permits or approvals from other departments.

Know when to call. We need to inspect your project:

  • At the time of first ground disturbance
  • Before you pour the foundation
  • Before you cover the framing
  • After you install insulation
  • After you complete your construction
  • For plumbing work
  • For electrical work
  • For side sewer work
  • When you are working with water service lines

Contact us. Call our 24-hour inspection request line at (206) 684-8900 before 7:00 a.m. on the day you need the inspection. You can also request an inspection online.

Close your permit. Your permit information will be archived in our electronic document management system.

Schedule a final building inspection. See the construction inspections page for when to call us and how to schedule your inspection.