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Do you need a permit?

Find out if you need a permit for your project. 

Permits we offer in unincorporated King County

Building permits

Apply for a building permit if your project includes any of the following on a building or structure:

  • Changing the occupancy
  • Constructing
  • Enlarging
  • Altering
  • Repairing
  • Moving
  • Demolishing


You do not need a permit for:

  • A storage shed with a floor area of 200 square feet or less, as an accessory to a residential house or for agricultural use
  • Fences 6 feet high or less
  • Most retaining walls 4 feet high or less
  • Replacement of roofing or siding for detached one and two-family houses
  • Uncovered decks that are 30 inches or less above the ground
  • Interior finishes (like carpet, hardwood flooring, tile, paint, and wallpaper)
  • Replacing windows with new windows
    • Bring life safety concerns such as basement egress windows to current code where possible with a permit.
  • Replacing doors with new doors  
  • Roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels that weigh less than 4 pounds per square foot on residences

Fire and special events permits

You need a fire system or event permit for:

  • Working on fire sprinklers, alarms, or fire department connections including:
    • Installing
    • Enlarging
    • Altering
    • Replacing
  • Putting up temporary tents or canopies that are larger than 400 square feet and certain special events
  • Firework stands and displays or shows

You may also need an operational permit for hazardous storage or assembly.

Land use

You need a land use/clearing and grading permit for the following:

  • Grading within a critical area.
  • Excavations greater than 5 feet deep or 100 cubic yards.
  • Any fill greater than 3 feet deep or 100 cubic yards.
  • Creation of more than 2,000 square feet of new impervious surface.
  • Hazard Trees
    • A tree is considered an "imminent hazard," if it could fail at any moment in an area often used by people. If this is true, the tree can be removed without a clearing permit as it is exempt per King County Code chapter 16.82. If you use the imminent hazard provision you should take before and after pictures, and keep them as a record of the removal.
    • If a tree is a "hazard," meaning it has disease, structural defect, lean, and it is not imminent, then the hazard needs to documented by a certified arborist and a clearing permit is required.


You need this permit if mechanical equipment is:

  • Installed
  • Enlarged
  • Moved
  • Replaced

Examples include installing a new:

  • Fireplace
  • Wood-burning stove.
  • Furnace
  • Air conditioner
  • Heat pump

Temporary use (gatherings/events)

You need a temporary use permit for uses, like gatherings or events, not usually permitted in a given zone.

This may be for limited times and/or frequencies. It could also be for limited expansion of any use otherwise allowed in the zone, but outside the scope of what the land was originally approved for.

Other agency permits

If you don’t see what you are looking for, you may be looking for other permits offered by other groups within or outside King County.

View other agency permits


Properties served by on-site sewage or septic systems

For all projects involving an on-site sewage (septic) system, our agency may require the submission of certain documents during the application intake process.

This includes projects such as:

  • New installations
  • Repairs or replacements
  • House or building remodels or expansions
  • Subdivisions
  • Boundary line adjustments
  • Rezones

The required documents include:

  • A copy of the approved On-Site Sewage Systems (Septic) Permit and site plan


  • A copy of the submitted On-Site Sewage System (Septic) Permit Application and site plan

Please note, if you are providing a copy of the Permit Application, it must contain the Public Health (PH) stamp, which signifies that your application has been received by Public Health.

To avoid any delays, please ensure that all required documents are included at the time of your building application. Your application may be considered incomplete without these documents.

For more information regarding your application requirements with Public Health, please visit or view:

King County Septic System Program

On-site sewage/septic systems

Public Health - Application for Health Department Approval of Building Permit