Permit Requirements

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Explore below to see examples of when permits are required for commercial and residential projects.

Examples of work requiring commercial and multifamily permits include:

Site development, building systems installation or modifications, utility installations or modifications, and construction work where a building or structure is erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished.

Residential permits are required for new structures, like houses, and systems, like furnaces and heat pumps. We often receive questions about permit requirements for residential improvements and repairs like:

Additions

A permit with plan review is required for adding new square footage to existing structures—including adding a second story, changing the slope of a roof, and adding dormers. Visit our building permits page for more information.

Appliances

A permit is required to move an appliance if it will require installing or modifying gas lines, water lines, drains, vents, or electrical circuits. We do not require a permit for replacing an appliance with a similar appliance in the same location. Examples are dishwashers, range tops, ovens, gas logs, washers, and dryers. Visit our electrical, mechanical, and plumbing permits page for more information.

Bathroom and Kitchen Fixtures

A permit is required to install a new fixture or move an existing fixture that requires installing or modifying existing water lines, drains, or vents. We do not require a permit for replacing a fixture with a similar fixture in the same location, such as wash basins, toilets, bidets, and laundry tubs. Showers and bathtubs require permits. Visit our electrical, mechanical, and plumbing permits page for more information.

Carport Structures

A permit with plan review is required for a new carport and for converting an existing carport or garage into a living area. Visit our building permits page for more information.

Decks

A permit is not required for installing or repairing a deck that is less than 30 inches above the ground. A permit with plan review is required for installing, repairing, replacing, and adding to decks where the highest walking surface is more than 30 inches above the ground. A permit is required for repairs to existing deck or porch handrails and stairs. Visit our building permits page for more information.

Dock Repairs and Additions

A permit with plan review is required for the repairing, replacing, enlarging, or adding to an existing dock or installing a new dock. These are more complicated permits that require review that can take several months and/or include outside agency approval. Visit our building permits page for more information.

Doors, Skylights, and Windows

A permit with plan review is required for installing or moving an exterior door, skylight, or window, including making an existing window wider. No permit is required for replacements of the same size in the same location. Visit our building permits page for more information.

Driveways

A clearing & grading permit with plan review may be required for the installation of a new driveway or the removal and replacement of an existing driveway, subject to the amount of excavation or earth disturbance. A new driveway or change in the location of an existing driveway also requires a right of way permit.

Electrical Circuits and Service

A permit is required for adding or moving electrical circuits and for changes to the service panel. Visit our electrical permits page for more information.

Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations

A permit is required to install a charging station. Visit our electrical permits page for more information.

Emergency Work

An emergency is defined as affecting a basic human need such as shelter, heat, and sanitation. We do not require a permit before getting an emergency repaired.

However, you must obtain a permit for that work on the first City of Bellevue work day after the work started. Common examples are replacing broken hot water heaters and furnaces.

Fences

A permit is not required for a fence unless it is over 8 feet tall. However, fences over 4½ feet often cannot be located in front- yard setbacks.

Fire Suppression Systems

A permit with plan review is required for installing or modifying a fire suppression system. A water service application is required if a larger water meter is needed.

Fireplaces, Wood burning Stoves & Inserts

A permit is required for installing a zero- clearance fireplace, fireplace insert, pellet stove, and similar devices. Visit our mechanical permits page for more information.

Furnaces

A permit is required for installing, moving, or replacing a furnace and/or heat pump and for extending or replacing ductwork. Visit our mechanical permits page for more information.

Garages

A permit with plan review is required for a new attached or detached garage and for converting a garage into living space. Visit our building permits page for more information.

Garden Fountains, Decorative Pools

A permit is not required for installing or moving garden fountains or decorative pools (less than 24” deep) on lots not subject to the Critical Areas Overlay District. A permit is required for installing or moving a garden hose bib or drinking fountain.

Gas Piping

A permit is required for installing a new gas line or modifying an existing line. Examples are fireplace logs, barbecues, cook tops, and gas hot water tanks. Visit our mechanical permits page for more information.

Home Businesses

A permit is required for certain types of businesses conducted from your home. This permit requires review and may take several months. Other types of business-related work in your home do not require a permit but require Tax Office registration. Learn more about home businesses.

Home Security Systems

A permit is required for installing a home intrusion alarm. A permit is not required for a wireless security system with a plug-in transformer.

Hydronic Systems

A permit is required for system installation.

Interior-Only Remodels

A permit is required for a remodel that changes the interior of the house without disturbing structural elements, such as creating new walls or converting basements to living areas. A water service application is required if a larger water meter is needed. Visit our building permits page for more information.

Kitchen Cabinets & Countertops

A building permit is not required for replacing kitchen cabinets or countertops. A plumbing and/or electrical permit may be required if there will be plumbing and/or electrical work. Visit our electrical, mechanical, and plumbing permits page for more information.

Landscaping Work

A permit is not required for landscaping unless the total of amount of excavation or fill dirt exceeds 50 cubic yards, or the total amount of earth disturbance exceeds 1,000 square feet, or your property contains critical areas (steep slopes, wetlands, streams, etc). If the thresholds are exceeded, a permit is required and may trigger SEPA requirements. Learn more about clearing and grading permits.

Lawn Irrigation Systems

A permit is required for the backflow prevention device on a lawn or garden irrigation system. The installer must be on the state list of approved installers.

Low Voltage Systems

A permit is not required for low voltage telephone or data lines. In addition, we do not require a permit for a low voltage system with a plug-in transformer.

Mother-in-law Apartments (Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs)

Approval is required for an interior accessory dwelling unit. This review takes several weeks. If you are making modifications to your home to create an accessory unit, we also require a building permit and plan review. A water service application is required if a separate water meter is needed. Learn more about accessory dwelling units and accessory dwelling unit inspections.

Patios

A permit is not required for on-grade patio installation or repair unless the earthwork is above certain thresholds--provided the lot is not subject to the Critical Areas Overlay District.

Pavers

A permit is not required for installing driveway or garden pavers unless the earthwork is above certain thresholds— provided the lot is not subject to the Critical Areas Overlay District. Learn more about clearing and grading permits.

Retaining Walls

A permit is required for retaining walls over four feet high measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, or any retaining wall supporting a surcharge load. Sites subject to the Critical Areas Overlay District may require a permit regardless of retaining wall height. Any retaining wall over 30” high must not be located within any required setback.

Rockeries

A permit with plan review may be required. Learn more about clearing and grading permits. A storm connection permit may be needed to connect rockery drains to a storm drainage system. Sites subject to the Critical Areas Overlay District may require a permit with plan review. Any rockery over 30” high must not be located within any required setback.

Roofing

A permit is required for roofing projects that include modifying or replacing the sheathing.

Satellite Dishes

A permit is not required for installing a satellite dish 18” or less in diameter. Larger dishes require a permit with plan review.

Side Sewer Repair l Replacement l Revision l Additional Connection

A side sewer permit is required for minor repair of, replacement of, revision of, or addition of another connection to an existing side sewer. For long runs or large excavations, a clearing & grading permit may be required.

Siding

A permit is not required for the replacement of siding, except for stucco and brick or stone veneer greater than 4 feet above the grade plane.

Solar Panels (Solar Photovoltaic System)

A permit with plan review may be required for installing solar panels or modifying a photovoltaic system. The Fire Department requests a 2’ setback from roof edges and peak. Learn more about solar panels and photovoltaic systems.

Spas and Saunas

Most spas require an electrical and/or mechanical permit (and sometimes plan review); a side sewer permit is required if the spa is connected to the sewer. A permit is required for installing a sauna.

Storage Sheds, Play Houses, and Gazeboes

A permit with plan review is not required for a detached storage shed, play house, or a private gazebo with a floor area of 200 square feet or less. These structures must still comply with applicable Land Use Code requirements, such as setbacks, lot coverage, building height, impervious surfaces, and the Critical Areas Overlay District.

Swimming Pools and Swim Spas

A permit with plan review is required for installing a swimming pool over 24 inches deep. A side sewer permit is required to connect a pool to the sewer. A clearing & grading permit may be required for installation of a below-ground pool.

Tree and Vegetation Removal

A permit (and often plan review) is required for removing certain trees and vegetation, subject to certain thresholds. Learn more about tree removal/preservation, frequently asked questions, and clearing & grading permits.

Water Heaters

A permit is required for replacing or moving an existing hot water heater.

Contact

450 110th Ave NE
P.O. Box 90012
Bellevue, WA 98009
Telephone
Business Hours
8 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays