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Planning and Development Services

Building Permit

Download our building permit application packet for all the forms and resources mentioned on this page. While we’re working on enabling online applications, for now you’ll need to print the materials and submit them on paper. Our building permit application walks you through each of the steps below in greater detail.


Step 1. Complete prerequisites.

If your project is anything other than residential (e.g., commercial, agriculture, industrial), you should request a pre-application meeting so that we can review your project and identify all the regulations applicable to it. Submit a Pre-Development/Pre-Application Meeting Request form.

The building permit application packet will walk you through the process of determining that your property is buildable and your project is allowed at that location. The application packet will direct you, as necessary, to:

  • Obtain lot certification for your parcel.
  • Obtain an address for your site, if you don’t already have one.
  • Check if your project is in the floodway.
  • Check if your project is in an airport-restricted area.
  • Check if your project can get access to potable water.

Step 2. Plan your site layout.

All of the following must be addressed before you can submit a building permit application. The permit application form indicates when items are inapplicable to your specific project.

  • Identify critical areas, shorelines, and buffers.
  • Obtain flood review for your development site.
  • Identify location of your well (and the 100-foot setback from wells), your piped water connection, or an alternative water source.
  • Identify size and location of your septic system, or your sewer connection. Septic review is done by the County Public Health Department's On-Site Sewage Program.
  • Plan for stormwater management of your construction project.
  • Obtain an access permit, if you are constructing a new access onto a public road or if this is a new use for an existing access.
Step 3. Submit your application and pay fees.

When you have completed your building permit application packet, contact the Department to schedule an appointment to submit. Staff will review the application for completeness during your appointment and assist you with making any minor corrections. Your application checklist should be fully complete to ensure your appointment is successful and to avoid delays in processing.

Skagit County collects fees for all permits per the fee schedule adopted by the Board of County Commissioners. Fees are due:

  • At time of application or request: for plan review, critical area review, enforcement actions, septic permit, and water review.
  • At time of permit issuance: for building, mechanical, plumbing, impact fees, and any other fees as determined during the review process (e.g., drainage review, fire sprinkler plan review).

Impact fees (that are collected by the County and distributed to cities or school districts) are required in certain areas. Impact fees can be substantial, and applicants should be prepared for their cost.

Step 4. Wait for review.

Applications are routed to many different staff for review. Actual turn-around-time for permit issuance can depend on a variety of issues including, but not limited to, completeness of application, scope of project, setbacks from critical areas, and applicant response time to any requests for additional information.

You can check your permit status online.

Step 5. Pickup your permit.

Pickup your permit at our office at 1800 Continental Place. Payment for the remainder of your permit fees, including any impact fees, will be due, and you will need to sign the permit. Payment may be made via check, money order, or credit card; cash is not accepted.

Step 6. Get your inspections.

Inspections during construction ensure that your project is built to code. Inspections may include:

  • Setbacks from property lines or critical areas
  • Foundation footings, walls
  • Shear walls
  • Framing, plumbing, mechanical
  • Blocking and tie-downs (manufactured home)
  • Insulation, energy code, drywall
  • Skirting and venting (manufactured home)
  • Final occupancy

Many inspections are listed on your card, but not all apply to your project. Additional inspections may be required for special conditions on your building permit, e.g. critical area or shoreline mitigation. Be sure to call for inspection at each step so that stage of construction can be properly inspected. For example, if you cover your framing with insulation or drywall, you will impede inspections of the framing and may be required to remove the obstructions.

Call our 24-hour inspection request line at (360) 416-1330. Requests called in before 7:30 a.m. get a same-day inspection. Guemes Island inspections are scheduled for Tuesday and Friday mornings. To talk with your inspector, call our office at (360) 416-1320 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Step 7. Complete your work and get final approval.

An application is valid for a period of 6 months. Prior to expiration, the Department will call or send you a letter (or your agent) notifying you the application is about to expire. You may request a one-time 6-month extension or request to withdraw the application. Requests for application extension or withdrawal need to be in writing.

A permit is valid for three years from the date of issuance regardless of inspection frequency. Fees to renew an expired permit are 30% of the cost of a current permit. If you have modified your plans from the original approval(s), an additional plan review fee of $50.00 per hour with a $50 minimum is required.