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San Juan County has adopted the state building codes and has adopted some amendments to them. This list of Design Criteria will help professionals correctly determine how to design structures built in our our area.
International Residential Code as amended by the state: IRC
International Building Code: IBC
WA state Building code council: SBCC.wa.gov
SJCC: San Juan County codes
First determine if the proposed work requires a permit. SJC has a list of items that are exempt from permitting. Additionally we offer some insight for pre-application assistance.
If your project does require a permit, find permit applications here.
If you are ready to apply for your permit, please create an account and apply using the Online Permit Center.
WA state amended building codes for building code questions.
San Juan County Code for development and land use questions.
If you have exhausted your search and still need help ask here:
Ask a Question/Request Assistance
Site plans are required for nearly all permits in San Juan County. A site plan shows a bird's eye view of the parcel, and the proposed work on that parcel, so the reviewer can judge if it conforms to various regulations.
Items to check on a site plan:
1. Distance to property lines for setbacks, or fire separation.
2. Accurately measure square footage of building footprints, decks, roofs, driveways etc.
3. Show All other structures on the parcel for counting density for Land use/Zoning regulations.
4. Show wells, and or septic system components and piping. (Water and Sewer)
5. Show location of LPG tanks and piping, including equipment like generators or fuel tanks for fire separation requirements.
You do not need to be a surveyor, or architect to be able to draw a site plan, but you will need to provide a clear drawing TO SCALE that shows us all the required information. See requirements below.
For Single trade permits like a Mechanical, or Plumbing permit, or Deck Demo and Re-roofs, a simple site plan will suffice. See instructions here: SIMPLE SITE PLAN INSTRUCTIONS
On all other projects we require that you submit a comprehensive site plan. Instructions and details here: Site plan and instructions
1. Standard Residential Building permit: Most common permit type for Single Family Residence (SFR) built using the International Residential Building Code (IRC). This will cover a one- or two-family residence, or accessory structure up to 35 feet in height and 3 stories tall. Standard building and energy codes apply.
2. Commercial Building permit: This permit involves new construction AND changes in occupancy from one class to another for commercial uses like: offices, mercantile, assembly, retail, or storage. ALL occupancy classes will be governed by the International BUILDING Code (IBC) and Washington state commercial energy code.
3. Remodel/Addition permit: Typically this type of permit covers major changes to an existing structure, or expansion of the existing footprint.
4. Plumbing/Mechanical permit, or Single trade: Relatively simple projects such as installing a LPG tank, heater, furnace or water heater, are also referred to as "single trade" projects. Typically such projects only require a Plumbing or Mechanical permit. If you are adding square footage, or remodeling a house, you must apply for a standard building permit (Residential or Commercial)
5. Demolition ("Demo") permit: Used when one wants to remove a structure completely. Demo permits are required to remove the structure from the tax assessor’s inventory. Moved structures require Demo permits.
6. Relocation permit: Used when moving an existing approved building to a new location, even when on the same lot. Permission to move on County roads is required. Moving a structure requires permitting and approval PRIOR to placing it at a new location.
7. Revision: Permit to revise or change scope of work from approved plans. Revisions are required when adding additional square feet, increasing the height of a building, siting the building at a different location on the same lot, changing number of bedrooms or egress, or adding fixtures not previously approved. Changing the construction of the building, like changing roof type, or revised engineering, requires new plan review.
8. Owner Builder permits (for occupied structures) and Owner Builder Exemptions (for non-occupied structures): San Juan County is unique in that we offer a different permit type which allows an owner to build their own structures under certain circumstances. There are some restrictions; please refer to the San Juan County code for details.
Applications can be found here: Permit applications.
Our permit packets contain a list of items that are needed for a complete submittal. It's nearly impossible to create a comprehensive list of items for every different scenario. However, the list shown in each application packet will guide you when you are ready to upload and submit your application. (some permit applications are currently undergoing changes due to recent code updates, and we update them regularly on our website. Be sure you are using the most current version, and include all the relevant documents when applying.pre-application assistance page provides some drawing examples if you need help.
There is a checklist that may also guide you for compiling your documents.
San Juan County has switched to a paperless system for, applying, issuing, and tracking permits. ALL permit applications are handled through the SmartGov permit portal.
Here are some handy links and instructions:
DCD webpage home:
Pre App assistance and info:
Buildings exempt from permits:
WSEC: new changes for 2018 you’ll need to be aware of!
Free IRC/IBC access to codes:
Upcodes.com - Free access
Here are the instructions for signing up on the public portal for your permit
You only need to do this one time to connect your account with all of your permits. This will allow you to access your permit, pay fees online, and schedule inspections. Detailed instructions below:
If you are SIGNING UP,
1) GO TO: https://co-sanjuan-wa.smartgovcommunity.com/Public/Home and click on “sign up”
2) Enter your e-mail address and a password:
3) You will receive a verification link in your e-mail.
4) Click on the “Verify” button to verify your e-mail address.
5) Return to the browser
6) Log out and log back in again.
Many functions are available on the portal:
APPLYING FOR PERMITS(No access code required, but if you already have one, please use it to avoid multiple accounts and inability to view all permits together. Each account has a unique portal access code, do not give yours out. Contact DCD@sanjuanco.comfor your code AFTER you have signed up.)
1) Click on MY PORTAL to apply, view permits, or request inspections etc.
2) Click on Apply Online
3) Select Category: Building, Land Use, or Fire Marshal (Addressing falls under the category of Building) (ALL BUILDING PERMIT APPLICATIONS WILL FALL UNDER ‘BUILDING SUBMITTAL’, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY LISTED). You can choose “REVISION” if you are updating an existing active permit. Expired permits must be renewed, or re-applied for.
4) Select Application: Select the type of application you are applying for.