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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 thing to do is to check and see if the proposed work actually needs 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, you can find permit applications here Permit Applications.
If you are ready to apply for your permit, please create an account and check out our Permit Portal
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 1 or 2 family residence or accessory structure 35’ in height *(max) 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, Storage, or Hazardous occupancy. ALL occupancy classes will be governed by the International BUILDING Code (IBC) and WA state commercial energy code.
3. Remodel/Addition permit: Same as above, just smaller in scope. May have the same application and permit document requirements depending on size of project.
4. Plumbing/Mechanical permit, or Single trade: Single trades like adding a LPG tank and heater, or new furnace or water heater. Typically only involves the Plumbing or Mechanical aspect of the codes. If you are adding square footage, or remodeling a house, use standard building permit (Residential or Commercial)
5. Demo Permit: Removes a structure completely. Demo permits are required to remove the structure from the tax assessor’s inventory. Moved structures require Demo permits.
6. Moved structure 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. Moved structure will require permitting and approval PRIOR to placing at new location.
7. Revision: Permit to revise or change scope of work from approved plans. Revisions are required when; adding new sq/ft, or height of building, siting the building at a different location on the same lot, changing number of bedrooms or egress, adding fixtures not previous approved, and changing the construction of the building which requires new plan review (like changing roof type, or revised engineering).
8. Owner Builder: (standard-Occupied structure) and OB Exempt(non-occupied structure): San Juan County is unique in that we offer a different permit type in which the owner can build their own building and it is exempt from the structural parts of the IRC. 15.04.540 governs the construction of Owner built structures in San Juan County. There are some restrictions, please refer to the 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.
SJC and the state of Washington have adopted an energy code that has increased requirements over time to combat climate change. It requires that new buildings and remodel work meet ever increasing standards for efficiency and energy savings. The 2018 version of this code has increased the requirements of the number of credits required to get approval of a single family dwelling in our state. In fact ALL Residential construction is subject to the energy code requirements and credits.
Depending on the size and scope of your project, you may be required to attain additional credits by using energy efficient equipment, or adding insulation, or adding other energy saving methods during construction. The form for the 2018 energy code and its worksheets can be found online at : Energy code WA state. The site has in depth information and training options available, please make time to review this information prior to submitting applications, or questioning staff.
The forms are also available on our permit application webpage
This information, and compliance with the energy code standards is required when submitting a permit application.
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.