Construction Permits & Applications


A permit is required for any project to construct, enlarge, repair, alter, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of any building within the City.

This includes any building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, or gas system. 

There are exceptions to this based on the specific exemptions listed in each code. 


Even if a permit is not required, all other requirements such as setbacks from property lines and those requirements in each of the respective codes must be met, as applicable.

Verify exemptions by reviewing the specific code section below:


Building Work Exempt from a Permit

  • One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed:
    • 120 square feet when accessory to a commercial property (must meet setbacks for the applicable zoning designation); or
    • 200 square feet when accessory to a single-family dwelling or duplex (setbacks of 5′ from the side property line and 3′ from the rear property line apply).
  • Fences not over 7 feet high, except fencing at multi-family residential complexes.
  • Oil derricks
  • Retaining walls which are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, provided the wall is set back from any adjacent property lines or structures a distance at least equal to the height of the wall and the material retained slopes 1 vertical to 2 horizontal (or less) up and away from the wall unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II or IIIA liquids. 
  • Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.  
  • Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below and which are not part of an accessible route. Note: There is no exception for decks. 
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
  • Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery. 
  • Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a single-family dwelling or duplex, which are 24 inches or less in depth and are installed entirely above ground. 
  • Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes and not including service systems.
  • Swings and other playground equipment.
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support on single-family dwellings and duplexes, and utility structures such as private garages and barns.
  • Movable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches in height.


Electrical Work Exempt from a Permit

  • Repairs and maintenance: Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
  • Radio and television transmitting stations: The provisions of this code shall not apply to electrical equipment used for radio and television transmissions, but do apply to equipment and wiring for power supply, the installations of towers and antennas.
  • Temporary testing systems: A permit shall not be required for the installation of any temporary system required for the testing or servicing of electrical equipment or apparatus.
  • Listed cord and plug connected temporary decorative lighting.
  • Reinstallation of attachment plug receptacles, but not the outlets therefore.
  • Repair or replacement of branch circuit overcurrent devices of the required capacity in the same location.
  • Temporary wiring for experimental purposes in suitable experimental laboratories.
  • Electrical wiring, devices, appliances, apparatus or equipment operating at less than 25 volts and not capable of supplying more than 50 watts of energy.


Mechanical/Gas Work Exempt from a Permit

  • Portable heating appliance
  • Portable ventilation equipment
  • Portable cooling unit
  • Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code
  • Replacement of any part which does not alter its approval or make it unsafe
  • Portable evaporative cooler
  • Self-contained refrigeration system containing 10 pounds or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less


Plumbing Work Exempt from a Permit

  • The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drain pipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code.
  • The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, and the removal and reinstallation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.
How to Apply

The Building Division processes all construction projects that require a permit under any of the codes. There may be a need for Land Use Approval (SPR, etc.), prior to permit issuance.  Please see Planning & Zoning Requirements.

For Building Division processing, please complete the appropriate application and submit the number of construction plan sets, as noted on the application. This must include a site plan, engineering calculations to accompany any required engineering documents, complete construction documents, and complete energy code compliance forms. On-line permit processing is currently not available.

All complete applications will be reviewed for compliance with the appropriate code(s). We encourage pre-submittal meetings to discuss code issues, prior to completion of any construction documents. This will ensure both code compliance and an expeditious and efficient review of the drawings for any project. 

Once the plans are reviewed for code compliance, all other City requirements are met (see LMC 14.04.015 Prerequisites to Permit Issuance), and fees have been paid, the permit will be issued.

Some permits can be issued “over-the-counter” upon receipt of the appropriate fee. Examples include permits for replacing a hot water heater, adding an electrical circuit, residential re-roofing or re-siding, and other simple projects. We accept cash or check only for permit fees. Applications may be submitted by mail with a check or in person with cash or check.  Mailing and physical address is Community & Economic Development, 420 College St SE, Lacey WA 98503.

General Review Timelines :

Residential Addition/Alteration/Remodel 2 weeks
New Single Family Residence 2 weeks until the first Plan Review Letter
Commercial 3-4 weeks until the first Plan Review Letter

Commercial applications require Plan Check Fees to be paid at the time of submittal.

Many plan checks can take less time; however, please allow for the above review periods in your project schedule.