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Building Permits

Welcome to the City of Fife Permit Center. Our goal is to assist you with your permit needs as quickly and friendly as possible. From pre-submittal meetings to inspections to certificates of occupancy, the Permit Center is responsible for all development permits within the City of Fife.

To make the permitting process as efficient as possible, checklists of submittal requirements for Residential and Industrial/Commercial permits are available here:

The Permit Center is also responsible for scheduling inspections for issued permits. To schedule an inspection, call (253) 922-9624 by 4:00 pm the day prior to your preferred inspection date.

Permit Fees:
For permit fees, please view our Fee Schedule. Permits not listed on this schedule have fees that are determined at time of application. This is because the fee is based on information provided by the applicant (i.e. valuation, construction type, square footage, number of fixtures, etc). For an estimate, please contact the Permit Center.

Location
City Hall
5411 23rd Street East
Fife, WA 98424
(253) 922-9624

Building Permits - FAQ

What is my property zoned?
City of Fife Zoning Map


What can I build/develop on my piece of property?
For major development of a lot, it is recommended that you schedule a DRC (Development Review Committee) meeting. Visit the DRC page for instructions and meeting application. What you are able to build on your property depends on the intended Use. First, determine how your property is zoned. To do this, refer to the City of Fife Zoning Map. Second, refer to Title 19 of the Fife Municipal Code, and determine if your use is allowed in that zone.


Is my permit ready?
Permits are reviewed on a first come, first served basis. If the applicant fails to provide a complete submittal, the permit can not be processed until all necessary information is received. If further information is required for review, the applicant will be notified. When the permit is approved, the permit coordinator will contact you.


How can I schedule an inspection?
Inspections are scheduled weekdays from 8:00a.m. to 3:30p.m.. To schedule an inspection, call (253) 922-9624 by 4:00 PM the day prior to your preferred inspection date.


What is my parcel number?
A parcel number is the most useful item on a permit application. To find your parcel number, follow this link to the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer's web page. Here you can enter your house number and street name, to find your parcel number. Make sure the parcel type is a "real" parcel and the parcel status is "active". Also, by clicking on your parcel number you can find all sorts of handy information such as building and land values, a parcel map of your property, sales history, building history and even view and pay your property taxes.



Why do I need a building permit?
There are a lot of reasons to apply for and acquire a building permit. A building permit ensures:
  • The contractors are registered, licensed and insured
  • Adequate documentation is provided to construct your building project
  • Building plans and structural calculations meet minimum codes
  • Key stages of the work are inspected
  • Your building is deemed suitable for occupation

Section 105.1 of the 2012 International Building Code regarding required permits reads: "Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit."

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Building Permit Exemptions

Below are excerpts from the 2012 International Building Code and the 2012 International Residential code. These are structures and actions that do not require a permit.

2012 International Building Code

Section 105.2: Work exempt from permit
Permits shall not be required for the following:
Building
  1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storages sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet.
  2. Fences not over 7 feet high
  3. Oil derricks
  4. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II, or IIIA liquids
  5. 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 2:1
  6. Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below, and are not part of an accessible route
  7. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, and similar finish work
  8. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery
  9. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R3 occupancy that are less than 24 inches deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons and are installed entirely above ground
  10. Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems
  11. Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one- and two-family dwellings
  12. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require addition support of group R-3 and U occupancies
  13. Nonfixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches in height

These structures are exempt from the fees associated with obtaining a building permit. They must still meet the current minimum building code standards. They must also meet the minimum setback, height and other Zoning Code regulations for the zone in which they are located.

Mechanical
  1. Portable heating appliance
  2. Portable ventilation equipment
  3. Portable cooling equipment
  4. Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code
  5. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter the approval of equipment or an appliance or make such equipment of appliance unsafe
  6. Portable evaporative cooler
  7. Self-contained refrigeration systems that contain 10 pounds or less of refrigerant, or that are actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less
  8. Portable fuel cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid
Plumbing
  1. 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
  2. The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures and the removal of and reinstallation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures

2012 International Residential Code

Section R105.2: Work exempt from permit:
Permits shall not be required for the following: Exemptions from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provision of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.
Building
  1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storages sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet
  2. Fences not over 7ft high
  3. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge
  4. 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 2:1
  5. Sidewalks and driveways
  6. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work
  7. Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches deep
  8. Swings and other playground equipment
  9. 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
  10. Decks not exceeding 200 square feet in area, that are not more than 30 inches above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the exit door required by section R311.4

These structures are exempt from the fees associated with obtaining a building permit. They must still meet the current minimum building code standards. They must also meet the minimum setback, height and other Zoning Code regulations for the zone in which they are located.

If you have questions regarding these descriptions, you can contact a Permit Coordinator or Building Official at (253) 922-9624.

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