Starting August 1, all electrical, mechanical, construction, and phased permits that are part of a project that includes a smoke control system will include new inspection types. These new inspection types will allow for better transparency within our online permitting system for both inspectors and contractors. These new inspection types also allows for future automation features for these life safety systems.
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) recently launched a pilot Deconstruction Incentive Program and is offering up to $4,000 per deconstruction project. The incentive program encourages building owners to deconstruct rather than outright demolish the building.
As a further incentive, Seattle City Light has agreed to fast track deconstruction projects for electrical disconnects. The monetary incentive and potential reduction in permitting timeline make taking on deconstruction more appealing. Deconstruction incentive funds are available through mid-2023.
We updated two Tips and published four Director’s Rules. The Director’s Rules include draft rules on tree protection and SEPA requirement exemptions.
On May 24, 2023, the State Building Code Council (SBCC) held a special meeting to discuss the 9th Circuit that found the City of Berkley’s Energy Code violated federal preemption over state rules and a new lawsuit against the State Codes for a similar violation. In the new lawsuit, several organizations are seeking to prevent enforcement of the Washington State Energy Code’s ban on natural gas appliances that are regulated under the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.
After several years of collaborating with seismologists, geologists, and geotechnical and structural engineers, the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) is sharing its draft Unreinforced Masonry (URM) Technical Standard. This document is the first step in establishing minimum seismic standards for the earthquake retrofit of Seattle’s 1,100 vintage brick buildings which are prone to collapse in an earthquake due to lack of structural reinforcements.
In 2021, an effort spearheaded by the Alliance for Safety, Affordability, and Preservation (ASAP!) and Councilmember Herbold resulted in the passing of Joint Resolution 32033. That resolution declared the intent of City Council and the Mayor to establish a mandatory retrofit program and directed SDCI to develop a retrofit standard. While a mandatory ordinance is still a few years away, this Technical Standard will serve as a voluntary option for URM owners wanting to retrofit their building. This Technical Standard will be used to develop a future mandatory retrofit ordinance.
SDCI has simplified the way we bill customers for annual equipment inspections. Starting May 11, 2023, billing for annual inspections is consolidated by site—meaning customers will now receive one email and invoice for all inspections performed at their property.
If you manage equipment in Seattle such as elevators, boilers, or pressure vessels, you will find that the new process provides everything you need up front that’s needed to make a payment. You no longer need to navigate through multiple emails and webpages.
SDCI’s noise abatement group conducts inspections and noise advisory reviews for almost all residential side-yard mechanical installations. In a typical Neighborhood Residential zone, the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) requires an overnight sound level limit of 45 dBA (decibels) at the property line during the overnight hours. Overnight hours are defined in SMC 25.08 as 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. weekdays and 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. weekends and legal holidays. Legal holidays are New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. The 45 dBA standard is fairly restrictive because the City of Seattle makes resident’s ability to sleep and relax a major priority.
We updated a Tip on the tree service provider registry and published a final Director’s Rule on relocation assistance payments.
In One Seattle, every person deserves to have a safe and affordable place to call home – this is critical to our efforts to create a safe, welcoming, and thriving Seattle of the future. Now more than ever, we must advance bold action to address the housing affordability and homelessness crises by helping people move indoors with access to services and preventing homelessness in the first place.
SDCI has updated three Tips, published draft Director’s Rules about relocation assistance payments, and finalized a director’s rule about frequent transit service areas.