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Land use inspections

If your project involves road or drainage site work, the information below outlines the applicant's expectations, responsibilities, and obligation to contact the Permitting Department before initiating the work.

Also, a new program is now available to land use inspections applicants that is designed to reduce the time it takes to complete a project. See the enhanced inspection program for more information.

To schedule a land use inspection or if you have questions about these inspections, call the Permitting Department Inspections at 206-296-6600. Calls will be processed during regular business hours. For general building and land use questions, call the Permitting Department customer service at 206-296-6600.

Land use inspection process

  • Plan approval notification. Permitting Department customers are notified when their engineering plans or grading permit is approved for construction. The notification includes information about any outstanding fees, financial guarantees, and requirements to set up a preconstruction conference.

    For smaller projects that involve work in the road right-of-way and do not require engineering plans, contact Permitting Department Inspections at 206-296-6600 after preliminary approval or permit issuance to schedule the preconstruction conference.

  • Preconstruction conference. A preconstruction conference is required prior to any land clearing or grading on any site requiring a permit approval. Land use permit types that involve construction activities typically include subdivisions, short subdivisions, clearing, grading, and right-of-way use permits. Land use inspections also are required for some commercial and large residential permits.

    Request a preconstruction conference by calling Permitting Department Inspections at 206-296-6600, and please allow up to three working days for the conference to be scheduled.

  • Notice board requirements. A Notice of Construction Activity Sign board (sign requirement information is online in PDF* or MS Word* format) must be posted on a site when construction is related to a subdivision, commercial building permit, or grading permit that is subject to SEPA. This sign must be posted prior to any construction and must be in place as authorized by the Permitting Department or until the project construction is approved.

  • Erosion control supervisor sign. This sign shall identify the Erosion Control supervisor and phone number in accordance with page D-73 of the Appendix D of the Surface Water Design Manual (PDF*, 3.1MB) and may be displayed on the Notice of Construction Activity Sign described above.

  • Scheduled inspections. The King County Road Design and Construction Standards specify certain events that require monitoring and inspection by Permitting Department Inspections.

    In addition, Title 9.04 (PDF*, 246KB), Surface Water Management, of the King County Code and the related Retention/Detention Facilities: "In Operation" (PDF*, 9KB) the Permitting Department's Public Rule require certain drainage related inspections before improvements and/or buildings are constructed or subdivisions and short subdivisions are recorded.

Activities that require a land use inspection and scheduling requirements

Included below are activities that require a land use inspection. Schedule an inspection for each activity that applies to your project before you start the activity, and note the lead time required for each request.

Activity to schedule with Land Use Inspections Lead time
Preconstruction meeting 3 working days
Clearing and temporary erosion/sedimentation control 1 working day
Utility and storm drainage installation 1 working day
Utility and storm drainage backfill and compaction 1 working day
Subgrade completion 1 working day
Curb and sidewalk forming 1 working day
Crushed surfacing placement 1 working day
Paving 3 working days
Structural 3 working days
Final punchlist inspection 15 working days

Request the inspection by calling Permitting Department Inspections at 206-296-6642. Be sure to include the project number and name, type of inspection, and the inspector's name if known. Submit your request in advance of the day you need the inspection by at least the number of days listed above.

Contacting a land use inspector

Inspectors are available via cell phone. The inspector will provide his or her cell phone number to you at the preconstruction meeting.

You may also call the inspector's office phone and leave a voicemail. If you know the land use inspector assigned to your project, the King County Online Directory (scroll to view) lists all Permitting Department land use inspectors' direct office phone numbers.

If you do not know the name or cell phone number of your inspector, please call the Permitting Department at 206-296-6600.

Contacting your land use inspection project manager

Who should I be talking to, the site inspector or the project manager? Developers should contact the individual site inspector on all routine issues and communications.

Project managers should be consulted for any unresolved problems or technical issues during the inspection phase. More than likely, the project manager will be proactively contacting the developer, reminding him or her of upcoming deadlines and technical requirements, which, if met, will keep the project in line with original fee and timeframe estimates. If conditions or timelines change during construction, the project manager may need to re-estimate the inspection fees.

If you do not know who your project manager is, please call Inspections at 206-296-6600. Also see Bulletin 54, Project Management for Land Use Permits (PDF*, 150KB), one of the Permitting Department customer information bulletins, for more information on project management.

Drainage facility liability insurance

King County Code 9.04.100 requires the applicant to post liability insurance that names King County as an additional insured to protect King County from liability.

Currently, the liability insurance amount must not be less than $1,000,000 for property damage, any accident, negligence, failure of the facility, or any other liability relating to the construction or maintenance of drainage facilities required by King County Code 9.04.050. To view these code sections, go to Title 9 (PDF*, 246KB) of the King County Code.

Failure to maintain this liability insurance will result in enforcement actions including a STOP WORK order.

For more details, please refer to the Drainage Facility Liability Insurance Requirement form, available online in PDF (86KB) or MS Word (42KB) format.

Right-of-way (ROW) use permit inspections and extensions

A right-of-way use permit (limited or extended) is required for any private improvement or use of a King County right-of-way.

Limited ROW use permits are required for any construction.

Extended ROW use permits are required for long-term use, such as for a privately maintained road.

Both permits may require land use inspections. For more information, see right-of-way use or the Permitting Department customer information bulletin #31, Right-of-Way Use (PDF*, 149KB).

Limited ROW use permits expire one year from the date of issuance. Permit customers can apply for one one-year extension. To apply, use our ROW use permit (limited) extension form.

*Note: To view PDFs, free software from Adobe is required. Word documents require Microsoft software. For assistance, see helpful hints.

To request this information in alternate formats for people with disabilities, call 206-296-6600 or TTY Relay: 711.