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Free Home Earthquake Retrofit Permits


King County’s Department of Development and Environmental Services (DPER) is helping citizens in unincorporated King County to prepare for an earthquake emergency with free home earthquake retrofit permits on homes that meet specific criteria.


Updated: July 21, 2015

How do I get a free earthquake retrofit permit?

You get them at the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review (DPER), if your house is in unincorporated King County.

Please call 206-296-6600, or come into the Snoqualmie office during customer service hours for information.

The permits are free and can be issued over the counter. In general, the homes must meet specific requirements and

  • be of wood-frame construction;
  • have a light-weight roof;
  • not be irregularly shaped;
  • have a reinforced concrete foundation;
  • not exceed two stories in height; and
  • be on a relatively level lot.

(Homes that do not meet these requirements can still get an earthquake retrofit permit. But, if the processing takes extra review time, there may be some review fees charged.)

“I hope more people will take advantage of this important program,” said DPER Director John Starbard.

“Our region dealt with the impacts of the Nisqually earthquake in 2001, and, although that event was not of the same magnitude as more recent international earthquake disasters, modern building codes minimized the physical and economic damage of the 2001 quake for the benefit of the entire region.”

Alternate formats

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