Permit FAQs (A-Z)
Below is a list of questions from individuals going through the City's permit process. If you're looking for a way to do general research about your property, go to the Do You Need a Permit?.

If you still have permit need questions, please contact the Development Services Center at 425-556-2473 or permittech@redmond.gov. The Development Services Center at Redmond City Hall is open 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday through Friday, except City observed holidays.

Building Related FAQ's

All I am adding is an interior nonbearing wall. Do I need a permit?
Yes, minor remodeling projects such as this are considered to be alterations and a permit is required.
 
What can I do to make my home more earthquake safe?
The Eastside cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland and Redmond are participating in FEMA's Project Impact. Our Project Impact page can provide you with information on retrofitting your home and other methods to limit earthquake damage.
 
May I do the work myself or do I need to hire a contractor?
Any person may work on their own property, whether they occupy the property or not. Any person may work on their personal residence, whether owned by them or not. This applies to all types of work including electrical work, as long as it is not done with the intention and for the purpose of selling the improved property.

Owners of commercial property may use their own employees to do maintenance, repair, and alteration work on their own properties. A permit is required for work on your own property when not exempt from the IBC or IRC (See above: Do I need a permit?). If you are a homeowner or occupant of a personal residence doing the work yourself and not hiring a contractor, please see Contractor License Requirements form.
 
What do I need to know when hiring a contractor or remodeler?
If you intend to hire a contractor or remodeler, please "Shop Smart" and review the information on this web site from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

CAUTION: Be wary of contractors who ask you to pick up the permit. In most cases, the contractor is required to take out the necessary permits. Permits are your protection and help ensure that work performed meets local building codes.
 
Why do I need a thermal expansion tank for my hot water heater?
Thermal expansion tanks provide a safe place for expanded water to go. Most water meters are installed with backflow prevention devices that can create a closed system. Pipes in your home may burst unless there is someplace for this expanded water to go.
 
Do I need a permit to build a deck?
Yes, a permit is required for attached decks, but not for detached decks that are not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade and not over any basement or story below.
 
Is a permit required for a detached storage/play shed?
Maybe. If the shed is one story and has a floor area that measures less than 200 square feet and is an accessory structure to a one- or two-family dwelling, then a permit is not required. Please see Ordinance 2452(AM).  For commercial and multifamily buildings or structures, refer to the IBC Exempt Work web page.
 
What is a Demolition Permit used for?
A Demolition Permit is used when removing an entire building or structure. The Redmond Building Division does not issue Demolition permits for work inside a building or structure to prepare the space for tenant improvement or remodel work. This type of interior demolition is considered to be part of the Commercial Tenant Improvement or Single Family Building Permit.
 
What are the hours that construction is allowed in the City of Redmond?
Construction is allowed between 7 am and 10 pm seven days per week, as long as the construction noise does not impact residential zones. Please refer to the Redmond Municipal Code Chapter 6.36 Noise Standards, for complete information.

Construction noise that impacts residential zones has the following restricted hours:
Monday through Friday: 7 am to 7 pm
Saturday: 9 am to 6 pm
Sunday or Legal Holidays: Prohibited
 
Do I need a permit to create an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU or "mother-in-law apartment")?
Creating an ADU no longer requires a Special Use permit, but in many cases it requires a building permit, and also requires planner review to ensure that all provisions of the code are met. For more information, see the ADU submittal requirements.
 
Do I need a permit to build a fence?
If you wish to build a fence, you do not need a permit to proceed. Be aware, however, that a fence built in a residential neighborhood may not exceed a height of seven feet and must be outside of any sight triangles. A commercial fence may be eight feet in height and would require a permit. You should also be sure of your property lines before you proceed. Check with your neighbors and be sure you are not infringing on any of their property.
 
Can I put a concrete patio or walkway up to my property line?
Yes. Note that the size of the patio/walkway may be limited by the maximum allowable impervious surface area for the zone. Contact the Planner on Call for further information, 425-556-2494.
 
Do I need a permit to cut down a tree?
Yes, a tree removal permit is required for the removal of any significant tree (greater than 6 inches in diameter). No permit fee is charged for single-family homeowners. For more information, read Frequently Asked Questions about trees in residential areas or download a residential or commercial tree removal application. For specific questions, contact the Planner on Call at 425-556-2494 or planneroncall@redmond.gov.
 
May I cut down my neighbor's shrubs or tree limbs that overhang into my property?
Yes, you may cut down the growth or limbs that hang over onto your property or airspace.
 
Do I need a permit to build/repair a dock?
Yes, permits are required to construct a new dock or repair an existing dock. If you are proposing to construct a new dock that is less than $10,000 or conducting normal maintenance and repair of an existing dock, a Shoreline Exemption Permit is required. "Normal maintenance" generally includes work to prevent a decline or lapse of a legally permitted dock. "Normal repair" generally means to restore the dock to the state of its original condition, including its size, shape, configuration, location, and external appearance.

If your proposal exceeds either of the thresholds noted above, then you will be required to apply for a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit. A building permit is required for new docks and may be required for any maintenance or repair, depending upon the nature of the repair. Submittal of a SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) checklist and application is also required. The SEPA Checklist may be submitted electronically. Please email the electronic copy to planneroncall@redmond.gov. The subject line is on this email link, but if you create your own email, add the following subject: "SEPA Checklist for [Your Project Name]".
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Engineering and Construction FAQs

How long will it take to get my construction plans approved?
Review of final construction plans begins after Land Use approval conditions are issued. Each City review cycle is 28 days. If the plan set submitted is complete and addresses all conditions of approval, and any comments are addressed in a timely manner plans can typically be approved for construction in approximately 4 months. Time may be shorter for a very simple project, or longer if there are significant issues to be resolved, or delays in resubmittal of the plans or extensive review comments due to plan submittals that are incomplete or not in compliance with City codes and design requirements.
 
How much will it cost to get my construction plans approved?
Plan review and inspection fees are included on the Fee Schedule page in the section called "Development Engineering & Construction Review Fees".
 
Where do I find your engineering design requirements?
Transportation design standards are described in Appendix 2 of the Redmond Zoning Code. Water and Utility design standards are in Appendix 3. Stormwater design standards are in the Stormwater, Clearing and Grading Technical Notebook. In addition, City design details and specifications are in the City of Redmond Standard Specification and Details.
 
How do I request a design deviation?
Deviation requests are required for any proposed improvements that do not meet City standards. The request should be in writing and include the design standard, a description of the proposed deviation, and the reason the City should consider granting a deviation.  The City’s Technical Committee (consisting of the Planning Director, Public Works Director, and others) makes the decision to grant a design deviation. Administrative Deviation Request

 

Fire Permit FAQs

When do I need a Fire Permit?
Any property owner or authorized agent who intends to conduct an operation or business regulated by Section 105.6 of the International Fire Code (IFC) shall obtain a Fire Code Operational Permit
 
Any property owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, install or alter a system and equipment regulated by Section 105.7 of the 2012 IFC shall obtain the following applicable permits prior to construction or installation.
 
Fire Sprinkler and Standpipe Permits
Fire Alarm Permit
Fire Code Installation Permit
Fixed Suppression
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Right-of-Way Permit FAQs

What is considered the right-of-way?
The City owns the property under, on, and above the roadways and sidewalks, usually extending to 10-20 feet beyond the roadway pavement.  The right-of-way may include the roadway, curb, gutter, sidewalks, vegetation, sewer/water/storm lines, telephone, power and other utility infrastructure.
 
When is a Right-of-Way Use Permit necessary?
A Public Works Right-of-Way Permit is required for such activities as replacement of or modifications to driveways, temporary placement of industrial trash bins or moving pods, the parking of moving vans and tree trimming along the street. Public Works is responsible for plan review, permit issuance and inspection of Franchise Utility, Telecommunication and Miscellaneous construction work performed in the City rights-of-way and utility easements, as well as management of Franchise and Telecommunications Agreements.

If work is on private property within a public easement, a Clearing and Grading Permit may be required.

To obtain a Right-of-Way Use Permit, the following document must be submitted for review: Right-of-Way Use Permit Application.
 
For detailed permit information, access the following documents:
General Conditions
Right-of-Way Use Permit Application Submittal Requirements

Construction Work Hours

ROW Frequently Asked Questions
Fee Schedule
 
Questions by phone call 425-556-2723; questions or completed applications and associated documents can be emailed to ROWpermit@redmond.gov

Mailing Address
City of Redmond
Construction Engineering/Inspection, 1NPW
15670 NE 85th Street
Redmond, WA 98052
Attn: Right-of-Way Program

Once all fees are paid and the permit has been issued, inspections can be requested by calling the City’s automated system at 1-866-457-5289 or access the E-Track Portal.
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Stormwater, Clearing and Grading FAQs

Do I need to provide on-site detention and water quality treatment facilities for my project?
Projects adding 5,000 s.f. or more of impervious surface are required to provide flow control. For projects adding between 5,000 and 10,000 s.f. of impervious surface this may be accomplished using on-site stormwater management techniques in lieu of formal detention. Projects adding 10,000 s.f. or more impervious, or 5,000 s.f. or more where on-site stormwater management is infeasible, are required to provide formal detention.
 
Any project adding 5,000 s.f. or more pollution generating impervious surface is required to provide water quality treatment.
 
What design manual do you use in Redmond?
Redmond uses the 2005 Department of Ecology Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington, as modified by the 2012 City of Redmond Stormwater, Clearing  and Grading Technical Note.
 
Can I infiltrate runoff on my site?
Infiltration of runoff from non-pollution generating surfaces is encouraged throughout the City. Infiltration of runoff from pollution generating surfaces is limited in Wellhead Protection Zones 1, 2, and 3. Please refer to the City Stormwater Technical Notebook for further detail.


Can I pay a fee-in-lieu of providing a stormwater system on-site?

Properties within the City Center and Overlake regional surcharge areas are eligible to pay a fee-in-lieu of permanent on-site detention and water quality treatment. In some cases interim detention facilities will be required until the regional facilities are online. Part of the Overlake surcharge area requires on-site water quality treatment prior to discharge to the regional system. Please contact the Stormwater Engineer at (425) 556- 2890 or (425) 556-2758 for specifics on your project site. Sites outside the regional surcharge areas may be considered for fee-in-lieu of detention or water quality on a very limited basis.
 
Do I have to pay a fee-in-lieu if I would rather build a system on-site?
If your project is in a regional surcharge area, and does not drain directly to the Sammamish River through a private outfall, you are required to participate in the regional facility program unless site specific conditions prevent you from utilizing the regional system.
 
Does Redmond have restrictions on working during the rainy season?
Redmond has limitations on work allowed between October 1st and April 30th. Some projects are not allowed to work during the rainy season, while others may move forward with an approved Wet Weather Plan showing adequate erosion control for rainy season work.
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Transportation Engineering FAQs

Is a traffic study required?
A completed concurrency application is required for all developments. Typically, if the project generates less than 30 pm peak hour trips, no traffic study is required unless there are specific operational concerns in the immediate vicinity of the project such as access. If the project generates more than 30 pm peak hour trips a Phase I study is required. Depending on the results of the Phase I study, additional analysis may be required in the Phase II study.
 
Please explain the differences between a Phase I and Phase II traffic study.
A Phase I traffic study includes the completed concurrency application as well as a technical memo that summarizes the forecasted trip generation for the proposed project. Depending on the results of the Phase I study, a full Traffic Impact Analysis is required  as the Phase II study.  The applicant's traffic engineer should contact the City to develop the scope of the analysis.
 
What street improvements are required?
Street improvements depend on existing conditions. Generally, improvements consist of constructing ½ street improvements that may include curb, gutter, planter strip, sidewalks, storm drainage, street lights, and undergrounding overhead utilities.
 
What dedications and easements are required?
Dedication and easement requirements vary by project, but generally include a 10’ easement for sidewalks and dry utilities.  The 10’ is usually measured from the back of the right-of-way. Right of way dedications are required for new public streets and may be required along arterial streets.
 
What is required for street lighting—who does the design—what information needs to be shown on the plans?
The applicant must evaluate the existing street lighting system to determine if current lighting standards are met. If the current standards are met, the applicant must submit analysis documentation that demonstrates this. If current standards are not met, the applicant must propose a design that meets City standards. Unless otherwise specified, streetlights on arterials are City-owned and maintained and require a streetlight design plan that is approved by the City. Further information is available in the City’s Street Light Design Manual.  Streetlights on local streets are PSE/Intolight-owned and maintained systems. Contact PSE for design.
 
Which overhead utilities need to be undergrounded?

Undergrounding requirements vary by site - generally all overhead utilities need to be placed underground across the property frontage and within the development.
 
What are sight distance triangles and where do they need to be shown?
Sight distance triangles help ensure that motorists can see clearly and safely at intersections and driveways. They need to be shown on the plans in these locations. The area encompassed by the triangle must be clear of obstructions between 2’ and 8’ above the ground. The dimensions of these triangles vary depending on the classification of the street and are described in Section 21.52.040 of the Redmond Zoning Code.
 
Where can we access our property?
Access is determined depending on specific property constraints. Generally access is set at a location that maximizes sight distance and safety and minimizes potential conflicts with other motorists and pedestrians. Where a property abuts multiple streets, the access is to be taken from the lower classification street.
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Water and Sewer FAQs

What is the water pressure at my site?
This is based on the pressure zone the site is located in. Redmond has more than ten pressure zones. They are shown on the water system map in the Water System Plan (call 425-556-2873 to obtain a copy of the Plan) and on the water system maps (located at the Development Services counter). The site water pressure can be calculated by taking the HGL (hydraulic grade line) shown on the maps in feet, subtracting the ground elevation and converting the result to psi by dividing the result be 2.31.
 
What is the available fire flow with residual pressure at my property?
Single family fire flow availability in most residential neighborhoods is 1,500 gpm; however we do have some areas that have less available flow. Residual pressure is 20 psi. Commercial and multi-family areas require 3,500 gpm and most areas have this. The 300 zone in S.E. Redmond is limited to 2,500 gpm due to pump station limitations. The City utility engineers can determine if your project site has adequate fireflow based on the size of the existing pipe network serving the site.
 
Where are the water and sewer mains in the street serving my property and what are they made of?
Information regarding existing water and sewer systems is shown in the mapbooks available at the front counter of the Development Services Center.
 
What size water meter will I need for my project?
Single family residences usually require a 1” meter to provide domestic and fire service. Commercial and multifamily structure meter size is determined by the mechanical designer for the project based on the fixture units in the building.
 
What size of side sewer will I need for my project?
A 6” diameter side sewer is adequate for most projects. Some larger buildings may need an 8” diameter side sewer.  This is generally determined by the mechanical designer for the project.
 
Do I owe latecomers fees?
City staff can determine if latecomers fees apply to your site. This information should also show up in your title report for the property.

Installing and Connecting Water Service
RMC 13.08