Be advised that as of March 15, 2024, all building permit applications must adhere to the 2021 Washington State building codes.

Personnel & Responsibilities

The Building Department of the Community Development and Planning Department administers the State adopted codes, including the International Building, Residential, Mechanical, Plumbing, Fuel/Gas, State Energy, and Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation Codes. If you are a contractor or part of a design team, see this page for more information and helpful links.

The department is comprised of the Building Official, Plans Examiners and Building Inspectors. They are responsible for ensuring that building construction meets the minimum standards of the building codes in effect in San Juan County. Though the department works to provide permits in a timely manner, processing and review depends on the complexity of the project and factors such as proximity to shoreline or the presence of cultural remains of indigenous people.

Review of proposed construction projects is conducted with a goal of facilitating development that is compliant with federal, state and county regulations, that ensures the safety or residents and visitors, and that minimizes environmental impact.

Permit Validity & Renewal - Conventional Permits

Please be reminded that every permit issued shall become invalid unless the work authorized by such permit is commenced within 1 year after its issuance or if the work authorized on the site by such permit is suspended or abandoned for a period of 1 year after the work is commenced. The Building Official is authorized to grant, in writing, extension of time, for a period of one (1) additional year. The extension shall be requested in writing and justifiable cause demonstrated.

At the end of 60 months after the issuance of a building permit, if construction has started but is not complete as evidenced by the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the permit shall expire. To finish work not completed at the time of expiration, a new permit shall be applied for and obtained. The valuation of construction for permit fees shall be the valuation of construction remaining that has not been inspected. The Building Official may authorize a single 12 month extension of the permit upon review of a written request for such an extension.

All fees referenced in this chapter are subject to change at any time and may be adjusted through separate ordinances, by authority of RCW 19.27.100 (Reference San Juan County Code 15.04.331).

Permit Validity & Renewal - Owner / Builder Permits

San Juan County Code 15.04.580 states: “Permits issued for construction of structures shall be for a period of one year, renewable for four additional years providing that the owner / builder complies with the provisions of this Article. An annual renewal fee is due until the project has been completed and approved by the county.

Construction, including all required life safety inspections under new permits, shall be completed within 5 years from the date of issuance. If construction is not completed within 5 years the owner / builder shall be required to obtain a new permit and also pay full permit fees'.

Existing Structures

San Juan County Code 15.04.070 (4) states: 'Unpermitted structures with a date of original construction of year 1977 and older shall be presumed to legally exist.  For purposes of this section, "date of original construction" shall be considered as the date listed on the SJC Assessor's tax records.'